Digital Transformation Conference for Environmental Sustainability

Manama, Bahrain 16 September 2021

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Regional Office for West Asia hosted the first-ever Digital Transformation Conference for Environmental Sustainability in West Asia on the 15th and 16th of September in a virtual setting, showcasing the application of advanced technologies in pursuit of achieving environmental sustainability, focusing on the West Asia Region.

Science presents a fundamentally alarming scenario of our future. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change( IPCC) estimates that global warming is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052. While Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) underscores that biodiversity and ecosystem decline will further challenge our ambition of achieving the 2030 Agenda. Pollution and waste brought about economic growth will continue to threaten the healthcare systems and population at large.

The conference explored clean technologies, digital tools and applications that can be adopted in the West Asia region to address the three planetary crises – climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. The Conference brought together several strategic partners in the environmental, research, and development industries from public and private sectors globally and within the region.

The conference was opened by UNEP’s Representative and Regional Director for West Asia Mr. Sami Dimassi who then gave the stage to the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Ms. Inger Andersen to set the scene for the conference. Ms. Andersen highlighted how Digital Transformation can better solve the three planetary crisis of climate change, nature degradation, and pollution, and stated that “This conference shows that West Asia is ready for this change. The region can now inspire actions and investments that use digital public goods and technologies to advance climate, nature, and pollution goals. They can build partnerships with public and private sector actors. And we must look beyond borders and regions to get the job done.”

The first session included a high-level panel which brought together the Deputy Minister of Environment, Water, and Agriculture of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia H.E Eng. Mansour Al Mushaiti, and Secretary General of the Higher Education Council of the Kingdom of Bahrain H.E Dr. Sheikha Rana bint Isa Al Khalifa and the Chairman of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan Eng. Dr. Ghazi Al Joboor replacing Minister of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan H.E Mr. Ahmed Al Hanandeh.

The conference showcased innovations shared by the panellists, including monitoring systems from several West Asia countries, such as soil quality monitoring in UAE, air quality monitoring in Qatar, and the shifting towards circular economies in Jordan and Oman.

The conference coordinator, concluded the event on behalf of UNEP’s Representative and Regional Director for West Asia, Mr. Sami Dimassi ,echoing the commitments and efforts by governments, policy makers, strategic partners, and other United Nations agencies to lead their communities to the digital culture within their respective sectors, revealing that the results of the interactive event may be a basis of the Region’s “Digital Transformation Roadmap” and guide for a new sub-programme in the United Nations Environment Programme, which is a Digital Transformation programme.


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