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THE COUNTRY & THE ENVIRONMENT - ENVIRONMENT


Sharjah's environment sector set to grow by 15 percent


posted on 22/10/2014

Sharjah's environment sector is expected to grow by 15 percent to almost Dh1 billion by 2016, up from this year's Dh780 million, powered by a portfolio of ground-breaking eco-tourism projects currently under way.
According to a study by the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority, Shurooq, the environment sector is one of the emirate's four key sectors identified as major areas of potential growth. The three other sectors are travel and tourism, healthcare, and transport and logistics.
Highlighting the sector's promising future, Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO of Shurooq, said, "Although the environment sector is now worth Dh780 million, the Sharjah government is keen to expand further in this field, through attracting foreign direct investment into solar energy generation plants and water desalination projects." Al Sarkal indicated that the environment sector is set to grow by 15 percent, up to almost Dh1billion by 2016, as he outlined the immense potential that the Emirate of Sharjah has in the eco-tourism industry, especially with the diverse range of eco-friendly projects currently undertaken by Shurooq to leverage this potential.
"The environment sector is composed of three sub-sectors, namely renewable energy, waste management, and energy efficiency. The U.A.E. has one of the highest per capita waste levels in the world, with environmental challenges very much on the federal government's agenda, and Sharjah has carved out its niche as the U.A.E.'s pioneer for renewable energy alternatives," the Shurooq CEO clarified.
"With the U.A.E. leading the renewable energy charge in the Gulf region, the U.A.E. market potential is expected to reach Dh183 billion by 2020, with annual growth of 15 percent during the period from 2012-2020," Al Sarkal said.
With regards to energy efficiency, the U.A.E. is adopting an ambitious renewable energy plan as it aims to boost investment in clean energy technology over the next few years and expects to attract Dh367 billion of investments in alternative and sustainable energy projects by 2020, including renewable energies, biofuel, urban development projects and wastewater recycling, the Shurooq CEO outlined.
He said that solar power technologies have the highest potential for the U.A.E. and Sharjah, which is a good renewable energy components manufacturing platform for the MENA region, due to its strategic location, logistics infrastructure, cheap labour costs, and developed manufacturing base with ready availability of various components.
"We abide by eco-friendly standards in our tourist and leisure projects, and we have also initiated a host of eco-tourism projects and green initiatives in line with the emirate's eco-friendly approach aimed at preserving the environment and ensuring a better life for generations to come," Al Sarkal said.
Among these projects are the Kalba Eco-tourism project, the Sir Bu Nuair Island project, Al Jabal Resort, The Chedi Khorfakkan, Al Majaz Waterfront, and the newly opened Al Montazah Amusement and Water Park.
"Shurooq aims through the development of the Kalba eco-tourism initiative, which is being implemented in collaboration with the Environment and Protected Areas Authority, EPAA, in Sharjah, to curb the environmental degradation that accompanies the destruction caused by killing animal and plant life, and to preserve biodiversity, re-habitat some endangered species, as well as the development of the eco-tourism sector," Al Sarkal added.
Speaking on this unique project, Hana Saif Al Suwaidi, Director-General of the Sharjah EPAA, said, "The project is the largest of its kind in the development of eco-tourism facilities in the U.A.E. and the region. It boasts of natural reserves rich in their bio-diversity, natural resources and topographical characteristics that will help rehabilitate and re-introduce rare and endangered animals." Khalid Al Huraimel, CEO of Bee'ah said, "Being at the forefront of positive environmental change, we launched a number of programmes to educate the public about sustainable waste management. This approach stems from our responsibility to work with the community and educate our society in the simple ways they can adapt and thereby contribute to turning waste into recycled resources, which can later be re-used by both the community and economy.
"Our aim is to lead the development of sustainable and economically viable solutions for waste management. We are working to tackle waste in the region and invest heavily in advanced waste management infrastructure and state-of-the-art technologies, to reach our ultimate goal of leading the Emirate of Sharjah to become the first city in the Middle East to achieve Zero-Waste-To-Landfill by 2015," he said.
"By 2015 everything in Sharjah is going to be recycled, and that will make it the first Arab nation that recycles everything. This is a huge area that is going to be developed through a range of single-minded initiatives, so as to attract more companies that would like to work with us, Al Huraimel emphasised. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395271192629.html

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Minister of Environment issues statement on Arab Environment Day


posted on 14/10/2014

Dr. Rashid Ahmad bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water, has said that modern technologies play an important role in achieving sustainable development at the national and the international levels, and this role has grown despite the increasing environmental pressures and challenges faced by today's world.
In a speech delivered on the occasion of Arab Environment Day, yesterday under the theme "The movement towards a more eco-friendly technology for a more sustainable development” he said that celebrating the day under the same banner for the second year in a row confirms the important role played by modern techniques.
He also stated that the extent and speed to which environmental solutions are evolving in response to pressures and challenges will lead to further technical knowledge and innovation, the best way to mitigate obstacles, and better control of the associated negative effects.
Dr. Rashid said, "Over the past few years we have seen a major global focus on the role of technology in achieving sustainable development. A "shift in technology" is one of the main demands in bridging the technological gap between developed and developing countries. The document titled "The Future Which We Aspire To" issued by the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Rio +20) emphasises the importance of technology in today's world, and calls on the world's governments to create enabling frameworks that encourage and introduce the idea of environmentally sound technology." He continued, "U.A.E. has been committed to bolstering its efforts to achieve sustainable development through technical solutions in line with its Vision 2021, which was inspired by the national action programme conceived by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The programme also highlights the strategy of becoming a more eco-friendly country as announced by Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, under the slogan "A greener economy for a more sustainable development." Although the U.A.E. has made great strides in implementing eco-friendly techniques for energy, water, transport and the urban environment biodiversity, it is still in the process of enjoying the fruits of its labour in these and other key fields, according to him.
He continued, "Building the country's capabilities and potentials is one of the main pillars in guaranteeing the implementation of all techniques. The U.A.E. has focused heavily on this aspect through the development of the country's educational system and the promotion of interest in scientific research and innovation at various levels in line with the national "U.A.E. Vision 2021" agenda which aims to groom the U.A.E. into one of the 20 best countries in the Global Innovation Index. The country has also been keen on adopting best practices, the latest being the "Government Creative Laboratory" which aims to come up with innovative and sustainable solutions to major national issues.
Dr. Bin Fahd also pointed out that the U.A.E. has already chosen the theme of "A greener economy for better innovation and sustainability" for its National Environment Day celebrations to be held every February 4th over the next three years.
He concluded by emphasising the attention given by the U.A.E. towards the stimulation of efforts from individuals and scientific centres to achieve sustainable development at the national and global levels and encouraging these parties to find innovative solutions to reduce the pressures, challenges and negative effects of environmental issues.
This, he said, can be done through the establishment of a series of awards such as the Zayed International Prize for the Environment, the Zayed Future Energy Prize, the Sheikh Zayed Prize for Pioneering Innovations in Agriculture, the Mohammed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, the Emirates Appreciation Award for the Environment, and the Dubai Award for Sustainable Transport. . – Emirates News Agency, WAM -
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395270804875.html

