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Focus on business and climate challenges 

His Royal Highness The Crown Prince spoke on the topic of development and dignity at Zayed University today. He was also briefed on the pioneering Masdar project, targeted to become the world’s first carbon-neutral, waste-free city.


The Crown Prince arrived in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Monday evening, following a busy schedule of activities in Qatar. Norway has had an embassy in the UAE since 1994, but this is the first time that a member of the Royal Family has paid an official visit to the country. The visit signals the increasing importance of the UAE to Norway as a partner in trade and other cooperative efforts. Roughly 1,200 Norwegian nationals currently reside in the UAE.

Founded in 1971, the UAE consists of seven emirates, each of which has a high degree of autonomy. Abu Dhabi, the largest emirate, has a history dating back 7,000 years. Abu Dhabi is undergoing a major expansion and is focusing its efforts on culture and tourism in addition to petroleum activities and renewable energy.

Spoke at Zayed University

The day’s activities began at Zayed University, where Crown Prince Haakon gave a presentation entitled “Development and Dignity” for 300 students.

Zayed University was founded in 1998, and is primarily a women’s university although the campus in Abu Dhabi also has male students. The university is comprised of five colleges: Arts and Sciences; Business Sciences; Communication and Media Sciences; Education; and Information Technology.

Business and climate challenges

Norway and the United Arab Emirates share many common interests in the area of oil and gas, and following his presentation, the Crown Prince participated in the opening of a seminar entitled “Norway as a technology partner in the maritime oil and gas sector”.

The visit by the Crown Prince is part of the overall effort to enhance economic and political relations between the UAE and Norway, as Crown Prince Haakon emphasised in his speech at the seminar:

We have come with the ambition to further expand relations between UAE and Norway by engaging in a broader dialogue comprising both political issues and stronger commercial ties.”

The Crown Prince also stressed the UAE’s active role in efforts to find global solutions to climate challenges, noting the Masdar project in particular:

Being very concerned about how we as petroleum-producing countries should address the climate challenge, I find that the UAE has taken a lead by launching the Masdar project. I look forward to receiving more information on this groundbreaking project later today. I can assure you that Norway will work with the UAE on the climate agenda and the renewable energy agenda.

Crown Prince Haakon was given a briefing on the Masdar project in the afternoon.

Masdar City

“Masdar” is the Arabic word for ”source”, and through the Masdar project Abu Dhabi aims to build the world’s first carbon-neutral, waste-free city. The project focuses on various forms of clean energy and waste recycling, and the goal is for the city to become a hub for research and development in the field of renewable energy and sustainable technology.

Ultimately, Masdar City is expected to be home to a population of 40,000 and serve as the workplace for an additional 50,000 people. About 1,500 companies will be located there, most of which will be involved in the sale and production of environment-friendly products.

The project was launched in 2006 and is headed by Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company.

Top-level meetings

During the course of the day, the Crown Prince took part in meetings and discussions with Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubark Al Nahyan. A large, top-level meeting of key delegates was also held in the afternoon. A main focus of the talks was enhancing political and economic relations between the two countries.

The Crown Prince’s visit to Abu Dhabi concluded Tuesday evening with a gala banquet.

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