ABU DHABI // Peace, the environment, health and education are priorities for Abu Dhabi and the world, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak told delegates at a meeting of the World Future Council today.
“For millennia, the world’s people have been engaged in conflicts and too often in wars,” said the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, who was giving the opening speech at the charitable foundation’s sixth annual meeting, and its first in an Arab country.
“Those conditions have recently become more fearful because of the high sense of insecurity among so many of the world’s citizens.
“As you focus on the future, I hope that you will discuss ways to bring to all of the world’s citizens a better understanding and an appreciation of the differences among the world’s cultures, religions and governments,” he continued.
“An understanding and appreciation that might lead us all away from confrontation and armed conflicts and into a brave new world of good creatures who enjoy peace and prosperity.”
The minister also spoke of the need for sustainable economic policies.
“We all have a major stake in sustainability, our social and cultural well-being depends on it. Our future economic growth will be disastrous if it is not sustainable development.”
The council is hoping to establish a permanent presence in the Arabian Gulf region, said its founder, Jakob von Uexkull.
“Like the rest of the world, the UAE is looking for new ways of living and producing in order to minimise its ecological footprint and avoid climate chaos,” he said.
Among the people expected to attend the council’s four-day meeting are Julia Marton-Lefevre, the director general of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and Dipal Barua, the co-founder of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, which works to alleviate poverty by providing micro-loans to poor people.
The meeting, held at the Sofitel, has been organised by Nahtam Social Responsibility, an Abu Dhabi-based organisation, and Abdul Majeed Al Fahim, the chairman of Dubai Pearl.
The council, based in Hamburg, Germany, was founded in 2007 and develops policies on climate and energy, urban development, sustainable economies, peace and disarmament.