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United Nations’ Hand in Hand with Emirati Youth

The recent Government Summit, held in Dubai from 9th – 11th February, saw the international thought leaders come together for more collaboration and innovation.

One integrated co-operation between the UAE Government and a supra-national organisation stood out on the on the side-lines of the summit: The Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon reviewed the achievements of the multi-stakeholder project, Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence (Dubai Carbon), and in particular, the joint youth engagement initiative the Carbon Ambassadors.

Dubai Carbon itself is the product of a creative collaboration between the country office of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the legislator for the energy sector in Dubai, the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy (DSCE).

“Dubai Carbon is a prime example of a fit-for-purpose Public Private Partnership integrating competencies of different UN agencies under the leadership of the UNDP and in close cooperation with the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy”Ban Ki-moon explained. “The Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence has come a long way since its establishment. It gives me great pride to see how it has developed into an influential and integral part of the low-carbon and green economy movement in the UAE since 2011,” the UN Secretary General added.

UNDP and DSCE jointly founded Dubai Carbon in 2011 as a purpose vehicle, conceptualised as a think-tank and advisory service for government entities and the private sector alike. In the four years of existence, Dubai Carbon has facilitated knowledge transfer from the United Nations network and capacity building in the UAE and regionally.

One of the most recent success stories is the Carbon Ambassador Programme. The programme takes 35 UAE students from local universities and colleges through a year-long training and empowerment programme on low-carbon development. Consequently, the programme is building their skills for the green job market, providing them with a network of experts and peers and most importantly getting them interested in choosing a career in the field.

Two participating students, Ms. Noura Al Marzouqi and Ms. Al Anoud Rashed Suwaidan Rashed Al Kendi presented the achievements on behalf of all students toHis Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the DSCE, the Vice-Chairman His Excellency Saeed Al Tayer, Ban Ki-moon and other dignitaries.

“The Carbon Ambassadors have been working collaboratively since mid 2014 in teams to retrofit discharged shipping containers from DP World into sustainable bus stops,” said, Ms. Al Mazrouqi, team leader of the group Green Heroes. “Our teams are now overseeing the construction and cannot wait to see our vision become reality,” she added. “His Highness Sheikh Ahmed and Mr. Ban Ki-moon congratulated us to our creative ideas on how to make the bus stops more energy-self sufficient and sustainable. I will pass the encouragement from the Chairman of the Supreme Council and the Secretary General of United Nations on to all four teams,” Ms. Al Kendi, the team leader of the group Green Wind explained.

The youth engagement programme is the result of a network of partners. “UNDP and DSCE have laid the ground work, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) and the Directorate of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs enabled students to travel to Lima as part of the official UAE delegation at the Climate Change negotiations,” Eng. Waleed Salman, Chairman of Dubai Carbon explained the concept. The project of sustainable bus stops is supported by DP World and implementation partners such as CCC, Buro Happold, CH2MHILL and Dow Chemicals. ”Dubai has always excelled at levering connections and partnerships, and with 2015 being the official year of innovation, we can be exited to what ideas our collaboration will inspire these future through leaders,” he added.

Sayed Aqa, UN Resident Coordinator stated: that “Through partnership with the UAE Government, the innovative work with Dubai Carbon and the young Carbon Ambassadors, UNDP trusts that innovative solutions towards lowering carbon emissions, sustainable use of natural resources and greening the economy will greatly contribute to global agenda of climate change and sustainable development goals.”

Judging by its youth, the UAE seems to be on a firm path to sustainability.

The Carbon Ambassador class of 2014/15 will graduate during in April and present their sustainable bus stops live at the Water Electricity, Technology and Environment Exhibition (WETEX) at the Dubai World Trade Centre on April 22, 2015.