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Ministry of Environment and Water launches Carbon Footprint App at Gitex Technology 2014 in cooperation with DU


posted on 13/10/2014

The U.A.E. Ministry of Environment and Water (MoEW), in cooperation with the Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (Du), has announced the launch of the Carbon Footprint App, during its participation at Gitex Technology Week 2014, which is taking place from October 12 to 16, 2014 at Dubai World Trade Centre.
The edutainment-based application is designed to encourage environment responsibility across all age groups by calculating consumption of power, water, transportation, waste and carbon emissions by simply entering relevant data by the user.
Abdul Rahim Al Hammadi, the Assistant Under-Secretary for Support Services at MoEW, explained that the Carbon Footprint App aims to support the country's smart transformation, which is part of the vision and directives of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
The application, Al Hammadi continues, serves as a new educational step towards raising awareness on the importance of reducing carbon footprint in the country in line with Ministry's strategy of educating and increasing awareness on the reduction of carbon footprints.
Al Hammadi further added that the App is part of the Ministry's ongoing commitment to reduce carbon footprint in the country in support of the Ecological Footprint Initiative aimed at introducing the public to best environmental practices and monitor their consumption of natural resources and energy in order to boost environmental sustainability across the U.A.E..
For his part, Fahad Al Hassawi, Chief Commercial Officer, du said, "Sustainability is no longer an issue limited to the attentions of institutions and governments. Today, the wider community is conscious of their obligation towards the environment, regardless of age, gender or nationality. We are proud to be doubling our efforts with the Ministry of Environment and Water, to help them to harness innovation in support of its efforts to meet sustainability commitments." He added that the importance of this app is not only to allow the public to monitor their consumption of electricity and water, and their emissions from transportation and waste disposal, but to contribute in raising the level of public awareness. Additionally, it will serve to encourage more individuals to adhere to environmental and social responsibilities, to ensure a greener future for generations to come.
Throughout Gitex Technology 2014, the Ministry is set to unveil a number of new online projects and smart solutions that fall in line with its strategy to ensure that all services are delivered with highest standards of quality, efficiency and transparency as to achieve higher levels of user satisfaction.
"Taking part at Gitex Technology Week, for the eighth time in a row, demonstrates our utmost concern to introduce the public and Ministry personnel to tech-savvy smart applications and services which can greatly contribute to boosting smart transformation and encourage the public to attain a simpler and smarter lifestyle", Al Hammadi added.
"The launch of new projects and smart applications translates the Ministry's robust efforts to improve and simplify delivery of its services and procedures, as well as to activate new channels of communication with users in line with our strategic objective of ensuring the delivery of all administrative services with high quality, efficiency and transparency. We are excited to have unveiled the Higher Management Smart Reports App which offers an exceptional experience in providing information in a seamless, clear and transparent manner," he concluded. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395270760554.html

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Vice Chairman of DSCE launches State of Green Economy Report during the World Summit of Regions for Climate


posted on 12/10/2014

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Vice Chairman of Supreme Council of Energy, MD & CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), Chairman of World Green Economy Summit has launched ‘The State of Green Economy Report 2015', a key outcome of The World Green Economy Summit (WGES) 2014 held last April in Dubai in the presence of Former California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who will host the World Summit of Regions for Climate as Chairman of R20 in addition to the former prime minister of France, Manuel Valls, former United States Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton and UN Climate Chief, Christina Figueres, and others.
The event was attended by Hamad Obaid Al Zaabi, Charge d'Affaires of U.A.E. in France.
The articles have been authored by national and international experts in the field, speakers form the World Green Economy Summit 2014 and thematic leaders within the participating UN-entities. Dubai Carbon has managed the selection of authors and has curated the content in participation with UNDP and the World Green Economy Summit team, based on the relevance for the region and impact on green economic development of the respective topics.
The Report features one overview chapter on green economy, jobs and youth engagement and six thematic chapters on other relevant aspects: Smart City, Clean Energy, Sustainable Lifestyle, Responsible Tourism, Green Finance, Green Industry.
The Report features one overview chapter on green economy, jobs and youth engagement and six thematic chapters on other relevant aspects: Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister for Cabinet Affairs , Saeed Al Tayer, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), Mattar Al Tayer, Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), Hilal Al Marri; Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), Essa Abdulfattah Kazim, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), and Abdulnasser Ibrahim Saif bin Kalban; Dubal Holding Llc.
The publication follows a strictly participatory approach and received strong support from the United Nations network and other relevant supra-national bodies: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UNSDSN), International Air Transport Association (IATA), International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) / Worldbank, International Labour Organisation (ILO), and International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Each chapter contains a group of initiatives and researches. Clean Energy chapter outlines Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030, aiming to diversify the energy mix by 2030 to include 71% from natural gas, 12% from nuclear power, 12% from clean coal, and 5% from solar power, as well as reducing energy consumption by 30% by 2030.
On the subject of clean energy, population growth, urbanisation and economic growth have a significant impact on our resources.
IRENA predicts that global energy demand will increase by 60% within coming years. Our report focuses on the economic benefits such as job creation and development of new sectors that are borne from renewable energy expansion.
On the theme of responsible tourism, we have dedicated a chapter on how Dubai can reconcile the expected spike in footfall around the World EXPO 2020 with the need to combat high carbon emissions in the aviation industry. The Green Finance Chapter focuses on the importance of mechanisms of finance to encourage green investment.
During his speech at the Summit, Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer said: "In line with the Green Economy for Sustainable Development initiative of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the U.A.E. and Ruler of Dubai, and in line with the U.A.E. Vision 2021, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has launched the World Green Economy Summit 2015, organised by DEWA under the umbrella of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy (DSCE). This summit comes in continuation of the efforts made to position Dubai as a global hub for green economy, energy efficiency and security, investment in renewable energy, and demand side management to curb carbon emissions and achieve the objectives of DIES 2030.
"Dubai has always been open to the world as a hub for trade, but not only exchanging goods and services, but exchanging ideas as well. Dubai plays an important role as a trade-route bridge between the East and the West. Thanks to its global-level robust infrastructure in aviation, industry, finance, and business, Dubai has attracted the best leading names from across the world. This makes Dubai well placed as a nexus of global green economy in a geostrategic region that needs to diversify its energy resources and move away from the traditional hydro-carbons, in addition to the need to find more efficient methods of delivering fresh water to its people, we have two of the great catalysts for enterprise and change – opportunity and imperative," he said.
"We are proud to be part of the World Summit of Regions for Climate here in Paris which gathers thought leaders and green economy experts from across the world. It is one of the main events that lead to the Road to Paris 2015. It is also the perfect platform to launch the Green Economy Report in the presence of world leaders to exchange knowledge and developments in this domain," he added.
"We had key declarations at World Green Economy Summit 2014. Perhaps the most pivotal of them is the Dubai Declaration, which confirms our commitment to developing the World Green Economy Summit to be a platform to discuss the developments of green economy in the long run, and to develop Dubai as the capital of green economy. The report is a true indicator of our commitment to implementing the initiatives and declarations the resulted from the Summit. It also emphasises Dubai's position as a driver to the green economy agenda in the world." "As His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said, "The word impossible doesn't exist in our dictionary," Dubai has been built upon ambition and achievements. Once such milestone is the upcoming Dubai EXPO 2020, which is being held under the banner of Connecting Minds, Creating the Future. These achievements support the notion that Dubai can become the capital of the World's Green Economy, and this is a primary reason for organising the World Green Economy Summit, under the banner Global Partnerships, Sustainable Future," added Al Tayer.
"The World Green Economy Summit is an international platform and a strategic enabler for the global green economy agenda, bringing together the world's most prominent green decision makers. Following the success of the inaugural event this year, which generated new partnerships, initiatives and projects to develop a global green economy, WGES 2015 will expand to focus on new pillars and the introduction of further partnerships as well key initiatives. WGES 2015 will bring together top speakers, including CEOs, business executives, entrepreneurs, and national leaders. It will include interesting and relevant session topics and well framed discussions with international panellists. The WGES Public-Private Platform, launched at WGES 2014 aims to become a unique and premier platform for solution oriented PPP's between business, government and finance," "Dubai has been built upon ambition and achievements. The World Green Economy Summit emphasise that. In the 2014 Summit, Dubai Declaration and other main initiatives were launched and they have been implanted to confirm Dubai's commitment to drive development in Dubai as a global sustainable hub for green economy. WGES has achieved a remarkable success, the most notable is the Dubai Declaration which is essentially a series of commitments to guide us to the right path. These include Dubai's commitment to the World Green Economy Summit in order to highlight the green economy and efforts for the Dubai EXPO 2020, and to develop Dubai as the capital of green economy and showcasing this at the World Green Economy Summit. Dubai is committed to producing and publishing the annual State of Green Economy Report which will showcase all Dubai green economy projects and initiatives. This report, published by WGES, and supported by major organisations such as Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, DEWA, Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence and the UN Development Programme is a knowledge product designed to further the debate that began at the Summit," "In line with its commitment to drive innovation into sustainable energy, Abu Dhabi, the capital of the U.A.E. headquarters the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The United Arab Emirates is one of the first countries that have endorsed the extension of the Kyoto Protocol in 2005, which limits the greenhouse gas emissions of industrialised countries. It was also the first Gulf nation to sign on to the Copenhagen Accord at COP15, supporting a long-term deal to reign in emissions.
While many countries and cities around the world talk about adopting green economy, Dubai was among the first cities to join the fight to curb its carbon footprint and combat climate change and is already leading by example and acting on its strategies. As a strategic initiative by the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, the Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence was established in January 2011, through an agreement between the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). This Centre is specialised in the Clean Development Mechanism along with the best practices in reducing emissions in the Emirate of Dubai. The first of its kind in the region, it enables the Government to establish a baseline on present-day emission levels and track changes in the years to come," he added.
"The World Green Economy Summit 2015 will build upon the success of the previous summit. We will expand its focus to include more major developments needed to build a green economy. This will include engaging young people as a major catalyst for change, global partnerships between the public and private sectors, innovation, finance, and new solutions," he concluded.
The Second World Green Economy Summit will be held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the U.A.E. and Ruler of Dubai. It will be held from 22-23 April 2015 at the Dubai World Trade Centre. It is organised by DEWA and World Climate Ltd. under the umbrella of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy under the theme Global Partnerships for a Sustainable Future. It focuses on promoting green economy in the world and enhance the position of Dubai as a hub for trade, finance, green economy, and sustainable development. The summit will be held in conjunction with the Water, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition (WETEX) 2015 and the Green Week. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates-international/1395270710011.html

