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Abu Dhabi celebrates successful Global Goals House during UNGA Week 2020

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Abu Dhabi’s inaugural Global Goals House, held at global tech ecosystem Hub71, has officially come to a close as the Emirate celebrates a successful week of international debates and discussions centered around the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the vital role the Emirate is playing in driving progress toward them.

Held during the annual United Nations General Assembly, which this year marks its 75th anniversary, and organised by Abu Dhabi Government Media Office, Abu Dhabi Global Goals House featured key leaders from the Emirate’s public and private sectors joined by figures from around the globe and an array of industries, including technology, media, healthcare, arts and culture, business and finance. In addition to its robust programming, Abu Dhabi further celebrated the week by lighting up some of the Emirate’s most iconic buildings to support public awareness of the Global Goals.

Sharing her thoughts on the week’s events, H.E. Maryam Eid AlMheiri, Director General of Abu Dhabi Government Media Office, said “Over the course of the UNGA 2020 Goals House events this week, we heard not only about the incredible innovations now driving society forward and helping to address the urgent Global Goals, but we were also reminded of the imperative to come together to celebrate and advance our common humanity.

In 2020, when so many of us have faced challenges, including being separated from loved ones, colleagues and collaborators, that message is more important than ever.

Abu Dhabi was truly delighted to host a Global Goals hub, lead ground-breaking discussions and share knowledge on the issues that increasingly define the times in which we live.”

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A coordinated effort by Abu Dhabi Government Media Office and numerous Abu Dhabi entities, the week’s UNGA itinerary included:

Monday, 21st September:

  • Salama Al Ameemi, Director-General of Authority of Social Contribution, Ma’an, took part in the “Sustainable Innovation for the SDGs” panel alongside Vera Hahn, SVP and Head of Corporate Sustainability at Bayer; John Blood, Chief Legal and Corporate Affairs Officer of Anheuser-Busch InBev; and Dr. Fitsum Assefa Adela, Minister of Plan and Development Commission for the Federal Government of Ethiopia. The event provided a valuable platform for participants to amplify ideas around sustainability-driven innovation and ways to improve business operations and processes to become more efficient—all with the overarching goal of meeting the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals

Tuesday, 22nd September:

  • Abu Dhabi hosted its “Utilizing Tech and Innovation for Sustainable Economic Development” panel discussion. Moderated by Nick Thompson, Editor-in-Chief of WIRED, the conversation featured; HE Dr Tariq bin Hendi, Director General Abu Dhabi Investment Office; Hanan Harhara Al Yafei, CEO of Hub71; Kai Fu Lee, CEO Sinovation Ventures, renowned AI scientist and MBZUAI board member and Stasia Mitchell, EY Global Entrepreneurship Leader. Together, the group explored how government bodies and business leaders can best address environmental, social and economic issues by scaling up efforts through collaboration with peers, industry and sector organisations, customers, governments, non-profit organisations and society at large.

Wednesday, 23rd September

  • Abu Dhabi hosted “The Great Green Reset: Rebuilding Sustainably” panel discussion, moderated by CNBC’s Dan Murphy and featuring His Excellency Awaidha Murshed Ali Al Marar, Chairman of The Abu Dhabi Department of Energy (DoE); Her Excellency Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary General, Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi; Vivian Schiller, Executive Director at Aspen Digital; and Alan Smith, CEO of Aagthia Group. In the face of the disruption caused by COVID-19, the panel explored how governments and companies must sharpen appetites for sustainability at local, national and global levels to drive sustainable development in a post-pandemic world.
  • Dr. Tariq Bin Hendi, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Investment Office, addressed a group gathered in London for the World Food Programme’s “Dine with Purpose” event, focused on the climate’s impact on food supply. The occasion provided an opportunity for Dr. Tariq to showcase the Emirate’s work in future-proofing important food supplies, including its US$100 million investment and R&D in the vital AgTech sector. Other speakers included: Dr Ute Klamert, Assistant Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme; Rebecca Marmot, Chief Sustainability Officer of Unilever; Tony Milikin, AB InBev’s Chief Procurement and Sustainability Officer; and Vivek Bapat, Senior Vice President for Purpose and Brand Experience at SAP; among others.

Thursday, 24th September

  • Abu Dhabi hosted its “Will the Global Pandemic Fast-Track the Healthtech Revolution?” panel discussion. Moderated by John Defterios, CNN International, the session included Dr Jamal Mohammed Alkaabi, Acting Undersectary of Abu Dhabi Department of Health; Dr Farida Al Hosani, Director of the Comunicable Diseases Department, Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre; Ashish Koshy, CEO of G42 Healthcare; Bernardo Mariano Júnior, Chief Information Officer of The World Health Organisation; and Patricia O’Hayer, Global Head of Communications and Public Affairs at RB. Together, the group showcased some of the significant advancements made in healthcare technologies, particulary those since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and how HealthTech can be utilized to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Friday, 25th September

  • His Excellency Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism, was joined by Dr Tristram Hunt, Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum for the “Culture through COVID” fireside chat, a one-on-one discussion to explore what the future will look like for culture in a world impacted by new health and safety requirements, travel restrictions and declines in many of the world’s largest economies, while highlighting the importance of rebuilding a society that still values history and heritage.
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