Masdar City at WFES 2024

Apr. 16 to Apr. 18, 2024

ADNEC, Abu Dhabi

We are delighted to invite you to join us at the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) from April 16 - 18, 2024, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC). Our stand, located in Hall 5, will be a 300-square-meter immersive tech showcase where you’ll be able to learn about our innovative industry clusters and the latest developments in climate tech and sustainable urban development. You can also discover how Masdar City Free Zone can elevate your business journey and connect you with thought leaders who are paving the way for a more sustainable future.

We’re also launching our inaugural Future Forward Conference at our stand as part of WFES. Designed to facilitate knowledge exchange and capacity building in sustainable urban transformation, it includes a lineup of more than 40 speakers on topics including electric vehicles, green building design and development, the economics of sustainability, and using AI, bio-tech, agri-tech, and other clean technologies to drive climate change solutions. 

In addition to the Future Forward Conference, we’re co-hosting a two-day event at the WFES Innovation Zone in Hall 2, in partnership with Masdar (Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company), on April 16-17. Called Scaling Climate Tech Innovations, it aims to build on the success of COP28 by continuing important conversations on the role of advancing climate-tech adoption, particularly in the Global South in the run-up to COP29. 

Masdar City WFES Stand Programming Day 1: Designing Cities of the Future

TimeSession Details

11:15 AM – 11:20 AM


Opening address: The city of the future is a place of innovation

Cities that prioritize environmental sustainability alone risk stagnation. Future cities must invest in innovation to remain environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable. This address will highlight Masdar City's investments in energy, transportation, AI, and various advanced technologies to pave the way to a more sustainable future.

Speaker: Ahmed Baghoum, CEO, Masdar City

11:25 AM – 12:15 PM

Designing sustainable cities: How sustainable master planning and infrastructure can support the Paris Agreement

How does master planning drive sustainable living? This series of micro-case studies will demonstrate the potential of urban planning and community infrastructure to create a more sustainable future.

Format: Four eight-minute case studies on Masdar City’s master plan, Masdar Park, the Estidama Mosque, and Masdar City’s electric transportation system, followed by a moderated Q&A with all four speakers.


  • Lukas Sokol, Head of Sustainable Master Planning, Masdar City
  • Sebastien Miller, Public Realm Manager, Masdar City
  • Asha Pawar, Transportation Manager, Masdar City
  • Gaurish Wagle, Sustainable Master Planning Manager, Masdar City 

Moderator: Goffredo Puccetti, Associate Professor, NYU Abu Dhabi

12:30 PM – 1:15 PM

Seminar | Lessons from the Middle East: Using traditional, passive architectural design for sustainable cities

This seminar-style event is designed for industry professionals who are interested in integrating lessons from the past into modern urban design. The seminar leaders will take participants through a case study in Masdar City’s journey with a focus on using passive design to decarbonize the built environment.


  • Chris Wan, Associate Director of Sustainability and CSR, Masdar City
  • Lutz Wilgen, Head of Design Management, Masdar City
2:15 PM – 3:00 PM

Presentation | From commitment to roadmap: A data-driven approach for cities to cut emissions and achieve net-zero

Masdar City has been developing and honing a distinct methodology for designing and creating the most sustainable buildings on the market for more than 15 years. This presentation explores their approach and outlines a data-driven roadmap to achieving net-zero by 2050.

Speaker: Chris Wan, Associate Director of Sustainability and CSR 

3:15 PM – 4:00 PM

Panel | Capacity building in action: Transforming the built environment to make sustainability the norm rather the exception

This session will showcase four unique perspectives on transforming the built environment to increase sustainability, including the economics of sustainable development, low-carbon materials and construction, operations, facilities management, and retrofitting.

Moderator: Alida Saleh, Director, Climate Change, JLL


  • Francisco Galan, Director of Sustainable Development, Masdar City
  • Antoine Ghazal, CEO GCC, Saint-Gobain
  • Pierre Cheyron, Managing Director Africa, Middle East and Asia, ENGIE Energy Solutions
  • Abdullatif Albitawi, Director, EGBC 


Masdar City Programming Day 2: Using AI and clean tech to fight urban climate change

Session Details
10:30 AM – 11:15 AM

Technologies that are fuelling the climate change revolution

This session delves into the groundbreaking technologies driving the climate change revolution across various sectors, including AI-driven solutions that maximize resources, space technologies that monitor environmental changes, and bio-tech advancements that can help reduce waste and mitigate carbon emissions. We'll explore the transformative impact of these technologies as well as current opportunities to apply these technologies within the UAE.

