In a spirit of celebration, business leaders, top government officials, diplomats and leaders of the society met under the stars in the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray to attend the sixteenth Gala Dinner of the Emirates Environmental Group or EEG as it is better known as. The ‘green carpet’ event was held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman and CEO, Emirates Group and Chairman, Dubai Airports. This well attended annual event provides a platform to EEG to acknowledge all those organizations that provide sponsorship and other means of meaningful support throughout the year. The programs and campaigns for which organizations were honored included the popular environmental workshops and competitions for students; waste management (recycling) drives and tree planting; and country wide clean ups, among several others.
The event was opened by EEG’s Co-Founder and Chairperson, Habiba Al Marashi. Mrs. Al Marashi gave a talk about the Group’s inspiring work and key achievements in 2012. Emphasizing on the importance of education for environment and sustainability among the youth population, she noted that EEG had managed to reach out to 150,000 students and teachers and 500 knowledge institutions across the length and breadth of the country as well as some in neighboring countries. She also shared the results of the ever popular Clean up UAE day, where on 12.12.12, 42000 volunteers went into action in 112 sites. Mentioning the success of the waste management and recycling initiatives of the EEG, Mrs. Al Marashi said that 18,182 kilograms of Aluminum Cans, 97,210 kilograms of Plastic, 274,151 kilograms of glass, 7079 cartridges, 47,058 pieces of batteries, 1,103 Mobile Phones, 1,134,675 kilograms of Paper and 4,536 kilograms of TetraPak Beverage Containers had been collected by hundreds of individuals, families, corporate, government departments and educational institutions in 2012.
The key note speech was delivered by Dr. Iyad Abumoghli on the subject ‘Green economy to ensure Sustainable Business’. Dr. Abumoghli is Director and Regional Representative of UNEP-ROWA, which is the Regional Office (for the West Asia Region) of the United Nations Environment Programme. With twenty seven years experience with the private sector, scientific and international organizations on sustainable development, water resources management and Environmental Impact Assessment; Dr. Abumoghli has also served for fourteen years in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). EEG is accredited to UNEP and Mrs. Al Marashi is the global focal point of the NGO major stakeholder group within UNEP. Dr. Abumoghli’s talk focussed on the role of a Green Economy as a business driver to ensure long term economic success.
The EEG Gala Dinner was supported by Special Sponsor Wasl; Platinum Sponsor DEWA – Dubai Electricity and Water Authority; Gold Sponsors Chalhoub Group, Henkel and Petrofac; and Silver Sponsors Dolphin Energy, Emirates NBD and McDonald’s. Along with these sponsors, another 44 business organizations were acknowledged on stage for the commitment demonstrated throughout last year across a broad range of activities conducted under EEG’s banner.
Among the other attractions of the evening was a pulsating music and dance program executed by African Beats on the theme “Dancing to the tunes of Nature”. The theme of nature permeated throughout the dinner and reminded guests that a little combined effort for Nature and the Environment would go a long way in solving some of humanity’s biggest growing challenges. Touching on this Mrs. Al Marashi said, “I sincerely hope that governments, business and communities converge efforts to produce a common collective response to the inter-related economic, social and ecological challenges facing us all today. Our Region is already employing efforts in this direction and is poised to play an increasingly global role, I hope we seize this moment and make the most out of it.” The event was Carbon Neutral, through the efforts of group member Farnek Avireal in collaboration with myclimate; and by off-setting a total of 6.7 tons of CO2.
The seventeenth Gala Dinner will be held in 2014, again in the month of February, to commemorate the National Environment Day.