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U.A.E.’s environment record improving, report says


posted on 02/10/2014

The U.A.E.'s environment scorecard has shown a steady improvement for the past two years, but it's still not enough to sustain its demand for the long-term, according to a report carried by the Gulf News English daily yesterday.
The U.A.E. took third place after Kuwait and Qatar in the list of countries whose residents have the biggest ecological footprint, according to the Living Planet Report 2014 released yesterday.
The U.A.E.'s ecological footprint has gone down to 7.75 global hectares per capita this year from 9.5 global hectares per capita in 2008 and 8.4 in 2010.
Dr Rashid Ahmad bin Fahd, Minister of Environment and Water and Chairman of the U.A.E.'s Ecological Footprint Initiative (EFI), lauded the U.A.E.'s collective effort to reduce its ecological footprint but said more should be done.
"Despite the important improvement in the results, the U.A.E.'s per capita consumption remains high and unsustainable, and addressing this effectively requires our continued attention and proactive efforts to develop programmes that aim to reduce our consumption with a special focus on reduction of our carbon footprint," Dr. bin Fahd said.
Ida Tillisch, Director-General of Emirates Wildlife Society-WWF and of EFI, said that ensuring a balance between economic and environmental well-being is possible.
"In the U.A.E., development choices should consider the full cycle of any activity. For example, when constructing a building, water and energy consumption should be factored in at the design stage as well as when the building is in use. By making such smart choices, we can reduce the use of natural resources." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395270371158.html

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UAE reinforces support for renewable energy and efficiency to address climate change at UN Climate Summit


posted on 27/09/2014

The United Arab Emirates has reinforced its support for renewable energy initiatives, enhancing energy efficiency and voluntary actions to mitigate climate change at the United Nations Climate Summit in New York.
The summit was part of the United Nations General Assembly meetings, which was attended by a U.A.E. delegation led by H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister.
The summit, organised by the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, was aimed to build political momentum towards a new global climate change agreement, which is to be negotiated by December 2015.
Over 120 heads of state and government attended this week's summit, and announced new measures and partnerships to combat the global climate change challenge. The summit follows the Abu Dhabi Ascent, which was held in May this year. The Abu Dhabi Ascent was critical in shaping and scaling-up the initiatives and commitments that were announced during the summit.
Delivering a speech at the Climate Summit, Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State and Special Envoy for Energy and Climate Change said, "By hosting the Abu Dhabi Ascent, the U.A.E. played a crucial role in shaping the initiatives and voluntary actions that were announced this week at the Climate Summit. These announcements are a clear indication of the growing commitment world leaders are making to address the global climate change challenge." The U.A.E. emphasised its extensive development assistance programme for renewable energy, which in the last 12 months has mobilised grants and low-interest loans to support fellow developing countries' deployment efforts.
"Today, we are restating our belief that renewable energy and enhanced efficiency are the climate solution that all nations can get behind. Renewable energy is now the most efficient source of power for many developing countries and offers tremendous socio-economic opportunities," added Dr. Sultan Al Jaber.
Through Masdar, the U.A.E. has made major investments across renewable energy projects, and is currently producing nearly 1GW of capacity both domestically and internationally. The world's largest two greenhouse gas emitters, United States of America and China, also pledged action to mitigate their emissions.
In his address, U.S. President Barack Obama said that climate change was moving faster than efforts to address it, and the U.S. and China had a responsibility to lead other nations.
"Today world leaders agreed that climate change is a defining issue of our time and that bold action is needed to reduce emissions and build resilience; and that they would lead this effort," Mr. Ban said.
"Together, we must capitalise on the momentum from this summit," Dr. Sultan Al Jaber said and added, "going forward, the U.A.E. will continue to help develop, launch and implement practical, action-oriented initiatives that will make a tangible impact to mitigating climate change and to the advancement of renewable energy." –Emirates News Agency, WAM -http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395270150258.html