Format: A series of lightning-style presentations (five minutes each) on how AI, space tech, bio-tech, mobility, energy, and agri-tech are driving climate change solutions.

Emcee: Safeya Al Jaafari, Manager of Talent Development, Masdar City 


  • AI: Jay Sadiq, Founder and CEO, FortyGuard
  • Mobility: Steve Severance, Director of Growth, Masdar City
  • Agri-tech: Aline Pate, CoFounder and Product Director, HydroArtPod
11:30 AM – 12:15 PM

How AI and bio-tech are contributing to the sustainability of the human race

AI and biotech are revolutionizing health care through a paradigm shift from treatment to prevention that reduces the burden on both the health care system and the environment. This series of lightning talks from emerging and established bio-tech companies in the UAE will shed light on how data analysis, personalized diagnostics, genome sequencing, and precision therapies are contributing to a more sustainable future.

Format: Lightning talks: Five-minute presentations followed by panel Q&A

Moderator: Mohamed Abdelrazik, Director of Asset Management, Masdar City


  • Alia Abdelrazeq, COO, CellSave by ADSCC
  • Kambiz Shekdar, CEO, Second Cell Bio
  • Alex Zhavoronkov CEO, Insilico Medicine
1:15 PM – 1:45 PM

Debate | Are electric vehicles the future?

Delve into a powerful debate on whether electric vehicles (EVs) are poised to dominate the future of transportation. Advocates argue that EVs offer a cleaner, greener alternative to conventional vehicles, reducing carbon emissions and dependence on fossil fuels. Critics raise concerns about infrastructure limitations, battery technology, and environmental impacts of manufacturing.


  • Steve Severance, Director of Growth, Masdar City
  • Lutz Wilgen, Head of Design Management, Masdar City
2:00 PM – 2:30 PM

Presentation | The rise of smart mobility in the UAE

Transportation has always been an integral part of livable cities. Join us as we explore the role of master planning and smart technologies in transportation of the future. This presentation will demonstrate that sustainable transportation is future-oriented, people-centered, and technology-enabled, and trace the rise of smart, electric, autonomous transportation in the UAE.

Speaker: Asha Pawar, Transportation Manager, Masdar City

3:30 PM – 4:00 PM

Fireside Chat | Cultivating resilience: Scaling agri-tech solutions for Middle East food security

Two Abu-Dhabi-based agri-tech start-ups will discuss the barriers, opportunities, and solutions to bridging the gap between emerging agri-tech start-up to national solution for food security.


  • Nadine Benchaffai, Director, DANA Venture Builder
  • Ahmad Hammoud, Head of Operations, Alesca Agricultural Technologies


Masdar City Programming Day 3: The role of industry and innovation in cities of the future

TimeSession Details
10:30 AM – 11:15 AM

Panel | Laying the foundation for an ecosystem that powers tech innovation

This session explores the key elements necessary for cultivating an ecosystem that drives tech innovation. From fostering collaboration to investing in infrastructure and talent, our experts will discuss how to create environments that are conducive to technological breakthroughs.

Moderator: Nermeen Negm, Head of Marketing and Communications, Masdar City


  • Amier Alawadhi, Director, Masdar City Free Zone
  • Paul Patterson, Founder, Elevation Sustainable Building Solutions
  • Hani Abu-Ghazaleh, CEO, Mental
  • Zain Tarwaneh, Climate Tech Lead, Hub71
  • Roula Chehab, Industry Lead for Telco, Media, Retail, Energy and Manufacturing, Microsoft
1:15 PM – 2:00 PM

Presentation | Sustainability as a business driver

There is a common misconception that sustainability is expensive. This case study of Masdar City’s business journey will demonstrate that sustainability is a value-add rather than a premium most companies can’t afford.

Speaker: Steve Severance, Director of Growth, Masdar City

3:15 PM – 4:00 PM

Panel | The role of solar in future Middle Eastern cities

How big of a role will solar PV panels play in the future urban energy mix? Should all buildings feature on-site solar panels? Should they be centralized or distributed? What about pricing and regulation?

