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Zayed International Foundation for The Environment Hosts First 'World Cafe' Under The Slogan, 'Wisdom Fuelling The Future!'

With a leading group of environmentalists, scientists and thought leaders, the Zayed International Foundation for the Environment explored the roadmap to a better future as it kickstarted its activities in the new year by hosting its first 'World Caf' under the slogan,Wisdom Fuelling the Future!'.

In preparation for the upcoming 2023 UN Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 28) to be hosted in Dubai, UAE, the two-day event held on January 31 and February 1 at the Officers Club, Dubai Police Academy, called for 'a serious global stocktaking' as the progress in worldwide efforts towards fulfilling the vision of a sustainable world has, till date, shown very little positive outcome.

Against this backdrop, the Zayed International Foundation for the Environment's first 'World Caf' platform sought to bring about a conscious shift in developing inner abilities to deepen our sense of life and enable mankind to live more purposeful, sustainable, and productive lives.

The event aimed at bringing the "humanware" into dialogue and 'crowd-source' wisdom to co-create value to accelerate human growth and collective learning vital for unlocking practical solutions for the ongoing climate crisis.

In his opening remarks, Prof. Mohammad Ahmed Bin Fahad, Chairman of the Zayed International Foundation for the Environment, stated how shortsighted political considerations are the main barriers impeding the implementation of true solutions for environmental problem worldwide.

Discussing how the world has adapted and moved on after the pandemic demonstrating its agility and resilience, he noted that actions on the ground, irrespective of political or other agendas, were imperative to realise the Sustainable Development Goals. He affirmed that the Zayed Foundation is determined to be part of the solution and is committed to supporting international efforts to bring about the necessary changes.

Dr. Hamdan K. Al Shaer, Member of the Higher Committee, Zayed International Foundation for the Environment, welcomed the honorable participants and described how an out-of-the-box approach to finding climate change solutions prompted the Zayed Foundation to open dialogue with scientists and experts to pave the way for a new path to COP 28.

He added that this is a continuation of the Foundation's initiatives and programs undertaken since its establishment in 1999 by HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The outcomes of the many declarations and initiatives of the Foundation have since been adopted by several UN organizations, he added, urging participants to remain mindful of the global ecosystem when discussing new ideas and roadmaps towards COP28.


Introducing the workshop and the theme, 'Wisdom Fueling the Future' and discussing the need for renewed focus on the 'humanware' or 'knowledge and skills' as the new mindset change ahead of COP 28, Dr. Eisa Abdellatif, Chief Technical Advisor of the Zayed International Foundation for the Environment, called for the need for new effective and practical solutions to solve the climate change issues.

This calls for reviewing basic concepts of environmental integrity, abandoning outdate paradigms, reconnecting with the past to explore old green values and traditions, reviving faith for green commands and directions, keeping an eye out for innovative and out-of-the-box initiatives and ideas, he said.

A paradigm shift from seeking 'Smart' solutions to 'Wise' solutions brings to the forefront 'human' solutions as opposed to 'technological' solutions, facilitating the change in humans from a state of being 'unaware' to becoming more 'aware' through the innate power of wisdom, knowledge and skills. The key tools to bring about this shift in 'humanware' are education, raising awareness, and training, he said.

Dr. Eisa Abdellatif further pointed out that we now think of Sustainable Development as a triangle of 'Economic, Social & Environmental dimensions' only, forgetting that 'Partnerships and Participation' are far more critical in finding solutions that are grass rooted, easier to implement, and bring greater benefits to communities.

Taking joint responsibility by all stakeholders including the government and civil society, individuals and private sector organisations will lead to greater transparency and accountability and bring about the real change to make the world more sustainable, he concluded.

Expanding Consciousness

In his presentation, Dr. Charles Savage, President and Mentor, Knowledge Era Enterprising (KEE) International, and a Professor of Business and from thinking negatively about each other to discovering insights about each other and energizing co-creativity.

Stating that the wisdom of the past and the challenges of the present will help co-create a wiser future, he outlined the need for a new language - "an Ecozoic language" to set humans from the endless pace of "consumptionism" to build a new order. Prof. Savage called for a third dramatic paradigm shift - from Technology to Wisdom - where the critical components spearheading this transition is "the dynamics of cross-pollinating insights between individuals in our reflective communities." Stewarding such a global climate-conscious community will help accelerate bold action and generate change faster and more creatively, he concluded.

Inner Development Goals

Nadine Zidani, the UAE Hub representative of the IDGs (Inner Development Goals), reinforced that the IDGs are accelerators to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and create a prosperous future for all of humanity.

Zidani called on all attendees to actively participate in adapting the IDGs to the GCC region, noting that through openness, learning, collaboration, and hope, it is possible to bring the power of inner development to global challenges faced by humanity. The chief aim is to educate, inspire and empower people to be a positive force for change in society and find a more purposeful way to look at our lives, she said.

The UAE Ministry of Climate Change and the Environment was represented at the event by Hassan Bilal and Fatma Alhabshi who enriched the World Cafe discussions with the Ministry's perspectives on the subject.

The session also hosted Hanane Benkhallouk, best-selling author of SEEDS of Change, which explores ways to learn how to surf the wave of disruption and navigate in an ever-changing business landscape.

Other participants at the event included Sameera Fernandes from Century Financial; Purnima Sabnis, Manager - Group CSR, EFS Facilities Services Group (EFS); Omar Al Nuaimi, Emirates Group - Environment Affairs Manager; and a host of students and faculty from leading academic institutions including Dr. Nada Sayarh Lebbar, Associate Professor of Marketing & Assistant Dean at SP Jain; Dr. Dalia Osama Hafiz, Assistant Professor (College of Architecture, Art, and Design) at Ajman University; and Reem Assim from the American University of Sharjah.

The Zayed International Foundation for the Environment will hold a follow up "Wisdom Caf" workshop shortly with more participants from the government, businesses, NGOs, universities and schools.

The main partners for the January edition of the workshop included the Dubai Police Academy and Ministry of Climate Change & Environment. Sponsors for the event were FloWater, who also supplied filtered water, The Babyshop, Dubai Duty Free and Radiant Aurora.

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