Sharing of the “Abu Dhabi Experience” To Support Enhanced Environmental Decision Making in Emerging Economies

The Eye on Earth Abu Dhabi 2011 Summit is dedicated to the critical issue of greater access to environmental and societal data for enhanced decision making, especially in emerging economies.

His Highness Sheikh Hamdan also welcomed former President Bill Clinton to the Summit before touring the Exhibition with high-level representatives of the UAE government.The Summit was also attended by H.H. Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, H.E. Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy, H.E. Mariam Khalfan Al Roumi, UAE Minister of Social Affairs, H.E. Humaid Al Qatami, UAE Minister of Education, H.E. Dr Rashid Ahmad bin Fahd, UAE Minister of Environment and Water and H.E. Dr. Maitha Salem Al Shamsi, UAE Minister of State.

In a keynote address during the grand opening of the Summit, H.E. Mohammed Al Bowardi, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, Managing Director of Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi and Chair of the Eye on Earth Abu Dhabi 2011 Summit said: “Over the past 40 years, Abu Dhabi has experienced growth at nearly an unprecedented pace. We have experienced the challenges associated with expansion. We have learned from our experience and adjusted wisely and we are a better and stronger community as a result.”

H.E. Al Bowardi continued: “Now it is our responsibility to share this Abu Dhabi Experience with others – individuals, institutions and countries – that face similar challenges. In particular we endeavor to share this experience and the lessons we have learned with our brothers throughout the GCC and within the MENA region, as well as with the emerging economies and developing nations across the world.”

Presenting a speech entitled “Embracing the Common Vision;” President Bill Clinton highlighted the importance of access to data and information as a critical basis for policy making. President Clinton also took part in a question and answer session in front of a high-level Summit audience.

About the Eye on Earth Summit, President Clinton said: “This is an incredible venue. A few years ago, it would have been unthinkable to have a conference to debate data and emissions here in the Gulf. We are doing this in the UAE because we know the path we are on is not sustainable,” and continued, “The economic model we have been following is not sustainable because of the way we consume energy and the depletion of resources. In this context, this is a very good meeting and those of you focused on giving us good data are profoundly important.”

Presenting a welcome address on behalf of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, H.E. Dr Rashid Ahmad bin Fahd, UAE Minister of Environment and Water, said: “The core values that have underpinned the development of the UAE are among the same issues that have the attention of the Eye on Earth Community here in Abu Dhabi over the next 3 days. Information gathering and sharing are at the core of our nation and a preoccupation of our president, who ten years ago while still crown prince of Abu Dhabi, initiated and launched the Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa.”

The Eye on Earth Summit brings together the global leadership of the environmental information movement, a group dedicated to bringing the benefits of better information to people and decision-makers around the planet. A key goal of the Summit is the adoption of the Eye on Earth Summit Declaration, which will provide input to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 2012.

Speakers including Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), Chief Almir Surui, Leader of the Surui people of the Brazilian Amazon, and Rebecca Moore, from Google Outreach, later addressed the Summit delegates concerning the importance of open and shared access to the world’s environmental data.

Open to the public, the Eye on Earth Abu Dhabi 2011 Exhibition, which runs until Thursday December 15 is showcasing the very best from around the world in the field of environmental and geospatial data access and analysis including Abu Dhabi’s pioneering 2030 strategic vision for a sustainable economy.

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, the Eye on Earth Abu Dhabi 2011 Summit & Exhibition is hosted by Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), facilitated by Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI) and held in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

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