Moderator: Steve Severance, Director of Growth, Masdar City


  • Michel Abi Saab, General Manager, Emerge Energy Services
  • Alice Cowman, CEO, Enerwhere


The Innovation Zone Program:

Day 1: Scaling Climate Tech Innovations in the Global South - April 16

Building on COP28's momentum, the Innovation Zone Day 1 focuses on advancing climate-tech adoption in the Global South towards COP29. This event unites the global climate tech community to address key challenges:

  • Collaboration: The conference promotes South-South collaboration, crucial for developing countries facing similar climate challenges and funding limitations.
  • Climate Tech Financing: Addressing the limited access to climate finance faced by the Global South, the event explores challenges and opportunities for increased investment.
  • Capacity Building: Recognizing the need for capacity building, the conference tackles bottlenecks and proposes solutions to empower existing and emerging climate-tech ecosystems.


TimeSession Details
10:30 AM - 10:35 AM 

Welcome remarks

Ahmed Baghoum, CEO, Masdar City


10:35 AM - 10:40 AM

Opening Address | A call to action for climate innovation and collaboration in the Global South

10:40 AM - 11:20 AM

Panel | Building supportive ecosystems to catalyze South-South cooperation for climate innovation 

Creating supportive ecosystems for South-South cooperation on climate technology is vital for developing countries facing climate challenges. It is the pathway to cost-effective, tailored solutions, knowledge transfer, and capacity building. It will also help address both mitigation and adaptation needs, contribute to global climate goals, foster diplomacy, and open trade opportunities among nations. In this panel discussion, diverse organizations focused on South-South collaboration will share their experience with scaling green technology. Panelists will explore strategies for South-South cooperation in deploying and scaling innovative climate technologies for just transitions.

Moderator: Suleiman Amin, Managing Director, The Catalyst


  • Nalin Agarwal, Founding Partner, Climate Collective
  • Andrew Chang, Program Director, New Energy Nexus
11:20 AM - 11:45 AM

In Conversation | Building resilient financial ecosystems for climate innovation

In the pursuit of combating climate change, fostering innovation in climate technology is crucial. However, one of the significant challenges to the success of climate-tech startups in the Global South is the lack of accessible financing. This session delves into the imperative task of constructing resilient financial ecosystems that effectively support climate innovation initiatives. How can financial ecosystems be structured to bolster climate innovation? What roles do local banks, venture capital firms, and impact investors play in driving innovation in the climate tech sector? What strategies can be employed to enhance collaboration and coordination among various stakeholders within the financial ecosystem?

Moderator: Gabrielle Inzirillo, Head of Ecosystem Development, ADGM


  • Jared Haddon, Senior Director of Middle East and Eastern Europe, Tony Blair Institute
11:45 AM - 12:20 PM

Panel | Demystifying the climate capital stack

One of the biggest challenges facing climate-tech startups in the Global South is access to financing. Tailored interventions require a clear understanding of the various kinds of financing that exist within the capital stack, as well as where climate-tech start-ups, particularly in the Global South, face the greatest barriers.  This session will explore the climate finance ecosystem, the spectrum of funding instruments, and progress in achieving inclusivity in climate funding.

Moderator: Danny Touma, Partner, PwC


  • James Socas, Managing Director & Head of the Climate Solutions business, Investcorp
  • Sonia Weymuller, Co-Founder and General Partner, VentureSouq
  • Christina Borsum, Chief Financial Officer, New Energy Nexus
  • Mohamed Al Binali, Value Creation – Capital Ecosystem, HUB71
12:20 PM - 1:30 PM

Panel | Women leaders shaping climate tech innovation in the Global South

Join us for an engaging panel discussion featuring trailblazing women startup founders and venture capitalists (VCs) who are driving significant change in the Climate Tech landscape across the Global South. Explore their journeys, insights, and the transformative impact of their initiatives, from pioneering renewable energy solutions to implementing nature-based approaches. Get inspired as they share their experiences, challenges, and strategies for driving sustainable innovation in their communities.

Moderator: Elena Siegel, Partner, Kearney; Sitting Member, Global Council for SDG5 5


  • Meenakshi Vashist, Founder and CEO, TekUncorked
  • Caroline Slootweg, Co-Founder, Kelp Blue - ZSP Prize Winner – COP28
  • Lola Fernandez Flores, Principal, VentureSouq
1:30 PM - 2:00 PM

Masterclass | Investing in clean tech

This in-person masterclass is for investors interested in early-stage climate tech startups and will cover topics such as fundamentals of the climate tech investment landscape, current trends, and the outlook for specific sub-domains. Whether you’re an investor, an entrepreneur, or simply curious about the future of clean technologies, this session will equip you with actionable insights to navigate this dynamic landscape.

