Abu Dhabi is hosting the sixth annual World Ocean Summit this week, drawing attention to the efforts the small Gulf emirate is making to combat climate change and the growing threat it poses to the region.
It's the first time the event, part of the Economist Group's World Ocean Initiative, is being hosted in the Middle East, a region known more for its fossil fuel industry than its environmental advocacy.
Thani Al Zeyoudi, the United Arab Emirates' minister of climate change and environment, wants to change that image. He's lauded the event as proof that his country, and the wider Gulf region, can play a leading role in combating threats to the world's seas.
"We're sending a message to the region and the world that the ocean has been and will continue always to be an integral part of our economy and our society," he told CNBC's Dan Murphy Tuesday, emphasizing the event's theme of "building bridges."
"Governments cannot do it alone, NGOs (non-governmental organization) cannot do it alone. We have to work together and we have to bring the private sector on board with us."