29 August 2023 – It was indeed a great honour for me to participate at a very special Emirati Women’s Day event held under the patronage of HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak and in cooperation with the COP28 Presidency.
The event, themed ‘Emirati Women & Sustainable Development’, was held at the General Women’s Union in Abu Dhabi, with Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, President of the General Women’s Union, represented by Sheikha Hissa Bint Sultan Bin Khalifa AlNahyan, Advisor at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and welcoming exemplary and outstanding speakers including Her Excellency Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, International Union for Conservation of Nature on behalf of the COP28 team; Her Excellency Maryam bint Mohammed Al Muhairi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment; Her Excellency Dr Nawal Al-Hosany, Permanent Representative of the UAE to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA); Her Excellency Tayba Al Hashemi, CEO of ADNOC Offshore; Omar Al Yazeedi, Deputy Director General of the National Center of Meteorology; and Ghaya Al Ababa, UNICEF Ambassador for COP28 Youth.
I extend my warm thanks and appreciation to HE Noora Al Suwaidi, Director General of the General Women’s Union, for the kind invitation for me to attend and share my insights on the phenomenal achievements of Emirati women leaders in the unprecedented progress the UAE is making in climate, sustainability and STEM. We are most proud of our longstanding ties with the General Women’s Union, and also of our partnership with WiSER led by Dr Lamya Fawwaz, who I was delighted to see at the event and with whom I was delighted to co-chair a major AIWF x WiSER collaboration earlier this year, our major conference in London titled ‘On The Road to COP28’.
In marking the special occasion of Emirati Women’s Day 2023, I was proud to offer the heartfelt appreciation and deep respect of the AIWF Board and Partners for the inspirational leadership of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation and Mother of the Nation. In this special COP28 year, the active involvement of Emirati women in sustainability ensures that the UAE’s environmental agenda is both inclusive and progressive. Their visibility and leadership in COP28 solidifies the UAE’s commitment to a sustainable future on a global scale. Indeed, the presence of women leaders across the COP28 agenda and in pioneering roles in STEM, sustainability and many other sectors and spheres is not just inspirational for young girls in the region but sends a global message about breaking boundaries.
I also took the opportunity to acknowledge and pay tribute to the Emirati Women Leaders who have served as AIWF’s UAE Board Members over the years and who have supported me and the Arab International Women’s Forum since the Forum was founded in 2001 and to whom we owe a great deal for all the success attained over our 22-year history – HE Sheikha Lubna Al Qassimi, who holds the distinction of being the first Emirati woman to assume a ministerial post; Dr Raja Al Gurg, Chairperson of Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group and Dr Shaikha Al Maskari, Emirati geophysicist businesswoman, and the chairperson of Al Maskari Holding.
As we all look forward with excitement for COP28 and in anticipation of the key outcomes for women in climate and sustainability, I wish all our Emirati sisters a very happy Emirati Women’s Day 2023 and greater accomplishments ahead.
Haifa Al Kaylani
President & Founder
Arab International Women’s Forum