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EAD and Shell Abu Dhabi delivers environment awareness to hundreds of thousands of students


posted on 22/09/2014

The Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi, EAD, and Shell Abu Dhabi, have renewed their partnership in a move that will continue to bring the Enviro-Spellathon to schools and students across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
The Enviro-Spellathon is an award-winning annual environmental education programme that targets students across Abu Dhabi schools in primary and intermediate levels, those aged between 4 and 13. The programme, which has been achieving success since its launch in 2000, is in collaboration with the Emirates Wildlife Society in cooperation with the World Wide Fund for Nature, EWS-WWF, and supported by the Abu Dhabi Education Council, ADEC.
The Enviro-Spellathon programme aims to increase children's environmental knowledge and to instil environment friendly behaviour from a young age. At the beginning of each academic year, EAD, in cooperation with schools' coordinators, distributes a series of educational booklets to each school. The booklets contain educational information and activities concerning the local environment that are developed specifically for students in the emirate. At the end of the year, students are tested on the information provided in the booklet in Arabic and / or English.
The sponsorship agreement was signed by Dr. Jaber Al Jabri, EAD's Deputy Secretary-General, and Andrew Vaughan, Chairman of Shell Abu Dhabi.
Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, EAD Secretary-General, said, "The success of the Enviro-Spellathon programme was better than we expected, it has attracted nearly 1.4 million students across 92 percent of the schools in Abu Dhabi last year edition alone. EAD distributed over 150,000 awards and certificates to students and coordinators in 366 schools to recognise their efforts." "As we aim to engage and educate Abu Dhabi's community, EAD, in cooperation with Zayed Higher Organisation for Humanitarian Care and Special Needs, published a set of Enviro-Spellathon booklets that will be available exclusively in Braille in Arabic for visually impaired students from Grades 1 to 6. Through producing Braille resources, we're giving visually impaired students the opportunity to become more actively immersed in environmental education by providing them with a hands-on experience in acquiring knowledge," Al Mubarak added. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395269894202.html

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Abdullah bin Zayed leads U.A.E. delegation to Climate Summit


posted on 21/09/2014

This week, the United Arab Emirates will reaffirm its support for renewable energy and enhanced voluntary action to fight climate change at the United Nations Climate Summit 2014, the highest-level global meeting on the topic in five years.
Led by H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, U.A.E. Foreign Minister, the U.A.E. will highlight its progressive approach that mixes voluntary domestic reform and international aid and investment.
Over 100 heads of state and government leaders are expected to attend the summit on 23rd September, in New York, and announce new measures and partnerships to combat the global challenge of climate change.
Organised by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the summit aims to spur global action on greenhouse gas mitigation and adaptation, in the lead up to the Paris United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations in December 2015, where a global climate change agreement is expected to be finalised.
"The U.A.E. has actively engaged with the international community in efforts to minimise the impacts of climate change," said Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, U.A.E. Minister of State. "We are a hydrocarbon exporter and a developing country, but we are making some of the world's most significant investments in renewable energy." The summit follows on from the Abu Dhabi Ascent that was convened in May by the Secretary-General to prepare the international community for the New York meeting, and to formulate global initiatives in nine high-impact areas: energy efficiency, land use and forests, finance, renewable energy, agriculture, resilience, transportation, short-lived climate pollutants and cities.
"The Abu Dhabi Ascent underscored the U.A.E.'s leadership in climate-related discussions and mobilised contributions to the UN climate change debate," said Dr. Al Jaber. "We worked closely with the Secretary-General to build momentum towards the Summit and to ensure tangible commitments are made by governments and the private sector." The U.A.E. is dedicated to addressing the issue of climate change and has taken significant steps to tackle its adverse impacts. Some of these will be highlighted at the UN Climate Summit, including the development and deployment of clean energy and energy efficiency projects at home and abroad. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395269858982.html

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U.A.E. reiterates commitment to Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer


posted on 16/09/2014

The U.A.E. has reiterated its commitment to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and to the mobilisation of international efforts to implement both agreements.
Dr. Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water, in a statement on the occasion of the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, marked on 16 September every year, noted that U.A.E. will host United Nations Envoronment Programme (UNEP)'s meetings of regional networks of national ozone officers in West Asia, between 26-29 October.
"The success of the national programme for the gradual disposal of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) by 2010 clearly showed the huge efforts made by U.A.E. in this regard, as well as the close cooperation between all stakeholders in the private and public sectors and encouraged us to run a national programme to gradually dispose of hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFCs) by 2040 as per the timeframe set by the 19th meeting of parties to the Montreal Protocol," Minister bin Fahad said noting that the Cabinet in July issued a resolution to further reduce the production and consumption of ozone depleting substances.
The International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, marked this year under the them 'Ozone Layer Protection: The Mission Goes On', commemorates the date of the signing, in 1987, of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.
It is often called a framework convention, because it served as a framework for efforts to protect the globe's fragile ozone layer. The Vienna Convention was adopted in 1985 and entered into force on 22 September 1988, and in 2009 became the first convention of any kind to achieve universal ratification. It is often called a framework convention, because it served as a framework for efforts to protect the globe's ozone layer. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general-emirates-international/1395269669818.html

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Ministry of Environment and Water signs strategic MoU with Norway Fishing Foundation


posted on 27/08/2014

The U.A.E. Ministry of Environment and Water (MoEW) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Nor-Fishing Foundation and Informa Middle East Limited, one of the region's leading providers of high quality conferences, to organise ‘Aqua Middle East' (AquaME) and ‘Aqua ME Summit' in conjunction with AgraME taking place from 16th-18th March 2015 at the Dubai Exhibition and Convention Centre.
Nor-Fishing Foundation was established in 1992 by the Norwegian Ministry of Fisheries. Over the last 30 years, not only have they been responsible for organising the Norwegian international fisheries exhibition "Nor-Fishing" – regarded as the leading international fisheries trade show – but also the leading international aquaculture venue "Aqua Nor" in Norway, making them the ideal international partner for AquaME.
The partnership is a move to consolidate and encourage co-operation to improve the aquaculture sector, which falls in line with the U.A.E.'s strategic objectives to promote food security and environmental sustainability contributing to the U.A.E.'s Vision 2021.
The MoU was signed by MoEW Assistant Under-Secretary for Support Services, Abdul Rahim Al Hammadi, and Nor-Fishing Foundation Chairman of Board, Mrs Liv Holmefjord, and Informa Middle East Limited Exhibition Director Richard Pavitt, earlier this week in Trondheim, Norway, in the presence of Mohammed AlJuwaied, U.A.E. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Norway.
Under the MoU, all parties will work in close collaboration towards promoting the development of the aquaculture and fishing industry by hosting an exhibition to attract local and international suppliers from within these industries. Furthermore, in parallel to the trade show, the AquaME Summit, the second edition of the Aquaculture Investment Forum, will be organised to bring experts and specialists from around the world to exchange experiences, transfer knowledge and review best practices, advances and innovations in research, science and technology thereby strengthening the aquaculture and fishing industry in the U.A.E..
The total current market valuation of investments in to the U.A.E. aquaculture sector stands at US$ 321 million, with 20 million of that amount being invested in to the Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Marine Research Centre. The project, which was launched in February 2013, aims to produce 10 million juveniles per year of local indigenous species and will contribute to enhancing food security in the U.A.E.. Furthermore, the centre will support research focusing on overexploited species and habitat conservation measures. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395268937721.html

