UAE Space Agency showcases its role in the UAE’s sustainable development at ADSW 2020

17 January 2020

As part of its participation in Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) 2020, the UAE Space Agency discussed its continuous efforts for achieving a sustainable future, both through space exploration as well as the implementation of innovative space technologies on earth to mitigate climate change. The Agency engaged with the youth and encouraged them to enter the space sector, stressing their role in developing space technologies and utilizing space resources to build a sustainable and bright future on Earth.

Influential delegates from the UAE Space Agency were involved in panel discussions, workshops, networking lunches, and start-up hubs, where they shared insights on the importance of the space industry for driving sustainable development. They took part in the Future Sustainability Summit, Youth4Sustainability Forum, Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable Energy and the Climate Innovation Exchange (CLiX), which the UAE Space Agency is a strategic partner of.

The delegation from the UAE Space Agency was led by H.E. Dr. Eng. Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency, and included: Eng. Naser Al Rashedi, Director of National Space Policy and Regulation; Dr. Fatima Al Aydaroos, Space Science Senior Specialist; Sumaya Al Hajeri, Head of Space Legislation; Talal Al Kaissi, Advisor of Strategic Projects, and other officials and engineers from the Agency. 

H.E. Dr. Eng. Al Ahbabi gave the opening remarks at the Youth 4 Sustainability (Y4S) Forum, stressing the role of youth in achieving a more sustainable future. H.E. said, “Having advanced education programs is crucial for harnessing the young generation’s skills and nurturing their talent, to prepare them to become future leaders capable of tackling various sustainability challenges.” 

H.E. had a direct discussion with young students highlighting the UAE Space Agency’s efforts in building the UAE’s workforce, and underscoring the importance of space exploration in the UAE. “Space exploration provides us with a better understanding of our planet and helps us tackle different challenges like climate change, scarcity of resources, natural disasters, and connectivity and telecommunications. These are part of the future challenges that the youth will be facing, and as such, they will have to be equipped with the right tools in order to solve them,” H.E. Dr. Eng. Al Ahbabi said.

H.E. Dr. Eng. Al Ahbabi also took part in a panel discussion titled “Sustainability in Space” as part of the Future Sustainability Summit. The panel, which included global experts, discussed the link between space and sustainability, and the benefit of the former on the latter. As part of the panel, H.E. Dr. Eng. Al Ahbabi expressed his enthusiasm for the approaching launch of Mars Hope Probe, saying, “We are getting ready to launch Mars Hope Probe this year, which will serve as a stepping-stone for utilizing Mars for the benefit of Earth. Exploring the harsh conditions on Mars will help us develop new technologies to combat resource scarcity and improve the efficiency and sustainability of our planet.”

Additionally, as part of the Youth4Sustainability Hub, Eng. Naser Al Rashedi, Director of Space Policy and Regulations; Dr. Fatima Al Aydaroos, Space Science Senior Specialist and Hamda Al Hosani, Space Activities Licenses Executive, participated in a panel titled “Future Skills, Space Policy and Technology on Climate Change Mitigation”. Sumaya Al Hajeri, Head of Space Regulations at the UAE Space Agency, moderated the panel discussion.

During the panel, the UAE Space Agency representatives discussed the National Space Strategy, highlighting its goals, which focus on launching inspiring space missions, developing high-level national expertise in the space sector, and having a supportive legislative environment in the sector, among others. They stressed the importance of involving youth in developing and manufacturing new space technologies, which is essential for enriching their knowledge and experience in the space sector, to make them ready to implement space application projects to tackle sustainability challenges in the future. They spoke to the audience about the importance of ensuring the youth has the future skills required to thrive in the next 50 years and beyond.

Talal Al Kaissi, Advisor of Strategic Projects at the UAE Space Agency, took part in a panel titled “UAE New Space Innovation Programme”, as part of CLiX, which aims to connect entrepreneurs and investors to enable partnerships that realize climate change solutions. He highlighted the role of the UAE Space Agency in encouraging emerging start-ups in the UAE, saying “The UAE Space Agency, through our Investment Promotion Plan, is interested in creating an enabling environment for entrepreneurs and businesses, which leverages existing establishments such as incubators, accelerators, and Special Economic Zones, as well as provides incentives to those interested in conducting space business related activities in the country.”

On the sidelines of ADSW, the UAE Space Agency took part in the Space Climate Observatory (SCO) meeting along with experts from other national and international entities, where the different parties discussed methods for monitoring the impact of climate change.  Led by H.E. Dr. Eng. Al Ahbabi, representatives of the UAE Space Agency discussed the role of space sciences in monitoring and mitigating climate change, highlighting the importance of international collaboration for tackling environmental challenges and protecting Earth.

ADSW is a global platform for accelerating the world’s sustainable development, held annually and hosted by Masdar, a Mubadala company. It brings together policy makers, industry specialists, technology pioneers and sustainability leaders to network, discuss strategies, and address sustainability challenges.