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HCT Sustainability Forum 2023 Highlights Importance of Youth’s Sustainability Contributions

Under the theme of "The Role of Youth for a Better Tomorrow", the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) convened its inaugural Sustainability Forum 2023, with a focused emphasis on the UAE's efforts in addressing climate change challenges.

The forum’s specific focus was to promote the youth's involvement in creating a sustainable future by raising awareness, empowering youth to take action and inspiring creativity and innovation.

Dr. Faisal Alayyan, HCT President & CEO, stated that the UAE is currently preparing to host the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28), a significant global event, and as a lead up to this conference, the country is living today 2023. He noted that with the largest segment of students across various emirates in the country, HCT is keen to participate in the drive towards sustainability, particularly with 2023 being the Year of Sustainability. This is emphasized by its focus on engaging youth as a driving force for development and a sustainable economy, and this initiative aims to encourage the youth to become more involved in national directions and efforts towards sustainability.

Dr. Alayyan added that the forum brought together sustainability experts and specialists from different institutions, with the aim of creating a roadmap, starting from COP28 that focuses on developing the capacities of young people and equipping them with the necessary knowledge and skills for a brighter future.

He further said the convergence of ideas and experiences among academics, specialists and business owners generates opportunities for the youth to inspire them to come up with innovative ideas and solutions to tackle the challenges posed by climate change. By doing so, they can transform these challenges into opportunities for the future, leading to greater happiness and well-being of societies.

“Young people are a major driving force, and our aim is to enhance their capabilities and empower them to develop innovative solutions to climate challenges,” he said.

The forum kicked off with an opening session, in which Mr. Ibrahim Al Zu'bi, Senior Vice President of Sustainability & Climate Change at ADNOC Group, who emphasized the upcoming COP28 conference holds great importance for the entire region, not only in environmental aspects but also in economic and social spheres. He highlighted the necessity for young people to comprehend the significance and magnitude of this event and to appreciate the privilege of attending it, adding that UAE youth are very fortunate to have a national leadership that provides them with opportunities to secure a prosperous future for themselves and generations to come.

During his address to HCT students, Mr. Al Zu'bi emphasized the significance of climate and sustainability solutions and urged them to take a keen interest in them in order to safeguard their future employment prospects or help them establish their own businesses. He highlighted the pivotal role of young people in promoting sustainability and encouraged them to make the most of the COP28 conference as an opportunity to gain insight into the climate-related challenges and brainstorm potential solutions.

He encouraged them to join the green zone and share their ideas while learning more about the jobs of the future. He emphasized to the youth that the upcoming economy is centered around climate, and they hold the key to generating innovative solutions and they have excellent opportunities for creativity. “Investing in climate solutions is crucial for young people to secure future employment opportunities or establish their own businesses,” he said.

Mr. Al Zu'bi highlighted the UAE's excellent accomplishments in sustainability, noting that hosting the global climate conference was not the result of a few years of effort, but rather a leadership approach that has been in place since the country's establishment. He emphasized that the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (may God have mercy upon him) was instrumental in promoting sustainability and climate safety, with a longstanding commitment to the environment and awareness of the dangers of gas emissions and keenness to promoting all initiatives that supported climate safety.

The Forum’s panel discussion, entitled "Empowering Youth with Future Skills and Its Impact on Sustainability", saw the participation of Saif Awadh, Data Management, Monitoring and Reporting Manager for the United Nation’s office in the UAE, Raya Makawi, Regional Sustainability Leader for Middle East & Africa at 3M, and Saad Alrubaiaan, Board Member of Young Arab Leaders and Corporate Communication Consultant.

The panelists discussed the competencies and skills that are crucial for young people to make a significant impact on sustainability efforts, including a sound understanding of the concept of sustainability and its various dimensions and an ardent passion for contributing to this domain.

The members suggested that engaging in volunteering activities could serve as a starting point for young people to cultivate sustainable behaviors, as well as possessing effective communication skills, critical and creative thinking abilities, and a commitment to self-improvement to succeed in this field.

HCT students were able to engage with Khulood Hindiyyeh, Social Impact & Sustainability Certified Expert, during the HCT Talk session on Sustainability.

 At the end of the forum, Dr. Alayyan commended all the speakers for their valuable contributions and dedication to promoting the participation of youth in adopting sustainable practices and encouraging them to contributing to building a climate-friendly and sustainable economy.


Categories: Press Release Sustainability