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EAD’s push for improved industrial compliance reaches the USA


posted on 06/08/2014

The Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) recently shared some of the Emirate's best practices in the field of air quality monitoring and waste management at a major international air and waste management conference in the USA.
EAD's Eltezam campaign and Inspections and Compliance Tool – both aimed at monitoring and regulating industry – featured at the Air and Waste Management Association Conference, which took place in Long Beach, California last month.
Eng. Khalid Al Hajeri, Manager of Compliance and Enforcement, and Ahmad Al Waheebi, Head of Compliance and Audit, from EAD presented Abu Dhabi's efforts in air monitoring and waste management to more than 100 of the world's leading environmental experts at the event.
Through the Eltezam campaign, which means ‘compliance' in Arabic, EAD worked with 160 facilities in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi to raise their awareness about the importance of complying with their environmental permit conditions, specifically around the release of Particulate Matter (PM) – a primary by-product from cement-mixing. The campaign entailed capacity building, rigorous inspections and enforcement of regulations.
Ahmad Al Waheebi, Head of Compliance and Audit, EAD said: "Following Eltezam's previous success in engaging the Ready Mix sector to raise awareness of the importance of limiting the amount of Particulate Matter (PM), our campaign provided the industry with guidance on best practice and compliance. We recorded a 46 percent improvement in compliance within the sector in one year." The second case study presented in the USA was the Inspections and Compliance Tool (ICT). This tool is used by EAD to monitor compliance of facilities and projects.
Eng. Al Hajeri said: "Since we introduced this state-of-the-art technology, the our information collation process has become more efficient and has helped us better focus on minimising environmental impact across the Emirate. With tools like this, we can contribute to achieving sustainable development and continue working toward a cleaner future." – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395268388814.html

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EAD releases annual report highlighting 2013 achievements


posted on 05/08/2014

The Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi, EAD, has released its annual report for 2013, which highlights its efforts and commitment to protecting and enhancing air quality, groundwater and the bio-diversity of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi's desert and its marine ecosystem.
Speaking on the occasion of the release of the report, which is available in both English and Arabic, H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region and EAD Chairman, said, "EAD is focused on implementing programmes and initiatives that help protect the environment, which are based on priorities set by the Abu Dhabi Environment Vision 2030. This vision is an integral part of a comprehensive programme approved by the Government of Abu Dhabi, which includes economic, environmental and social policies that will help lead Abu Dhabi towards sustainable development." "Successfully achieving our goals in environmental protection will reflect on our environment and our economy, which will in turn benefit our society by minimising environmental risks, enhancing the quality of life, conserving our natural resources for future generations, and creating new job opportunities," H.H. Sheikh Hamdan added.
Sheikh Hamdan went on to say, "We extend our gratitude to President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the U.A.E. Armed Forces, for their ongoing support for all projects that will benefit future generations." EAD's accomplishments, which are summarised in the report, include enhancing strategic planning expertise on waste management, air quality, water, bio-diversity, climate change and acquiring an additional 440 groundwater wells. This has led, for the first time, to producing a comprehensive, trans-national monitoring network that has received international recognition for the Al Wathba Wetland Reserve as a Ramsar Convention adherent site, as well as the launching of the Abu Dhabi Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory, and the successful engagement of the industrial sector, which helped improve compliance and limit the amount of particulate matter emitted into the atmosphere.
In the report's foreword, Mohammed Al Bowardi, EAD's Managing Director, said, "Since its establishment in 1996, EAD has played a major role in protecting Abu Dhabi's public health and ensuring the integrity of the ecosystem through research, development and implementation of key environmental policies and regulations. These efforts have been carried out under the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in line with the legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the U.A.E., and under the guidance of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region and Chairman of EAD." "As the Emirate of Abu Dhabi continues to develop, it becomes even more critical that EAD strengthens its regulatory and enforcement framework and continues to consolidate knowledge and data for more informed environmental decision-making. One such example this year was when EAD led a pioneering ‘Blue Carbon' project, that has provided us with an unprecedented understanding of how Abu Dhabi's coastal and marine ecosystems play a critical role in fighting climate change," Al Bowardi added.
"EAD is committed to working towards achieving its goals, in partnership with its stakeholders on local and international levels to achieve its mandate and to maintain the leading position of both Abu Dhabi and the U.A.E. in environmental sustainability for the benefit of the current and future generations," Al Bowardi concluded.
Commenting on EAD's 2013 achievements, Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, EAD's Secretary-General, said, "EAD successfully achieved significant milestones within the environment protection roadmap which we put forth in our strategy including government-wide environmental strategies and policies, elevating the understanding and execution of environmental activities on the national agenda." Amongst EAD's other key accomplishments for the year, 637 facility inspections were conducted to ensure that they comply with permit conditions. The authority has dealt with around 1,000 violations, some of which related to inefficient recordkeeping, inadequate employee training and the transfer of hazardous materials. – Emirates News Agency, WAM – Read more:
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395268338745.html

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U.A.E. outlines environmental goals


