The 6th edition of the International Rain Enhancement Forum (IREF) has kicked off at Konrad Abu Dhabi at Etitah Towers under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Presidential Court, on January 24, 2023. The forum is one of the first of its kind to address pressing water and sustainability issues faced worldwide.
The National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) through the UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science (UAEREP) has organized the program, which takes place from January 24th to 26th, 2023. The event is structured under five strategic pillars: collaboration, innovation, capacity building, artificial intelligence, and applied research.
In a speech delivered on his behalf by Dr. Abdulla Al Mandous, Director-General of NCM, H.E. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed said that the UAE has continued to demonstrate its commitment to adopting innovations as a vital component of the scientific and economic agenda of the government in support of global environmental goals. They have particularly stressed those related to climate change and water security. As the UAE prepares to host key decisions and policymakers at the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP28), the nation has recently launched multiple ambitious initiatives, strategies, and programs that will reinforce the status of the UAE as one of the most committed and active countries to the principles of environmental sustainability.
Sheikh Mansor went on to say that the scientific community’s tireless efforts to improve water security and the sustainability of water resources worldwide deserve everyone’s attention and recognition. These initiatives are commendable given the challenges faced by our environment, scarce water resources, and climate, which top the priority lists on the agendas of local, regional, and international organisations. With the help of this unique forum, the UAE reiterates its full support for the efforts of the scientific community to advance these promising fields and provide a sustainable alternative to restore the groundwater reserves in arid and semi-arid regions of the world.
The UAEREP is a noteworthy example of the aspirations of the UAE to become a global hub for advancing and working for the global security agenda, as evidenced by the achievements made by awardee projects of the program over its past four cycles. As the UAE embarks on a new journey with the program, we must all work together to advance technology, science, and operational aspects of rain enhancement research. To achieve this goal, the UAE is determined to work in close collaboration with top scientific institutions and renowned researchers to find various innovative solutions that will help sustainably enhance water resources at a time of massive urbanization, which poses various challenges and places increasing pressure on limited resources.
Alya Al Mazroui, Director of the UAEREP, delivered her opening speech and announced the call for submissions for the program’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.
The 24th of January was a welcoming day with various sessions on the global climate agenda, water security, and so on. On January 25, a session on scientific advances in rainfall enhancement was held along with panel discussions. Another session on regional and global developments in rainfall enhancement was organized. On the 26th of January, a session on capacity building within the UAE research program for rain enhancement science will be held along with a panel discussion and poster sessions. A session on town hall meetings: an outlook on current research gaps and targeted solutions in rain enhancement research will be held.