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Young Arabs Tackle Climate Change at Arab Youth Hackathon

posted on: Aug 23, 2023

Young Arabs Tackle Climate Change at Arab Youth Hackathon
Arab Youth Hackathon announcement. Credit: Arab Youth Hackathon.

By: Maryem Bouatlaoui / Arab America Contributing Writer

Recognizing the potential of the Arab youth, the United Arab Emirates has launched the Arab Youth Hackathon. This event will encapsulate the spirit of innovation, collaboration, and skill development in efforts to combat climate change.

The Arab Youth Hackathon

Young Arabs Tackle Climate Change at Arab Youth Hackathon
Arab Youth Center logo. Credit: Arab Youth Center.

Established in the UAE by Vice President Sheikh Mansour, the Arab Youth Center is a multidisciplinary organization that aims to empower and mobilize young Arabs in the Middle East. The center serves as a platform for young individuals to pursue their interests and capabilities in various sectors. The UAE also hopes that the Arab Youth Center can provide the youth of the nation with a voice for their thoughts and opinions on national policymaking. The center hosts cultural engagement events, conducts research and development in various sectors, and launches pertinent projects and initiatives. 

One of the Arab Youth Center’s most eminent initiatives is its Arab Youth Hackathon. The Arab Youth Center, in collaboration with PepsiCo and Plug and Play, launched a Middle East regional hackathon for young individuals with innovative ideas and solutions for pressing climate change issues. The three-day hackathon will be taking place in Egypt, the UAE, Jordan, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia from November 3 to November 5. Young innovators will be able to showcase their knowledge and expertise in climate change as it pertains to deforestation, waste management, water scarcity, and marine life. 

Three winners will be selected to present their projects at the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai and awarded grand cash prizes from the PepsiCo Foundation as well as incubation support from Plug and Play.

Youth Innovation in the UAE

Young Arabs Tackle Climate Change at Arab Youth Hackathon
UAE Youth Climate Delegates 2023 cohort. Credit: Zawya.

Youth innovation in technology in climate change has been increasing in the UAE. This is due to the initiation of youth-oriented organizations such as the Arab Youth Center and the Arab Youth Hackathon. In addition to the Arab Youth Center, the UAE also established the UAE Youth Climate Delegates Program (YCDP). Developed by the UAE government, the YCDP supports “youth empowerment and dialogue to advance inclusive, ambitious climate action.” Selected delegates have the opportunity to engage in talks about climate change policy, contribute in the COP28 negotiations, and immerse in public and private sector projects. 

The UAE’s Fight Against Climate Change

The UAE’s dedication to fighting climate change dates back to the Paris Climate Agreement in which the UAE was the first country in the MENA region to ratify the agreement and commit to lowering gas emissions. The UAE has since taken stringent action to combat climate change via decarbonizing its oil and gas sector, increasing renewable energy usage, and transitioning its agricultural systems.

UAE progress towards net zero emissions. Credit: Economist Intelligence.

Currently, the UAE plans to invest over $54 billion in renewable energy over the next seven years in an effort to reach net zero emissions by 2050. According to Politico, this investment “would be one of the largest ever state-sponsored financial efforts to help countries fight climate change.”  

What’s Next for the UAE Climate Combat?

The youth in the UAE are playing a pivotal role in combating climate change through innovation, education, activism, entrepreneurship, and community engagement. Their passion, determination, and forward-thinking approach are shaping a greener and more sustainable future for the UAE and inspiring change on a global scale. As these young leaders continue to raise their voices and take action, they serve as a beacon of hope for generations to come.

The Arab Youth Hackathon will be held from November 3rd to November 5th, 2023, a few weeks before the COP28, which will take place on November 28th, 2023. The world awaits the ingenuity that shall be unleashed by the Arab youth.

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