Beyond2020, the UAE-driven humanitarian initiative, has installed water filters in 25 communities in the Sabah and Sarawak regions of Malaysia, providing clean drinking water to 10,000 people.
Beyond2020 was launched by the Zayed Sustainability Prize in 2019 in partnership with several leading organisations with the aim of furthering the humanitarian legacy of the UAE’s Founding Father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, by providing sustainable technologies and solutions to vulnerable communities around the world. Malaysia marks the 17th deployment of the initiative, which will continue to offer life-transforming interventions to a broader number of beneficiaries worldwide, providing tech for good and fostering development that is inclusive and sustainable.
Commenting on the installation in Malaysia, H.E. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, Director General of the Zayed Sustainability Prize, and COP28 President-Designate, said, “The latest Beyond2020 project in Malaysia reflects the UAE’s commitment to humanitarianism and international sustainable development. Increasing climate impacts are undermining water security and affecting lives and livelihoods in many regions of the world, particularly across the Global South. As the UAE prepares to welcome the world at COP28, this project highlights the critical link between water and climate change and emphasises the potential for water innovations to uplift communities, and promote economic prosperity.
This deployment contributes significantly to Malaysia’s ongoing efforts to enhance access to reliable, clean water. We value the cooperation of Malaysia’s Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change in implementing this initiative, which underscores the deep-rooted ties between our two countries.”
H.E. Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, Minister of Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change, said: “Providing safe drinking water is a top priority for Malaysia, a country that has made significant strides in improving its water and sanitation systems over the past decade. The UAE’s Beyond2020 initiative, which has delivered safe drinking water to 10,000 Malaysians, showcases how innovative solutions can tackle our water challenges, particularly in the rural areas. We recognise the importance of extending these benefits to all segments of society, empowering every individual to lead healthier, more productive lives.”
The communities impacted by the recently deployed environmentally friendly water filters are located in the Sabah and Sarawak regions of Malaysia, along the Rajang River. The people there have traditionally relied on surface water from the river for drinking and subsistence. Without the proper technology and systems to treat the water, however, villagers often experienced health issues. Children regularly suffered from diarrhea and dysentery, indicating the likelihood of waterborne parasites in the drinking water.
Water interventions are necessary to ensure that vulnerable populations, particularly children, women and the elderly, have access to clean drinking water.
Mansoor Mohamed Al Hamed, Chief Executive Officer, Mubadala Energy, said: “Investing in people and the communities we serve has always been at the heart of our mission. The latest Beyond2020 deployment in Malaysia exemplifies our dedication to humanitarianism and to deploying innovations aimed at relieving hardships faced by vulnerable communities. I am proud of this achievement, which fulfills the critical imperative to provide clean water to those in need through our community investment projects.”
In partnership with Wateroam – a social enterprise that specialises in designing simple, portable, durable, and affordable water filtration systems catered specifically for disaster relief and rural development, and the 2022 Zayed Sustainability Prize winner in the Water category – Beyond2020 deployed water filtration solutions, providing the communities with access to clean and safe drinking water.
As the sizes of communities differ between varying regions along the river, Wateroam provided two different water filters, catering to the specific needs of each group – the CommfilterTM Plus and ROAMfilterTM Ultra.
Both filters can remove over 99% of bacteria and viruses, but the CommfilterTM Plus provides safe drinking water for households and communities, while the ROAMfilterTM Ultra is designed to serve larger communities with its high flow rate. The filters utilise natural gravity flows or low wattage pumps, requiring little to no electricity to operate. They are easy to set-up and maintain, making it sustainable for locals to manage and use in the long-term.
Malaysia is rich in water resources, but in recent years, water supplies have been under pressure due to a combination of population growth, urbanisation, industrialisation and the expansion of irrigated agriculture. The deployment of environmentally friendly filters that enable communities to meet their water needs sustainably supports the realisation of Malaysia’s national water vision.
Beyond2020 brings together a leading number of partners which include Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, BNP Paribas, Mubadala Energy and Masdar.
As part of the initiative’s impact to-date, a total of 17 deployments have been rolled out, including energy, health, water and food-related solutions, transforming the lives of over 221,800 people in the following countries: Nepal, Tanzania, Uganda, Jordan, Egypt, Cambodia, Madagascar, Indonesia, Bangladesh, The Philippines, Rwanda, Peru, Lebanon, Sudan, Ethiopia, and Vietnam. In addition to Malaysia, another 3 countries have been identified as deployment grounds going forward.