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Zayed's environmental initiatives praised

posted on 29/01/2001: 1958 views

The International Environment Conference and Exhibition 2001, to be held in Abu Dhabi from February 4 to 8, will be the largest environmental event in the Middle East, according to Saeed bin Jabr Al Suweidi, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Chairman of the General Exhibitions Corporation, GEC. "Such a major event reflects the status attained by the UAE under the wise leadership of President H.H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in the field of environment protection and development,” Al Suweidi said in an interview to the daily newsletter.

He also said that the whole world realised the amount of efforts made by Sheikh Zayed to preserve environmental balance, combat desertification, develop wildlife and the marine eco-system and establish sanctuaries for endangered species. The full text of Al Suweidi's interview follows:

Q: What is the importance of holding the International Environmental Conference and Exhibition in Abu Dhabi and what are the expectations from such a major event?

A: The importance of this conference is drawn from being the first to be organised in the UAE and in the Middle East at such a high level. Its participants include more than 450 companies and organisations, 700 experts in environmental affairs and a number of Arab Ministers and senior officials. This makes it the largest ever environmental event to be held in the entire Middle East. Holding of such a specialised international exhibitions in the UAE reflects the unique status enjoyed by the UAE in the field of environment protection and development and also shows the regional and international appreciation for President H. H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

The achievements of the UAE under Sheikh Zayed's leadership, especially in the field of environment protection and development, stem from a profound philosophy, a good vision and wise policies that are aimed at maintaining a balance between development and ecology and guaranteeing the right of the coming generations to a clean, healthy and safe environment. Sheikh Zayed's concern with ecological issues has earned the UAE a worldwide reputation and a distinguished regional and international status, especially in the areas of preserving nature, combating desertification, developing wildlife and marine eco-system, setting up of natural reserves and encouraging and supporting international research on endangered species such as the oryx, Arabian leopard and others.

From my point of view, one of the important opportunities offered by this event is to review and get acquainted with the latest technology in protection and development of environment. The exhibition to be held on the sidelines of the conference provides a precious opportunity to see the experiments of other nations and the technology employed to develop it, as well as the possibility of benefiting from those experiences in the protection of wildlife and marine life in the UAE. The exhibition is also considered a forum for exchange of ideas and expertise on different environmental issues. I expect that many companies involved in manufacturing and marketing of environment technology will rush to open regional offices in Abu Dhabi to provide their services and to further expand their businesses in the Middle East.

Q. Do you think that the UAE has achieved progress in the field of nature and environment protection?

A. The UAE has achieved tremendous achievements in the field of nature and environment protection, by virtue of Sheikh Zayed's deep interest in environmental issues, reclamation of lands and combating desertification. The agricultural miracle accomplished in the UAE's lands is an unprecedented development. Due to the firm will of Sheikh Zayed the desert sand disappeared and green colour has prevailed on most of our lands and large areas have been converted into farms that produce among the best fruit and vegetables. This has evoked astonishment worldwide and has confirmed the UAE citizens' capability to overcome adverse natural and climatic conditions.

Q. It is being said the event is the first of its kind in the Middle East held in an Arab capital. What is the meaning of this selection? And does it mean that Abu Dhabi has become a place for specialised international exhibitions?

A. We in Abu Dhabi are proud of the status we have attained in the field of organising either specialised or general exhibitions. We are the pioneers in this field in the region. In this respect I would like to point out a number of distinguished successes in the exhibitions we have organised like the International Defence Exhibition, IDEX, series, the Abu Dhabi International Fair, ADIF, the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference, ADIPEC, as well as the current event. Organisation of general and specialised exhibitions, beside the exhibitions of national products of fraternal and friendly nations has become an integral and well-evolved industry.

I think we should not view exhibitions as a source of income for the organisers. We should consider the promotional side and its role in informing others about the UAE. Exhibitions also provide a good opportunity to the local firms to come in contact with the international companies and enable them to get a first hand knowledge of advances in technology. They also provide investment opportunities and help generate business for the services sectors in the host countries. Exhibitions are not mere markets for buying and selling. They are designed to be a perfect venue for possible sellers and possible buyers. They are a meeting point for any deal as they provide a chance for both producers and consumers to meet face to face and to start contacts and negotiations for deals.

Exhibitions are no longer considered a commercial sector that targets promotional and marketing services. They have become a cultural phenomenon, an important economic source and a link that enhances interaction among peoples of different nations. (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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