Getting ready for OiME 2020 Launch – Q&A with Firas Abou Ltaif, Event Manager, Reed Exhibitions Middle East
The world’s oceans are among its most precious resources, both in terms of supporting its populations and economies, and more generally ensuring its long-term survival. With many of the more damaging effects of climate change already manifesting across different parts of the world, restoring the health of our oceans is of paramount importance. To discuss the upcoming Oceanology International Middle East 2020 inaugural event and its impact on the Indian Ocean Blue Economy, we sat down with Firas Abou Ltaif, Event Manager, Reed Exhibitions Middle East.
OiME: The oceans are essential for supporting the lives and livelihoods of all human life. In a nutshell, how is the launch of OiME this year going to support the restoration and sustainable development of our oceans?
Firas Abou Ltaif: The only way to ensure that humans can commit to treating our world’s oceans sustainably is by working together. That’s what OiME is all about. We want to provide a regional platform where business leaders, high-level government representatives and respected academics from the marine technology and ocean science industries can come together to share their knowledge, network, establish business relationships and discuss how to improve their shared strategies for measuring, protecting, developing and operating in the oceans.
OiME: Why is this event being hosted in the UAE? What advantages does that bring to the proceedings?
Firas Abou Ltaif: The UAE has shown in recent years that it is pioneering a path towards long-term sustainable development and concurrent protection of the world’s oceans. Between its formal, government-supported strategies and dynamic private sector innovators, the UAE is fast becoming one of the world’s most proactive protectors of the oceans. Moreover, the UAE is famed for being a hub where the world’s most forward-thinking leaders in business, government and academia come together and forge vital working relationships.
OiME: And what do you think will be the long-term outcome of these relationships? What are the potential benefits that are predicted to come out of OiME and future efforts to restore our oceans?
Firas Abou Ltaif: Both the UAE the many countries it partners with recognise the importance, scale and urgency of this task. We can already see how many governments are putting forward some very impactive legislation to protect marine environments and focus on sustainable development. For example, the UAE ranked 1st in the marine protected areas (12.21%) in a global Environmental Performance Index (EPI) in 2018, and has released a raft of regulations promoting sustainable fisheries in recent years.
By working with governmental, academic and business leaders from across the region and the world, I think we’re going to quickly see sustainable development opportunities blossom in the UAE and elsewhere. The UAE maritime sector alone represents 30-35% of the regional industry’s annual investment at $65 billion.
Alongside economic growth, we’re also going to see the rapid promotion and development of vital sustainability-based technologies. With greater investment and focus being directed in this direction, we should see significant development of emerging technologies associated with algae biofuels, offshore wind and solar farms, ocean depollution, water desalination and much more. This is of global importance and, more pointedly, global benefit.
OiME: Reed Exhibitions runs Oi event editions in the UK, North America and China. What is going to make the Middle East edition distinct from these established events?
Firas Abou Ltaif: What will make the ME edition special is the highly targeted nature of the audience it will attract. The Middle East is a natural hub for the oil and gas community, who are already vital partners in building a more sustainable future for our oceans. At the same time, leading ME nations are experiencing a surge of demand for ocean research, underwater vehicles and marine and survey vessels, as well as growing investments in aquaculture and marine renewables.
The event itself will not only serve as a premier networking platform but it will also provide attendees with access to live demonstrations of cutting-edge technological innovations that are highly sought after by oil and gas decision makers.
Another area that distinguishes this event from its other counterparts is the active collaboration between the organisers, government supporters and key industry stakeholders. Its patron and most respected supporter is His Excellency Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, who recently wrote:
"The need to save our oceans has never been more critical. Given this priority, exploring the wide range of benefits that the sustainable use of marine resources offers is now an imperative. The launch of Oceanology International Middle East in Abu Dhabi reaffirms the UAE’s steadfast commitment to marine conservation, and the country’s globally acclaimed role as a convener of key players in the field to step up the pace and scale of ocean protection."
OiME: What kinds of technological innovations and solutions can attendees expect to encounter in this inaugural edition
Firas Abou Ltaif: So much of what we want to achieve in sustainable ocean development requires the use of robotic power and intelligence melded with that of humans. We’re aiming to create a robot revolution and promote the use of more advanced technologies that not only give their users better ROI, but also make a tangibly positive impact on combating combat climate change. So, everyone at OiME 2020 can look forward to seeing a combination of global brands and innovative startups unveil world-changing technological marvels that will drive the digital transformation of key industries through robotics, Ai, IoT and other crucial emerging technologies.
Join us for Reed Exhibitions’ inaugural edition of Oceanology International Middle East on 7-9 September 2020
After replicating the success of the original Oceanology International UK event in the Americas and China, the Middle Eastern edition is set to be another essential platform for supporting a future of Earth’s oceans that is characterised by sustainable development, protection of vital marine environments, and reliable operations that generate viable ROI.
Under the patronage and guidance of the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, OiME 2020 is expected to attract over 150 exhibitors and more than 2,000 visitors from 20+ countries. Every attendee can take advantage of our celebrated Business Connect Programme, which offers a range of free networking services aimed at facilitating highly relevant and mutually beneficial business connections between visitors, buyers and exhibitors.