posted on 05/08/2014

Water management, reducing the negative environmental impact of quarrying and the promotion of sustainable farming and fishing practices are top priorities for the U.A.E., according to the Minister of the Environment and Water.
Ensuring the sustainable use of scarce water resources is a key goal for the Emirates, Dr. Rashid bin Fahad said, adding, "We have implemented a series of initiatives and programmes aimed at developing national legislations, standards and work mechanisms for achieving integrated water resources management, improving natural water resources and preserving fresh groundwater in addition to supporting strategic supplies." Dr. bin Fahad, according to The National daily, said that the Ministry is preparing a draft law to regulate the work of small-scale desalination plants processing groundwater for use in farms. It is also carrying out regular inspections at quarries and crushers to ensure that public health and environmental measures are respected.
Last year, a total of 315 field inspections were carried out in the northern emirates, said Dr. bin Fahad. Of the facilities inspected, 27 were closed down for periods of one to three months and another 23 facilities had warnings issued.
During the first quarter of this year, the Ministry carried out 49 field inspections, including five at night. These resulted in the closing down of one quarry and the issuing of warnings to four others, a decrease from last year when 12 quarries were closed down and another four warned within the same period.
"Such an apparent decrease in the violations reflects the ministry's constant efforts and successful measures against violating quarries and stone crushers," said Dr. bin Fahad.
The minister also discussed recent regulations issued to manage the fishing industry, saying, "The ministry has recently issued a series of resolutions on the regulation of fishing as well as the equipment and boats used," he said.
Cabinet Resolution No. 14 of 2014 exempted fishermen from all ministry service fees, such as registration and removal from register, issuing and renewing boat, captain and crew licences, sale contract legalisation fees and fishing boats mortgage registration and cancellation.
The Ministry has also launched an initiative to encourage fishermen by providing them with equipment, such as engines and cranes, at half price. Together with its counterparts in the Ministry of Public Works, it is also redeveloping 24 fishing ports throughout the country. However, fishermen also have a responsibility to observe good practices and environmental laws, said Dr. bin Fahad, adding that the federal fishing law is being currently updated.
The Minister also commented on the development of farming in the country. There were 5,687 farms in the U.A.E. in the early 1970's, and that number has now risen to 35,252. The ministry is encouraging farmers to use hydroponics which saves water and can be used to grow cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce and fruits like melons and strawberries.
The technique was first introduced in the country in 2009, when there were 50 such greenhouses, compared to 700 of them at the end of 2013.
Farmers are also encouraged to resort to organic farming to grow chemical-free products. In the past four years, the ministry has provided more than 50,000 tonnes of organic fertilisers and 30,000 bags of cucumber and tomato seeds, in addition to 1,500 containers of organic pesticides and other items, to more than 10,000 farmers.
"Organic products bear a distinctive mark to enhance consumer confidence," said Dr. bin Fahad. "There are currently 43 certified organic farms and the Ministry is creating new marketing opportunities for organic products in collaboration with competent local authorities to encourage organic farmers." – Emirates News Agency, WAM – Read more:
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395268337315.html

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Ministry of Environment and Water issues resolution covering regulation of hunting and trading of sharks


posted on 27/07/2014

Dr. Rashid Ahmad bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water, has issued Ministerial Resolution (500) for the year 2014 regulating the hunting and trading of sharks, which will take effect on September 1.
The resolution limits the hunting of sharks in fishing waters not less than five nautical miles from the shores of the UAE and not less than three nautical miles from the islands of the UAE. This will prevent fishing of sharks for their fins and thwart the practice of throwing their bodies back into the sea. The regulation states that sharks must be brought fully into the port. It also aims to prevent the trading of live sharks caught in fishing waters of the UAE unless a special permit has been issued by the ministry.
It prevents hunting species stated in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which also states that these species must be released back into the sea when they are caught in the fishing equipment.
The resolution allows fishermen who are running boats with lynch, a tool with several hooks at the end of its edges, to catch sharks every first of July of each year until the end of January of the following year using hooks as long as they do not exceed 100 hooks per lynch. The hooks should be curved, should not be larger than 0/14, and should be biodegradable. The boat should also carry the kit and include the fishing boat number and the logo symbol of the emirate.
In cases of importation of shark species enumerated in CITES, such as the great hammerhead, scalloped bonnet head, swordfish, carcharinus longimanus, manta rays, great white shark, basking shark, sphyrna as what is also mention that an export or re-export certificate from the administrative authority in the exporting country and an import valid certificate issued by the Ministry of Environment and Water must be secured. Companies are not permitted to export sharks caught in the fishing waters of the UAE - whether fresh, frozen, dried or salted, smoked or canned, or any other form, - throughout the year.
The import of sharks - fresh, frozen, dried, salted, smoked or canned, or in any other form – is also allowed by the issued resolution. The shipments must be accompanied with the original certificate of source of origin related for each shipment, stating the scientific name and quantity of each type. It should also have the original health certificate, commercial invoice, and the packing list for each shipment.
The decision also allows the re-export of all imported sharks - fresh, frozen, dried or salted, smoked or canned, or in any other form, provided the permission is granted by the UAE Ministry of Environment and Water. The Ministry will grant permission only after receiving the certificate of origin of the shipment issued by a competent authority in the exporting country; customs declaration for the shipment issued in the port of entry; a certificate of authority to export food items issued by the competent local authority mentioning the scientific name and quantity of each type and a packing certificate issued by the manufacturer, licensed by the Ministry for processing of fish products detailing the quantity and quality of fish exported. In case of imported variations, the re-export facility is required to provide the purchase invoice documents in addition to all the documents related to the shipment.
In case of re-export of shark species in the annexes of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), additional documents such as the re-export certificate issued by the Ministry of Environment and Water for these shark species need to be submitted, in addition to prior authorisation of the importing country for re-export of same shark species in order to prevent the re-export of shark fins from the state.
As stated in the resolution, the health certificates for shipments of re-exported sharks in export outlet will be issued only after the Quarantine Inspector inspects the shipment and confirms the attached re-export permit of the Ministry of Environment and Water in addition to a Certificate of Origin of the shipment by the competent authorities. All the re-exported shipments undergo strict procedures of quarantine and regulation in order to control the international trade of animals and plants threatened with extinction in the State. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general/1395268158834.html

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Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi advises farmers to use water efficiently


posted on 17/07/2014

For years now, the UAE has been the world's largest consumer of water, with 500 litres per person per day, which is 82 per cent more than the global average consumption.
The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) has come to the ongoing Liwa Dates Festival in the Western Region of the emirate to encourage farmers to become more efficient in water usage. Irrigation of date palm trees currently consumes about a third of the groundwater used by major crops.
"Dates are an integral part of our culture and are especially important during the holy month of Ramadan. However, most of Abu Dhabi's dates are nourished with groundwater, a dwindling resource,” said Mansoor Al Tamimi, groundwater scientist at EAD.
"We have come here to support the farmers who have already been affected by the negative impact of groundwater misuse. We are encouraging them to install and maintain efficient irrigation systems, obey the laws and report anyone who is involved in the sale of groundwater, which is illegal.”
For years now, the UAE has been the world's largest consumer of water, with 500 litres per person per day. This is 82 per cent more than the global average consumption.
Worldwide, water scarcity is becoming even a bigger threat than climate change. Peter Brabeck, chairman of Nestle, was recently quoted by international media as saying: "We are going to run out of water long before we run out of oil.”
At the Liwa Dates Festival, which will end on July 18, EAD is also raising awareness of how the illegal misuse of groundwater has already impacted and continues to impact the agriculture by depleting the water table and increasing the salinity of the remaining reserves. In parts of Abu Dhabi, levels are falling by up to five metres each year.
Since 2010, industries and governments have had to increasingly invest in water, be it in water treatment plants, desalination plants or just water pipelines. The global water market is now US$550 billion and growing by 3.5% every year.
Agriculture remains the biggest water consumer worldwide. – Khaleej Times – Read more: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/nation/inside.asp?xfile=/data/nationgeneral/2014/July/nationgeneral_July87.xml§ion=nationgeneral

