This summer was an exciting time at the Zayed Sustainability Prize with the ongoing success of our virtual fireside chat series; ‘Voices of Sustainability’. The Q&A-style fireside chat series, which is broadcast once a month, has been providing a thought leadership platform on the global transition to an inclusive and prosperous future by discussing the latest trends and themes in the sustainability agenda.
With seven episodes broadcast to date, Voices of Sustainability has attracted an online audience of over 500,000 viewers, in total, with its popularity continuing to rise amongst the global sustainability community.
Education, digitalisation, development
In July, episode 4 was held under the theme of ‘Education, digitalisation, development’ and hosted guest speaker H.E David Moinina Sengeh, Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education and Chief Innovation Officer for the Directorate of Science, Technology, and Innovation in Sierra Leone – West Africa.
Moderated by Julie Gichuru, Head of Public Affairs and Communications at the Mastercard Foundation, the episode successfully highlighted the fundamental role of ‘Reforming Education through Digitilisation’, tackling a variety of pressing issues such as the role the Minister envisages for digital education in the post-COVID recovery era, how digital innovation is creating a new paradigm for sustainable development, and Sierra Leone’s development emphasis on science, technology, innovation, and education to accelerate socio-economic growth.
In addition, the episode highlighted the often-difficult path to inclusive growth and how digitalising education on a global scale helps address social inequalities, in particular accessibility and affordability.
Climate change, indigenous communities, and environmental justice
In August, Voices of Sustainability held its first panel-style discussion as part of the 5th episode under the theme of ‘Climate change, indigenous communities and environmental justice’ and featured H.E. Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak who was recently appointed as President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). H.E Al Mubarak is also the Managing Director and Board Member, Environment Agency Abu Dhabi and her name has been linked to a string of UAE successes in the field of natural conservation and a global ‘first’, namely bringing the Arabian Oryx back from extinction.
The dynamic 45-minute panel also featured Ms. Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, UN Sustainable Development Goal Advocate, Conservation International Board Member, Earthshot Prize Council Member and an official Friend of COP26 Presidency, who was also appointed as a Jury member of the Zayed Sustainability Prize, this year. The discussion was moderated by Singapore-based Founder and Managing Director of Eco-Business; Jessica Cheam, and its airing coincided with the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, which was marked on 9th August.
The thought-provoking panel placed the clear and present dangers faced by indigenous communities all over the world centre stage as they stand at the forefront of the deteriorating climate change crisis.
Topics covered included leveraging the power of indigenous customs and traditions to tackle climate change and the pressing need for a thriving planet to be able to ensure that women, youth, and societies thrive. Moreover, the panel covered the intricate connections between planet and society, in relation to women’s role in the community, as well as the impact of the climate emergency.
People, Planet, Profit
The latest Voices of Sustainability episode, which aired earlier this month, featured guest speaker Dr. Andrew Steer, President and CEO of the Bezos Earth Fund and was moderated Joel Makower, Chairman and Co-Founder of GreenBiz. The episode, which was titled ‘People, Planet, Profit’, shed light on the theme of ‘Environmental justice, environmental resources management and climate action’. It sought to capture the three dimensions of sustainability and the breadth of the Sustainable Development Agenda while tackling a range of subjects from the paradigm shifts needed for profit and prosperity to key steps needed by communities, governments, and the private sector to truly become ‘people- and planet-friendly’.
Climate action and the importance of shaping sound and effective climate policies in the Decade of Action was also a focus area. This included Dr. Steer’s insights on the expected outcomes of the highly awaited COP 26 in November and the steps needed to achieve equitable development for the world’s vulnerable, with people lying at the heart of this development.