UN Secretary-General António Guterres has paid tribute to Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
He expressed his condolences to the Al Nahyan family and to the Government and the people of the UAE during a special memorial session held by the United Nations General Assembly.
While paying his respects, Guterres touched on some of Sheikh Khalifa's quotes and also praised the late leader's generosity.
Today we're comforted by the heartfelt condolences offered to us by the international community—including @antonioguterres & @UN_PGA—as they pay tribute to H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan at @UN.— UAE Mission to the UN (@UAEMissionToUN) May 20, 2022
Their support demonstrates the respect that everyone held for His Highness. pic.twitter.com/EAVgxq42UR
"Building on the foundations laid by his father, he led the United Arab Emirates – with patience and prudence – through a dramatic metamorphosis and out of the arid desert created some of the great metropolises of our world.
"I will always remember the generosity of the Sheikh and the Emirati people towards those in need," said Guterres.
"And while the tremendous wealth of the Emirates sprang from its oil wells, Sheikh Khalifa recognised the imperatives of sustainable development and climate action to protect our planet for future generations," he added, noting that the late president ramped up investments and research into renewable energy to diversify the country’s energy mix and lower its carbon footprint.
"I was awed by my visit to the world’s largest single-site solar power plant – Noor Abu Dhabi – with its over 3 million solar panels stretching across the desert," Guterres stated.
"It was only logical therefore that the International Renewable Energy Agency – the first international organisation focusing exclusively on renewable energy and playing such a vital role supporting countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future – would find its home in Abu Dhabi."
Last year, the United Arab Emirates became the first country in the Middle East to pledge net-zero emissions by 2050.
"And next year, the UAE will host COP28 – further proof of a commitment to help the world advance climate action at the speed and scale our world needs," the UN Secretary-General said.
"At this time of mourning, let us take inspiration from the prudence and patience His Highness demonstrated throughout his life.
"Let us recall his advice that "preparing for the future – near or far – starts today, not tomorrow," he added.
"In that spirit, let us strengthen our partnership with the United Arab Emirates under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
"Let us honour the memory of Sheikh Khalifa.
"And let us build a world of peace, prosperity, and dignity for all," concluded Guterres.