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EAD’s annual survey reveals increased environmental awareness


posted on 09/07/2014

The Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi, EAD, has revealed the latest findings of its Environmental Awareness and Behaviour Survey, which found that the public's awareness and behaviour towards environmental issues has increased.
According to the survey, 68% of those surveyed reported pro-environment practices, compared to 55% in 2012. Within the construction industry, the overall level of awareness on environmental issues has drastically gone up from 24% in 2012 to 81% in 2013.
88% of respondents in construction expressed concern about waste management issues in their sector, as opposed to only 45% in 2012. On air quality issues, 90% of those surveyed in 2013 reported that they understood that enhancing air quality was a priority, compared to only 7% in 2012.
Nearly 2,000 people, representing a diverse range of nationalities, ages and industries in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, took part in the annual survey, which was conducted in late 2013.
When it comes to the industrial sector, and the Ready Mix sector in particular, EAD's industrial compliance campaign, Eltezam, helped raise awareness about the importance of limiting the amount of particulate matter released from their facilities, as well as ensuring compliance with regulations pertaining to the release of PM into the atmosphere. The survey revealed that feedback surrounding the campaign was very positive and the follow-up rounds of inspections by EAD resulted in a 46% improvement in compliance. The survey revealed an interesting trend: the willingness of Ready Mix facilities to comply with environmental permit conditions directly correlates with their level of awareness.
Fozeya Ibrahim Al Mahmoud, Director of Environmental Outreach at EAD, said, "The Environmental Awareness and Behaviour Survey findings have for years helped inform EAD's outreach focus for the coming year. Consistently measuring and analysing awareness levels and the behaviour of Abu Dhabi's community helps us to better understand what motivates people. EAD continues to raise public awareness around critical environmental issues through the careful planning and execution of creative and innovative awareness campaigns." The survey also revealed that 63% of those working in hotels, hospitals, retail, and the private sector have reported an understanding of different environmental issues, with 62% of these respondents indicating that their organisations were taking action on environmental issues relevant to their industry.
However, water conservation practices within the community did not witness a significant change in 2013. An average of 52% of the respondents in 2013, compared to 46% in 2012, reported carrying out environmentally-friendly practices, such as turning off their taps when not in use and using less water when performing daily actions such as brushing teeth or performing ablutions before prayer.
The issue of waste management emerged as one of the most central issues in the survey, with 61% indicating that they understood that waste management is a priority issue for the government.
Out of all of those surveyed, youths aged 15-20 years demonstrated the highest levels of awareness of waste management as an environmental concern in the emirate. Survey results also showed that the young within that age group actively searched for alternatives and efficient solutions to lessen their impact on the environment. For example, the 2013 results revealed that 73% of youths opted to carpool with friends or family, while in 2012 only 55% had considered that option. Switching off lights and air conditioning when not in use was another popular habit amongst them, with 83% stating they did so in 2013. – Emirates News Agency, WAM – Read more:
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395267533786.html

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U.A.E. Environment and Water Minister attends UNEA session in Nairobi


posted on 28/06/2014

NAIROBI: U.A.E. Environment and Water Minister, Dr. Rashid Ahmed bin Fahd, has chaired the U.A.E. delegation in the first session of The United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) in Nairobi, which runs from 23 to 27 June. The event draws 1,200 participants,100 ministers, and heads of international organisations.
The session, which will conclude today, focused on the objectives of sustainable development and development plans after 2015, including sustainable consumption and production.
The main theme of the Ministerial Plenary is how the environment is reflected in the global Sustainable Development Goals. The meetings will result in a strong proclamation that sends a powerful message on the importance of the environmental dimension of sustainable development to the UN s high-level political forum, and the UN General Assembly. In addition, the Ministers will discuss, among others, the illegal trade in wildlife.
Bin Fahd reviewed in an interactive session on the global Sustainable Development Goals, the social, economic and environmental benefits through encouraging green investments and activities in areas of renewable energy, efficient use of energy, restoration of ecological systems, waste management and environmental innovations.
He demonstrated the multi-studies conducted by the U.A.E. in line with the implementation of U.A.E. Green Development Strategy, noting that the U.A.E. adopted the green economy method, and specified six tracks covering all aspects of life. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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MoEW updates National Strategy to Combat Desertification 2014-2021


posted on 16/06/2014

Dr. Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water, has announced the completion of the project to update the National Strategy to Combat Desertification 2014 2021.
In a statement released to mark "World Day to Combat Desertification," on June 17th, the Minister said that in line with the U.A.E. s Vision 2021 and strategy to combat desertification, the U.A.E. is committed to protecting the natural environment using preventive measures such as reducing carbon emissions and imposing regulatory measures to protect the ecosystem.
The strategy aims to increase awareness of issues related to desertification, land degradation and drought, and strengthen the national capacity in the fight against desertification.
Such approaches will be used to counteract dangers that arise from the outcome of human activities, poor land management and increasing population, which are having a negative impact on the ecosystem.
The Minister said that desertification is not just a national concern but a global problem which is directly affecting the lives of millions of people and is impacting the world's water and food resources.
According to reports from the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, 24 billion tons of fertile soil disappear and about 12 billion hectares of land are lost annually due to desertification and drought, in addition to the 52 percent of agricultural land which faces moderate to severe deterioration.
Dr. bin Fahad said that the U.A.E. is working to develop a national strategy to protect its water resources and reduce groundwater depletion through the implementation of agricultural policies that enforce efficient water management practices.
One of the U.A.E. s more recent efforts in the fight against desertification is the focus on using modern techniques and relevant scientific research to protect native plants and encourage bio-diversity.
Last month, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, issued a Decree establishing six nature reserves in Dubai, a legislation which aims to protect natural habitats and wildlife in the Emirate of Dubai and preserve natural resources in these areas. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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EAD launches pilot phase of its Sustainable Campus Initiative across Abu Dhabi universities


posted on 04/06/2014

The Environment Agency- Abu Dhabi (EAD), in partnership with Borouge, have launched the pilot phase of the Sustainable Campus Initiative (SCI), an extension of former's award-winning environmental education programme, the Sustainable Schools Initiative (SSI).
The Initiative encourages university students in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi to take responsibility for their campus s ecological footprint. EAD will do this by teaching the students how to lead, how to measure and assess their campus s environmental footprint, and how to develop an action plan to reduce it.
Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary General of EAD, commented, "The SCI was immensely successful and students across the U.A.E. showed great interest and passion in protecting the environment. We are proud to build on this achievement with the Sustainable Campus Initiative, which will further empower students to make positive environmental impacts and advocate for a sustainable future." During the pilot phase of the initiative, EAD will continue to work closely with around 25 students from four university campuses in Abu Dhabi: Zayed University; Higher Colleges of Technology Women s College in Khalifa City; Higher Colleges of Technology Men s College in Madinat Zayed; and Higher Colleges of Technology Women s College in Ruwais.
"Borouge is pleased to support the Sustainable Campus Initiative with the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi," said Abdulaziz Alhajri, CEO of Abu Dhabi Polymers Company (Borouge). "This exciting initiative is in line with our commitment to sustainability and social responsibility, and provides Borouge with a unique opportunity to interact and encourage university students to manage their carbon footprint and enhance their awareness and involvement in various environmental issues, so that today, and in their future careers, they may contribute to the sustainable advancement of the U.A.E. and support Abu Dhabi s Environment Vision 2030." Once the pilot phase is completed in November 2014, EAD plans to invite more universities in Abu Dhabi to participate and an exclusive online Green Youth Majlis will be set up for the youth to network and exchange ideas with other students from around the world. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
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U.A.E. hosts regional workshop on Nagoya Protocol


