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Environment 2003 gains increasing momentum: Bowardi

posted on 31/01/2003: 1479 views

It is high time for Arab World to lay down a comprehensive environmental energy strategy, taking the socio-economic and technological factors into consideration, a senior environmentalist said. Managing Director of the Environment Research and Wildlife Development Agency (ERWDA) Mohammed Al Bowardi said the February 2-5 Environment and Energy Conference and Exhibition (Environment 2003) is gaining increasing momentum at a time when the world is paying proper attention to the conservation and protection of the environment.

Speaking to Emirates News Agency (WAM) on the occasion, Al Bowardi said Arab and international experts will work to draw an integrated environmental energy strategy that contains in-depth socio-economic and technological studies, building upon the Abu Dhabi Declaration announced on Environment 2001.

The Declaration is a culmination of plans and strategies for sustainable environmental development in the Arab region in the 21st century. On the same plane, he said, the forum of Arab energy ministers, which will be held on the sidelines of Environment 2003, will explore mechanisms to reconcile divergent approaches on energy and environment in away that goes beyond Arab World borders and its interim interests. 'The forum will also seek active participation of Arab countries in the global open dialogue in order to achieve better understanding of oil producing countries' positions towards the Kyoto protocol, Montreal protocol and other climatic changes agreements,' Al Bowardi said.

ERWDA, in cooperation with the General Exhibition Cooperation (GEC), is organising the major international twin events under the patronage of President H.H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The conference will host some of the most respected figures in the environment industry as panel speakers. Attendees will include environment ministers, key decision-makers, scientists, technical experts, environmental equipment and services providers, bankers, financiers and representative of non-government organisations. The event is expected to provide a valuable opportunity for decision makers to be acquainted with the experience of other nations and the advanced technology employed.

They will also be able to benefit from new, appropriate and transferable technologies and create awareness of the growing concern about energy and environment as an important part of the globalisation process. Active inputs are expected from the World Energy Council, The Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ECSWA) and United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP). 'We hope conferees will exchange views on initiatives launched in the Johannesburg world summit on sustainable development like the one on the clean fuels and Arab efforts in that respect.

On arrangements for the event, Al Bowardi said preparations were proceeding on schedule and the organising committee has prepared working plans for this event, which is being deemed as one of the most significant environmental events to be held in the Arab region. The theme for the conference is "Environment and Energy: A Framework for Sustainable Development." Preparations, he went on, had been discussed during several meetings conducted by the Higher Organizing Committee to make sure this event is a success. 'We hope to see a culmination of efforts to produce a joint declaration entitled the Abu Dhabi Declaration on Energy and Environment,' he said, noting that a draft has been proposed by the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), ERWDA, the Federal Environmental Agency (FEA), the GEC, UNEP, ECSWA, The Technical Secretariat of the Arab League, Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Organisation of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC),' he said. The draft was sent to Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and ERWDA Deputy Chairman, who in turn passed it to Arab environment ministers. Obeid bin Saif Al Nasseri, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, has transmitted a copy of the draft to Arab energy ministers.

On ERWDA's achievements, he said the agency has recently launched a five-year strategy of environmental protection and conservation in Abu Dhabi emirate. Titled Environmental Strategy and Action Plans 2003-2007 for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the plan, compiled in a 159-page book, targets six goals to be achieved by the end of 2007. According to Al Bowardi the plan addresses the true needs of the emirate over the next five years. It also focuses on the efforts and resources of the agency and its partners, to formulate a vision for the environment of the emirate. 'The plan targets to achieve quality environment by cleaning up the emirates air and coast, utilising freshwater in a way that sustains its resources, sustain the biodiversity of the emirate and protect and nurture all endangered species, develop sustainable fisheries and improve and enforce regulations for use of agricultural chemicals such as fertilisers. It also seeks to control emissions of harmful chemicals into the air and water, and also into the soil through solid waste.

ERWDA also launched the Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI), the world's most ambitious project on environmental data collection, to fill the information gap between developed and developing countries 'Launched last August at the Johannesburg summit on sustainable development, the initiative is a collective and collaborative global response to the critical need to bridge the ever widening environmental data/information gap between developed and developing countries that continues to plague developing countries in their quest for a healthy environment and overall sustainability,' he added. 'By promoting the development and use of more reliable and valid environmental data, AGEDI is an innovative catalyst for worldwide action to provide high quality, updated, relevant and comprehensive environmental data at an appropriate scale for decision making at national, regional and global levels of impact, he added. (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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