"UAE, a hydrocarbon economy, is home to International Renewable Energy Agency as this is where the vision is" – IRENA Director General, Adnan Z Amin

Dubai: In the presence of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, His Excellency Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Vice Chairman, Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and CEO, DEWA, opened the World Green Economy Summit today by highlighting the UAE's achievements in advancing the green economy. "This Summit will help us to achieve economic and social development as we seek to battle climate change, and form a roadmap towards a greener economy."

The opening plenary, titled, Laying the Foundation for a Green Economy, commenced with plenary opening session from Adnan Z Amin Director General, IRENA.

H.E. Reem Ebrahim Al Hashimy, Minister of State, Government of UAE, Managing Director, World EXPO 2020, opened with, "We want to be a centre of energy. We have a strong hydrocarbon base, but relying on oil reserves has never been our strategy. 30% of our country's GDP is oil based, with less than 5% in Dubai. The promise of a green sustainable long term form of energy has guided not just IRENA but also the EXPO campaign. We are committed to delivering one of the most green expos ever and are looking at how we can design a site and a mechanism that is sustainable. To be able to do this, we need to start in advance, and we look to international partners to play their role. The legacy of our EXPO site has to live beyond the six months of World EXPO."

"We all have a stake in the green economy and one of the most sobering issues for me is that averting catastrophic climate change is possible, but only if we act now and triple renewable energy deployment in the near term. People often ask why IRENA is based in a hydro carbon economy – I say it exists here, in the UAE because this is where the vision is." Adnan Z Amin, Director General, IRENA commented before the panelists commenced their debate.

HE Hakima El Haite, Minister of Environment, Morocco, commenting on the changes being made in Morocco to drive a green economy, said, "In Morocco we have started institutional and legal reforms in order to start work towards a green and sustainable economy. 96% of our energy comes from outside, but our goal is to reduce that to 40% by 2020 – highlighting the imperative for more sustainable energy sources. The State needs to be the example that we follow; all policies need to focus on green growth – something that we adopted as a measure to fight poverty and create growth."

Alun Davies, Minister of Natural Resources and Food, Government of Wales, focused on, "The challenge facing all of us, is how we will drive growth in the 21st century, and how we will work together as nations and regions. Energy will be a key component of future industrial growth, and this needs to be clean and renewable. How we achieve that will vary across the world – in Wales, we are taking an old economy and adapting it to meet new challenges for future generations, whereby government has to make decisions based on the impact on the future. We want to drive behavioural change and the way in which our economy works. One of the most exciting challenges facing us is how we power the economy of the future. People, society, government, and business must work in partnership to ensure that around the globe we can all learn lessons for future generations."

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