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31st National Day Statement by Hamdan bin Zayed

posted on 02/12/2002: 1674 views

The UAE Federation, under the wise leadership of the President HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and their Highnesses the Supreme Council Members and Rulers of the Emirates, has made tremendous achievements in the field of environmental conservation. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Deputy Chairman of the Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency (ERWDA), stressed the importance of coordination and cooperation between various organizations to achieve a surge in the promotion of environmental work.

In a statement to mark the occasion of the country's 31st National Day, Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, confirmed that the UAE has proudly accomplished a great deal in many fields over the last three decades, positioning it alongside the more advanced countries, thanks to HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan's tireless efforts. The President's efforts ensured the continuous advancement of the UAE, where its citizens enjoy the goodness, prosperity and stability available to them.

Moreover, Sheikh Hamdan stated that since the UAE's establishment on December 2, 1971, the efforts put forth by HH Sheikh Zayed and Their Highnesses the Supreme Council Members and Rulers of the Emirates, have led to the UAE Federation reaching undreamed of results in a short amount of time. This is evident in the country's comprehensive development in social, commercial, health, educational, economical and environmental aspects.

Sheikh Hamdan added that the Federation's efforts of building a modern state are due to a keen interest in continuing to preserve the environment, which is in its self an outstanding achievement the present and future generation can be proud of. HH Sheikh Zayed has set a strong foundation for preserving the environment built upon his far-sighted vision of maintaining a balance between sustainable development and ecology in order to guarantee a clean, healthy and safe environment for the future.

Sheikh Hamdan also noted that the UAE is renowned for its dedication to the conservation of the environment and wildlife, with the UAE having unprecedented environmental programmes that meet the needs of various environmental issues. In line with this, relevant organizations have been formed, environmental laws have been set in place and steps have been taken to promote environmental understanding.

The UAE has also contributed positively to regional and international environmental agreements. Despite the positive steps taken, there still remain many environmental threats to overcome within the following years. A strategy is essential as is a detailed plan for future work on the national, regional and international level.

Sheikh Hamdan added that cooperation among the relevant environmental organizations is the key to working toward environmental protection and wildlife management, restoring the ecological balance and making certain that resources are used in a sustainable manner. Strong cooperation can be achieved within the working groups when clear strategies and goals are set for the improvement of environmental protection and management and the promotion of environmental awareness.

Since ERWDA was established, many of its efforts have been in developing and implementing programmes to protect natural resources and wildlife and to coordinate the efforts of environmental agencies in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi as well as the UAE. These achievements come under the guidance of HH Sheikh Zayed and are in line with his call for partnerships with concerned environmental organizations and his unwavering faith in the power of environmental work.

A five-year environmental strategy for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi was developed after deliberations with all parties concerned with environment and wildlife issues in the Emirate. Its purpose is to identify a direction and set the priorities of the environmental action that addresses the true needs of the Emirate.

Over the past years, working groups have focused on setting a strategy plan consisting of six major goals, effectively regulating and monitoring environmental and natural resources, managing fisheries, managing water resources and managing wildlife as well as spreading environmental awareness and understanding throughout the society. The working groups prepared final reports for each of the six strategic goals that dealt with the current situation in the six strategic areas and the gaps found in the database of information.

The groups also delegated parties that would participate in achieving each of the six goals. Sheikh Hamdan suggested that the agreement to implement the International Convention on the trade in Endangered Species (CITES) was proof of the joint cooperation and coordination that takes place between governmental organizations in the country. CITES raised the ban on the trade of endangered species with the UAE after the Convention's Secretariat confirmed UAE's commitment to preserving its membership in the convention following procedures taken by the country to organize the process of trading in endangered species.

Sheikh Hamdan also pointed out the important role of partnerships between the private and government sector, which aim to conserve the environment and encourage the exchange of expertise. Sheikh Hamdan confirmed the vital need for partnerships and co-operation at the regional level in order to face important environmental challenges in the Arab World. He called for the improvement of national and international strategies in conserving the environment and the sustainable use of natural resources such as energy, water and soil.

Sheikh Hamdan said that one of the steps currently taking place on the regional level is the organization of the Environment and Energy 2003 Exhibition and Conference on 2-5 February 2003, by the General Exhibitions Corporation and ERWDA. He added that Energy was one of the main factors in creating development and so must be given special priority in such important initiatives. Energy experts have confirmed the necessity for the search for alternative sources of energy such as Solar and Wind energy as well as other renewable sources.

The conference will further explore energy issues and the effects industries have on the environment. In light of these discussions, it will offer suggestions for the future and set a strategy for oil producing countries in the region. Parallel to the conference, an exhibition on energy and the environment will be held and is expected to attract many local and regional organizations within the industry. He warned that although "Agenda 21" confirms that there are information gaps in the database of developing countries as opposed to those of the developed world, these gaps are widening at a dangerous rate and may slow down the capabilities of developing countries to take decisions on environmental matters.

Few developed countries have invested in improving their national databases and so this necessitates having a plan of action to overcome the lack of a complete information database. Sheikh Hamdan said that the Abu Dhabi Initiative surrounding the gathering of environmental data, which was submitted by ERWDA in the World Sustainable Summit on Development in Johannesburg, South Africa that was held between 26th Aug. - 4th September, 2002, shows the UAE's sincere support while facing environmental hardships and working toward sustainable development.

The Initiative came in line with the UAE's consistent efforts and desire to positively contribute to improve the method of gathering, analysing and use of data in developing countries. To conclude, Sheikh Hamdan said "The environmental challenges the world faces in the 21st Century requires more coordination and unity to guarantee a better future for the people of the world." (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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