Under the patronage and presence of Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, President of American University of Sharjah (AUS), the Sharjah Ramadan Majlis 2023 brought together business leaders, senior government officials, entrepreneurs and changemakers, providing them with a platform for dialogue and unifying visions and efforts that promote sustainability values and practices in various sectors and industries, and develop environmentally friendly and safe business options for the future of the world.
Held under the theme “The Winning Combination: Where Business Meets Sustainability”, the Majlis was organised by Sharjah Development and Investment Authority (Shurooq), Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah), Sharjah Entrepreneurship Centre (Sheraa), and Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP).
The Majlis offered a vital dialogue space for thought leaders and changemakers to align multi-sectoral visions to deliver practical, innovative, and impactful solutions that can help mitigate the adverse impacts of environmental issues facing the UAE and the world today, and enhance sustainability across diverse sectors and industries.
The Majlis opened with a keynote address from Sheikha Bodour, who reminded the audience to be “careful not to think of sustainability as a trend, because it is not. The awareness and commitment to be mindful of our impact on the planet should extend far beyond COP28”.
“In Sharjah, we are working hard to bring more balance and harmony to our relationship with the land” she added, referring to various actions carried out by public and private entities as well as educational institutions in the emirate, such as the recent harvesting of toxin- and pesticide-free wheat from the Saba Sanabel project in Mleiha, which was witnessed by H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, the ban on single-use plastic, the project to build the UAE’s first recycling facility for expired batteries from electric vehicles, and the development of innovative solutions such as apps that enable more efficient and environmentally friendly waste management.
“I am confident that with access to more technological advancement and research, we can be pioneers in shifting the conversation from achieving net zero to positive net outcomes that help us achieve a resilient and regenerative world”, Sheikha Bodour asserted.
Speakers at the majlis included Majid Al Suwaidi, Director-General of COP28; Omar Al-Suwaidi, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology; Khaled Al Huraimel, Group CEO of BEEAH Group; Ahmed Obaid Al Qaseer, CEO of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq); Mohamed Juma Al Musharrakh, CEO at Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah); Najla Al Midfa, CEO of Sharjah Entrepreneurship Centre (Sheraa); Hussain Al Mahmoudi, CEO of Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP); and a number of speakers from governmental and private bodies, including the office of the COP28 Conference of the Parties.
During his keynote speech, Majid Al Suwaidi, Director-General of COP28, shared his views on a global approach to sustainability, emphasising the need for collective responsibility beyond borders.
Omar Al Suwaidi, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology, affirmed that the UAE has been at the forefront of enacting legislation that focuses on consolidating sustainable business principles across various sectors.
Khaled Al Huraimel, Group CEO of BEEAH Group, said that the declaration of 2023 as the “Year of Sustainability” in the UAE reflected the country’s ongoing efforts to promote sustainable development and environmental preservation while striving to provide a model for the same.
The forum’s dialogues, including an expert-led panel session, “The Conscious Majlis: Our Collective Responsibility”, highlighted effective and integrated strategies for enhancing sustainability across sectors and industries to ensure the longevity of the planet. The Majlis also offered key stakeholders in the entrepreneurship ecosystem a platform to talk about how startups and investors are making progress in the sustainability sector.
The Sharjah Ramadan Majlis 2023 served as a significant platform to build momentum in the right direction, highlighting the invaluable role socially-minded and tech-driven entrepreneurs can play in building back from the rapid degeneration the world has experienced from unsustainable business practices. It was also a key event on the national and regional calendar for those interested in the future of entrepreneurship and sustainability in the region.