  • Nalin Agarwal, Founding Partner, Climate Collective
2:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Masterclass | Navigating to net-zero

“The Net Zero Navigator,” is an interactive AI-driven digital platform aimed at catalyzing collective progress by bringing stakeholders together to support its strategic priorities. ADSW will host a working session to engage participants with the ADSW Net Zero Navigator tool.

  • Valerie Peyre, Director – Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, Masdar
  • Dr. Thomas Philbeck, Managing Director, SWIFT Partners
2:30 PM - 4:00 PM   

Solution Talks | Local solutions for global climate challenges

Join us for session where thought innovators share their climate concepts and cutting-edge technologies tackling critical climate challenges. These innovations have been tested and refined in diverse contexts across emerging economies. In a series of rapid-fire lightning talks, these innovators will share their unique approaches to addressing global climate issues at the local level. From grassroots energy solutions from Nairobi to a circular economy startup from Bangalore, these talks promise fresh perspectives and actionable ideas.

  • Ryan Lefers, Co-founder and CEO, Iyris
  • Dr. Susan Graham, CEO, Dendra Systems

Day 2: The UAE – A Global Climate Tech Hub - April 17


12:20-12:40 PM

Presentation | The rise of smart mobility in the UAE

Transportation has always been an integral part of livable cities. Join us as we explore the role of master planning and smart technologies in transportation of the future. This presentation will demonstrate that sustainable transportation is future-oriented, people-centered, and technology-enabled, and trace the rise of smart, electric, autonomous transportation in the UAE.

Speaker: Asha Pawar, Transportation Manager, Masdar City

2:00 PM -2:30 PM

Panel | From desert to dinner plate: Soonicorns building food security in arid regions

As arid regions continue working to enhance their food security, startups play a pivotal role in bridging gaps in the agricultural value chain. Who are the agri-tech soonicorns that are transforming barren landscapes into productive farmlands? What innovative strategies are they employing to conserve precious water resources, enrich soil fertility, and boost crop yields? What financing models and policies do they recommend to foster the growth and scalability of agri-tech startups in the MENA region? How are MENA food and agri-tech innovators harnessing technology to strike a balance between sustainability and profitability in agriculture?

Moderator: Sebastien Miller, Manager of Public Realm, Masdar City


  • Khuloud Al Nuwais, Chief Sustainability Officer, Emirates Foundation; Secretary General for Ne’ma
  • Sky Kurtz, CEO, Pure Harvest
  • Ghita Bahmad, CEO, The Food Engineer
  • Ahmad Hammoud, Alesca Agricultural Technologies
  • Nadine Benchaffai, Director, DANA Venture Builder 
3:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Panel | Bio-inspired solutions for climate resilience

This panel will highlight success stories from biotech startups in the MENA region. It will explore how life sciences can provide innovative solutions for climate challenges and discuss innovations in biomimicry, bioengineering, and nature-based approaches.

Moderator: Mohammed Abdelrazik, Director, Asset Management, Masdar City


  • Alex Zhavoronkov, CEO, Insilico Medicine
  • Alia Abdel-Razeq, COO, CellSave by ADSCC
  • Dr. Kambiz Shekdar, CEO, Secondcell Bio
3:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Lightning Talks| Climate Tech Founders Unplugged: Stories of Resilience

Join us for an inspiring and candid closing session where startup founders share their climate tech journeys, complete with twists, turns, and lessons learned. From initial setbacks to breakthrough moments, these entrepreneurs will reveal the behind-the-scenes stories of building their ventures in the UAE. Discover how they navigated challenges, pivoted strategies, and stayed committed to their mission of driving positive climate impact. Whether you’re an aspiring founder or an industry veteran, this session promises valuable insights, relatable experiences, and a renewed sense of purpose.

Emcee: Amy Robertson, Communications Manager, Masdar City 

  • Jane Glavan, CEO, Distant Imagery
  • Vivek Tripathu, CEO, Olive Gaea 
  • Vikram Krishna, CEO, The Sacred Groves
  • Alexei Levene, Founder, Desolenator  



join our

Stay tuned and get to know the latest from Masdar City