Tadhg O’Donovan, Associate Head of EPS in Dubai, participates in panel with leading conservationist and scientist Dr. Jane Goodall



World renowned conservationist and leading scientist Dr. Jane Goodall and Professor Tadhg O’Donovan, Associate Head of the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Heriot-Watt University Dubai, partook in a discussion on sustainability and efforts to combat climate change, alongside other notable industry experts from the UAE.

Professor O’Donovan took part in a panel discussion along with world renowned British primatologist and anthropologist Dr. Jane Goodall, HE Ghanim Mubarak Al Hajeri, Director-General of Al Ain Zoo and Ameera Amir, the founder of Lahum, the UAE’s first sustainable fashion store.

Professor O’Donovan said: “It was a fantastic experience to share a platform with Dr. Jane Goodall and to discuss the way sustainable energy plays a key role in enabling economic progress and a high quality of life. Sustainability has been raised as an issue globally with high levels of human consumption patterns and resource scarcity. According to the United Nations Water Report, 3.6 billion of the global population live in potentially water-stressed areas, and this is expected to reach 4.8 – 5.7 billion by 2050. There is a serious concern that, without early action towards a sustainable future, the consequences could be devastating. Collaborating with prominent leading experts where we can commit to working together in order to address these issues is central to accelerating sustainable development and making a difference. Dr. Goodall has been a prominent figure in driving sustainable efforts and is an inspiration to so many.”

This panel discussion addressed key themes identified for debate at Dubai’s Expo 2020 UK Pavilion, such as sustainability, climate change and wildlife crime. Given that Dr. Jane Goodall has committed to a lifetime of work in and around these themes, this event offered the audience a chance to hear the views of experts as a stimulating pre-Expo activity. The panel discussion was a precursor to the conversation which will be continued in the UK Pavilion at Expo 2020 which kicks off in October this year.

Dr. Jane Goodall also answered questions and shared more details about her programme Roots & Shoots which is available in the UAE since 2014. The Roots & Shoots programme is a powerful, youth-driven network that fosters a fun, flexible and supportive environment for young people across the globe to come together to share ideas and inspiration, implement successful community service projects and participate in special events and international campaigns to help drive positive change for communities, animals and the environment.

Professor O’Donovan joined the panel discussion to provide insight on sustainable issues faced in the UAE. In addition, the discussion highlighted various roles society has in preserving ecosystems, by supporting conservation efforts and taking steps to decrease carbon footprints as well as educating future generations. Most importantly, it was discussed that communities must work to overcome significant obstacles in order to save oceans, forests and wildlife for an ecofriendly future. 

Sophia Brecknell, Deputy Ambassador at the British Embassy in Abu Dhabi, opened the panel discussion. The participants in this event offered leading and expert debates based on sustainability and the drive in this area which will be demonstrated at the UK Pavilion.