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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 September 2018

WEF 2018: Emirati ministers meet in Davos to discuss climate change, artificial intelligence

12 Emirati ministers will attend the 46th World Economic Forum

People walk in the snow ahead of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in the Swiss Alps resort of Davos, Switzerland. Denis Balibouse / Reuters
People walk in the snow ahead of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in the Swiss Alps resort of Davos, Switzerland. Denis Balibouse / Reuters

Climate change, space exploration, artificial intelligence and the fourth industrial revolution will be some of the topics discussed by 12 Emirati ministers attending the 46th World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

It runs from January 23 to 26.

On the first day of the forum, the Emirati delegation will lead a talk titled, Pioneering the Future of Governance in the Arab World.

In it, they will examines how the UAE’s path to an innovation-driven economy, and its possible implications for governance in the region.

Its speakers will be Sarah Al Amiri, the Minister of State for Advanced Sciences, Hessa Buhumaid, Minister of Community Development, and the first Minster of Artificial Intelligence, Omar Al Olama, who was just 27 when appointed.

Mr Olama will later attend a talk titled, Agile Governance in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

This talk explores what tools can help leaders respond quickly in an era where technology is transforming institutions for governance, while maintaining inclusivity and the trust of its people. This session gets into the practical, looking at artificial intelligence applications and the question of programming tolerance into machines.

The UAE seeks to generate 75 per cent of its energy from renewables by 2050 and climate change is a priority for Emirati ministers at Davos. Suhail Al Mazrouei, the Minister of Energy and Industry, will speak in the session, “The Great Energy Transformation”. It asks how leaders can overcome political obstacles to create a clean, affordable and secure future.

Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, the Minister of Climate Change and the Environment, will participate in a session exploring the aftermath of the Paris Agreement, which seeks to limit the rise in the average global temperature to 1.5°C above pre-industrial revolution levels. Currently, it is predicted that the UAE will experience a 2°C to 3°C increase in temperatures by mid-century.

Sustainable food production will be on the agenda for Mariam Al Mehairi, the Minister of State for Food Security, who will speak in the session, “On the Menu: Sustainable and Nutritious Food”. It looks at new food technologies and business models that could cut emissions in the agricultural sector, which have exceeded those of cars, trucks, trains and aircraft combined.

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Addressing another type of security risk will be Dr Anwar Gargash, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, who will discuss cooperation in the Middle East following the defeat of Isis in Iraq and Syria in the session, “Finding a New Equilibrium in the Middle East” This talk asks if a new interconnected order is reshaping the region.

Dr Gargash will present alongside the deputy prime minister of Turkey Mehmet Simsek, Bahrain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, the Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel bin Ahmed Al Jubeir, Germany’s Minister of Defence Ursula von der Leyen and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman.

This year, the UAE government allocated 17.1 per cent of its budget to education. At Davos, Jameela Al Muhairi, the Minister of State for Public Education, will attend a session about the importance of investing in education to promote skills that will secure people’s livelihoods and achieve sustainable growth.

Among the other senior ministers attending is Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Gergawi Minister of Cabinet Affairs and ‎the Future and Sultan Al Mansoori, Minister of Economy.

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