Youth want a green recovery to shape the UAE’s next 50 years
Connect with Nature launches flagship white paper which reveals youth’s top priorities and emerging trends towards driving change for a more sustainable UAE
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – November 12, 2020: UAE youth have spoken and acknowledged the role they play in driving change, reimagining a green recovery for the nation, as well as drawing a roadmap of what the next 50 years could look like. Through a joint partnership, Emirates Nature-WWF and the Environment-Agency Abu Dhabi, with the International Fund for Houbara Conservation as strategic partner, have revealed a white paper following the Connect with Nature Reimagine Youth Circle Series.
Titled ‘Is Nature a Priority for UAE Youth in the COVID-19 Recovery?’, the white paper examines how youth want to actively create positive change in their communities to tackle the world’s most pressing issues. The findings published in the white paper shed light upon the role young people play as the leaders of tomorrow in creating a more sustainable world and designing the next 50 years.
The white paper was revealed yesterday, at the 10th and grand finale session of the Reimagine Youth Circle Series, held in collaboration with the Federal Youth Authority. The key outtakes were presented by youth, for youth, in a session attended by 370 young people across the nation, with special interactive sessions and messages from H.E. Dr. Abdullah bin Mohammed Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, H.E. Shamma bint Suhail Faris Al Mazrui, Minister of State for Youth Affairs, and H.E. Huda AlHashimi, Chief of Strategy and Government Innovation - UAE Government, who hosted a session focused on understanding the key findings and drawing a strategic roadmap towards designing the next 50 years.
Over the past five months, the Reimagine Youth Circle Series has met approximately every 2 weeks, bringing together 1,600 youth to engage with key decision makers and experts from the UAE cabinet, businesses and academia about critical topics that will ultimately shape the future for our people and planet.
The youth white paper proposes focusing on four key areas of action that scale, accelerate and amplify individuals impact for the benefit of both people and planet. These include:
- Preserving nature and wildlife;
- Stimulating a green recovery and achieving no plastic in nature;
- Accelerating climate action; and
- Ensuring food and water security
H.E. Dr. Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said: “Youth empowerment and engagement in shaping the nation’s future strategies is a long-standing priority for the UAE and its wise leadership. In this regard, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment is keen on participating in events targeting young people, and launching initiatives that raise their awareness about environmental action and boost their ability to devise innovative ideas that support the country’s sustainable development.”
He noted that sessions that allow the young generation to interact with decision makers from the government and other sectors offer a prime opportunity to learn about their ideas and views of the future, and enable the new generation to actively contribute to designing the next 50 years of the nation.
H.E. Shamma bint Suhail Faris Al Mazrui, Minister of State for Youth Affairs shared an inspirational statement on the critical role that youth can play: “Nature remains the lifeline of our survival, it is vital now, more than ever to refresh the regulations that have resulted in the challenges we’re battling today. However, it is not too late, I am certain that we can shift our patterns with the joint efforts of both local, regional and global cooperation. Our hope remains on the youth and I strongly believe that with their forward thinking mindset, together we will achieve the positive change for nature we want to see for the coming generations.”
HE Huda AlHashimi, Chief of Strategy and Government Innovation in the UAE, stated that equipping and empowering youth, promoting their capabilities, and motivating them to develop long-term visions for designing strategic plans, is at the core of the government work methodology and policies aiming to draw the UAE path towards the next 50 years. She highlighted that engaging youth and NGO’s, such as Emirates Nature–WWF, in designing the future and developing strategies for the most vital sectors is a national priority This in turn shall contribute to boosting the government's efforts aiming at transforming innovative ideas into a tangible reality, positively affecting people’s wellbeing.
Youth made pledges to come ‘Together for Change’ alongside HE AlHashimi who pinpointed the important role of the participants of the "Re-imagine" sessions, who shall assist in preparing, developing and implementing national strategies and policies to achieve the UAE’s comprehensive development. She concluded by calling upon youth to share their ideas, aspirations and visions for the next 50 years in the report, which will act as a main pillar in government work renovation.
Commenting on the significance of the whitepaper findings, Laila Mostafa Abdullatif, Director General at Emirates Nature-WWF, said: “The voices of UAE youth are crucial to ensure the environment is top of the nation’s agenda as we set sail towards designing the next 50 years. UAE youth have told us, loud and clear, that nature matters to them. We know that the next few months and years are critical to put the planet on the path to a green recovery. We urge governments, businesses, financial institutions, civil society and people to come together and commit to building a safe and resilient future for the UAE, where people and nature thrive”.
There has never been a more exciting and crucial time to build a future where people and nature live in harmony, and flourish together. With almost half of the UAE’s population under the age of 30, today’s young people will shape the world of tomorrow. Youth across the UAE have spoken loud and clear about wanting a green recovery and doing what it takes to achieve this vision. For more details about the white paper - how public and private sectors can get involved and work closely with youth to attain this vision, and to make a personal and collective ‘Together for Change’ promise, head to https://www.emiratesnaturewwf.ae/en/together-for-change