ABU DHABI, 24th January, 2023 (WAM) — Under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Presidential Court, the sixth edition of the International Rain Enhancement Forum (IREF) kicked off at Conrad Abu Dhabi at Etihad Towers. The forum is the first-of-its-kind event to tackle pressing water and sustainability issues worldwide.
The event is organised by the National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) through the UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science (UAEREP) and takes place from 24th to 26th January, 2023. It is structured around five strategic pillars: Collaborations, Innovation, Capacity Building, Artificial Intelligence, and Applied Research.
H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed in a speech delivered on his behalf by Dr. Abdulla Al Mandous, Director-General of NCM, said, “The UAE continues to deliver on its commitment to adopting innovation as a core component of its government’s scientific and economic agenda in support of global environmental goals, particularly those related to climate change and water security. As our country prepares to host key decision and policymakers at the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP28), we have recently launched several ambitious initiatives, programmes and strategies that will reinforce the UAE’s status as one of the most active and committed countries to the principles of environmental sustainability.
“The relentless efforts of the scientific community to bolster water security and enhance the sustainability of water resources worldwide deserve everyone’s appreciation and recognition, given the growing challenges facing our environment, climate and scarce water resources, which top the priorities of global, regional and local agendas. Through this unique international forum dedicated to rain enhancement sciences, we reiterate our full support for the efforts of the scientific community to advance this promising field and provide a sustainable alternative to replenish the groundwater reserves in arid and semi-arid regions worldwide.
“The UAEREP is a noteworthy example of the UAE’s aspirations to become a global hub for advancing the global water security agenda, as evidenced by the achievements made by the programme’s awardee projects over its past four cycles. As we embark on a new phase of the programme’s journey, the advancement of science, technology, and operational aspects of rain enhancement research has become our collective responsibility. To achieve this goal, we are determined to work closely with top scientific institutions and renowned researchers and enable them to find innovative solutions that sustainably enhance our water resources at a time of massive urbanisation that poses various challenges and places increasing pressure on our limited resources.
“I wish everyone a successful participation in the forum and look forward to a productive outcome that will reflect positively on the future of this promising field. This will help us achieve our shared goal of utilising scientific research for the benefit of humanity,” Sheikh Mansour added.
With strong participation from leading international and national experts, researchers and scientists in water security, water sustainability and weather modification, IREF seeks to solidify its status as a global platform for exploring key topics related to water sustainability and rain enhancement research.
In its latest edition, the event has drawn the participation of 46 speakers and panellists from 18 countries worldwide, including Prof. Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) who delivered the opening speech and Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment, who addressed the event through her video-recorded remarks.
Dr. Al Mandous said, “I am honoured to deliver IREF’s opening speech on behalf of Sheikh Mansour. I want to extend my sincere gratitude to him for his generous patronage of this specialised international event and his continued support for the NCM and UAEREP. This has allowed us to continually advance the science and technology of rain enhancement locally and globally and to increase the effectiveness of our rain enhancement operations in the UAE”
Al Mandous added, “The sixth edition of the International Rain Enhancement Forum serves as an important platform offered by the UAE to the world to achieve the security and sustainability of water supplies and to tackle the challenges of climate change. As the preparation for COP28 is in full swing, we are keen to be part of this momentum by exploring innovative rain enhancement solutions and finding ways to accelerate the transition from research to real applications. The ‘Emirates Weather Enhancement Factory’ is a perfect example of such applications.”
Delivering her opening remarks, Alya Al Mazroui, Director of the UAEREP, announced the call for submissions for the programme’s 5th Cycle, which offers a grant of up to US$1.5 Million (AED5.511 million), distributed over three years, for each winning research proposal. In its 5th Cycle, the programme welcomes innovative research proposals focussing on two high-priority areas: enhancing cloud formation and rain enhancement.