Dubai is the sixth richest country in the world thanks to the boom that followed the discovery of oil deposits in its territory during the midsixties. Since then it has grown at a frenetic pace going from a small settlement to a large city of skyscrapers, luxury and over-the-top works of engineering and architecture, all in less than half a century.
Without a doubt, oil has been the driving force of this growth to the point where many refer to the wealth of the UAE as “petrodollars”. However, Dubai is the emirate with the least amount of oil reserves in the Persian Gulf area, therefor its prosperity was born with an expiration date, something that the royal family and the government have been well aware of since the first moment, which is why after a decade dedicated to creating a robust oil exportation system, in the 1980’s they started to show a grand political effort to diversify their economy.
If changing the economy of a country is an elaborate task, more so is to change the perception that other countries have of Dubai. One bit at a time, the large multinational corporations that are unrelated to the oil sector, are realizing the benefits of establishing their businesses in the emirate, however most of society still relates Dubai to oil and all the negative connotations that come with the sector in a world that’s more aware every day of the importance of abandoning this type of energy sources in favor of others that are cleaner, sustainable and respectful of our planet.
Dubai and the countries of the Persian Gulf are making countless efforts to show the world its best image, efforts which have won it the candidacies for the World Expo 2020, and the soccer world cup of 2022.
With the same objective and the same Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (sheikh of Dubai and vice-president of the UAE) as the main promoter of the event, in April of 2013 Dubai organized the first Global Energy Forum, with the objective of attracting the top representatives of the world’s energy enterprises, as well as scientists and professors to generate a debate platform from which new proposals for the global energetic future could emerge. This will help the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy to fulfill its goal of becoming a 100% ecological city by 2030 and serving as an example and a tool for other countries who may decide to join the proposal and take the same course as the small emirate.
The event was a success with hundreds of companies from a variety of sectors showing a great disposition to debate and listen to proposals, new studies and scientific advances that may contribute in the next decades to mitigate the environmental impact that our presence on the planet has today.
For this exercise we are going to consider that after the success of the first Global Energy Forum, Dubai has decided to turn this into an annual event and wants to give it a fixed venue to ccommodate it in its upcoming editions.
The periodicity of this event will help to strengthen the image of long-term commitment that Dubai has made with the environment, beyond a timely act that may be considered as a media strategy with no real dedication behind it. Dubai has already begun its transformation process but it knows how important it is for its global image not just to become a sustainable city but for the rest of the world to become aware of it too.
For this reason, the new venue for the Global Energy Forum should not only be a practical building that facilitates the development of the event activities, but also represent the change that the Supreme Council of Energy is seeking and should help to spread its message and vision throughout the world. The building must become an icon of global energetic change and a social promise which, far from an abstract ideal, has already begun.