posted on 02/06/2014

The Ministry of Environment and Water (MoEW) on Sunday hosted 'The Regional Workshop of Capacity Building for Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing', in collaboration with the Secretariat of Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), at City Seasons Suites Dubai.
Hosting this workshop comes in line with MoEW strategic objectives to promote environmental sustainability though the development of initiatives, legislations and regulations to manage and protect ecosystems. Furthermore, this workshop which is part of CBD's framework to conduct a series of sub-regional workshops aims to achieve the 3rd objective of the Convention on Biodiversity goal for a fair and equitable benefit sharing from the utilisation of genetic resources.
Representatives from the United Nation Environment Program (UNEP) and member of the convention from the Middle East North Africa (MENA) Region attended the first day of the 5-day workshop which is aimed at to raising awareness on the provisions of the Nagoya Protocol. It is also aimed at encouraging the exchange of expertise among countries in regards to the administrative procedures and legislations for the development of plans and programmes relevant to the countries' biodiversity strategies and policies.
Local and federal authorities, academic institutions and research establishments were present at the workshop including Ministry of Health and the International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas.
"U.A.E. hosted the workshop as part of its support for capacity building efforts for countries within the region and to fill its obligations to the "Convention on Biological Diversity," said Dr. Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water, in a speech read out by Sultan Alwan, Assistant Undersecretary for Water Resources and Nature Conservation In the speech, Alwan focused on the importance of U.A.E.'s genetic resources, which include a wide range of plants, animals and micro-organisms that are the source of life on Earth, which makes it a key pillar in the economy growth and the prosperity of countries.
He also stated that "Despite the dominant desert climate, the U.A.E. is rich in the Genetic Diversity, which makes our Government keen on supporting the ongoing efforts to preserve and develop the biodiversity systems. The Nagoya Protocol workshop aims to enhance the legal framework and maintain this diversity and it also aims to develop plans and programs that will achieve the three objectives of CBD." Genetic resources are of multiple benefits they are considered a sources of life, nourishment and medication, they are pivotal contributors to the stability of climate and provide raw materials for industrial and agricultural sectors and also contribute to the tourism sector, which makes this resources crucial for the economic development for the countries and their people. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
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Dubai Municipality opens exhibition to display re-purposed car-parts


posted on 29/05/2014

Dubai Municipality Transport Department opened an exhibition for recycled car parts at its headquarters yesterday, an initiative which aims to raise social awareness on environmental protection by presenting ideas on how to turn car-parts into new products.
The exhibition, which was inaugurated by Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director-General of Dubai Municipality, displays a collection of used car-parts which have been re-purposed to form new products and designs, like watches built from small vehicle parts and chairs and tables constructed from tyres.
Hamid Al Marri, Director of the Transportation Department at Dubai Municipality, said that the initiative demonstrates the department's commitment to raising public awareness of the environment and find ways to encourage society's active involvement in environmentally friendly practices. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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Minister of Environment and Water praises UAE leadership's interest in biodiversity


posted on 22/05/2014

Dr. Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water, on Wednesday praised the huge interest of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and Their Highnesses, Supreme Council Members and Rulers of the Emirates, in preserving biodiversity in UAE.
"The commitment of UAE to protect, sustain and nurture biodiversity is a pillar of our environmental policy. Through this commitment, UAE has made a number of significant achievements including regulations aimed at preserving biodiversity, expanding marine and wildlife reserves, national programmes and plans for protecting and breeding endangered species for the eventual release to their habitat, in addition to plans for protecting fragile habitats from urban expansion in accordance with UAE. Vision 2021," said Minister Fahad, in a press release on the occasion of the International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB), celebrated worldwide on 22nd May, this year under the theme "Island Biodiversity." According to Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Islands and their surrounding near-shore marine areas constitute unique ecosystems often comprising many plant and animal species that are endemic found nowhere else on Earth. The legacy of a unique evolutionary history these ecosystems are irreplaceable treasures. They are also key to the livelihood, economy, well-being and cultural identity of 600 million islanders one-tenth of the world's population.
UAE which is party to the CBD since 2000 has officially designated 22 nature reserve (bioreserves) so far, in addition to a number of protected areas which have not been officially declared as reserves, according to Minister Fahad.
The theme Island Biodiversity was chosen this year to coincide with the designation by the United Nations General Assembly of 2014 as the International Year of Small Island Developing States. In addition, the theme was chosen to correspond with the timing of COP decision XI/15 paragraph 1(a) "to strengthen the implementation of the Programme of Work on Island Biodiversity".
CBD entered into force on 29th December 1993 and has 3 main objectives: The conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of the components of biological diversity, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilisation of genetic resources.
The United Nations has proclaimed May 22 The International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. When first created by the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly in late 1993, 29 December (the date of entry into force of the Convention of Biological Diversity), was designated The International Day for Biological Diversity. In December 2000, the UN General Assembly adopted 22 May as IDB, to commemorate the adoption of the text of the Convention on 22 May 1992 by the Nairobi Final Act of the Conference for the Adoption of the Agreed Text of the Convention on Biological Diversity. This was partly done because it was difficult for many countries to plan and carry out suitable celebrations for the date of 29 December, given the number of holidays that coincide around that time of year. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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150 vehicles go green in Abu Dhabi


posted on 14/05/2014

In August last year, the civic body fitted 25 of its cars with compressed natural gas (CNG) kits, which are now running on the streets of Abu Dhabi.
The Abu Dhabi City Municipality has added 150 natural gas-powered vehicles to its fleet.
In August last year, the civic body fitted 25 of its cars with compressed natural gas (CNG) kits, which are now running on the streets of Abu Dhabi.
"A large number of these vehicles have actually been fitted and a large portion of them have been deployed in service as of April 20. By May 18, all of them will be up and running,” said Othman Mohammed Sharif Fulathi, Director of Facilities and Security at Abu Dhabi City Municipality.
"Like other vehicles ... of Abu Dhabi City Municipality, these vehicles are fitted with a GPS tracking system as well to track their movement with a view to reduce consumption and ensure the optimal use of vehicles.”
Compressed natural gas (CNG )cars are considered "greener” as they produce fewer emissions than traditional gasoline-based vehicles.
Natural gas fuel has been around since the 1930s, but it is only in the past decade that it has been considered as a serious alternative to gasoline, partly due to growing concerns of climate change.
Technological advancement and greater engine efficiency has also helped in CNG being recognised as a good alternative.
In the UAE, CNG stations were first established in 2011 by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc). By 2015, the UAE is slated to have 20 Natural Gas Vehicles (NGV) filling stations — 16 in Abu Dhabi and four in other emirates — as well as nine vehicle conversion workshops.
Apart from the occasional taxi, CNG filling pumps remain unused most of the time. Although the initial plan was to have most of Abu Dhabi's official vehicles converted to CNG, only a fraction have done so.
There are close to 8,000 taxis in Abu Dhabi, but only a quarter of them have been fitted with CNG kits. Most drivers are either unaware of the benefits of CNG or are put off by the cost — a CNG conversion kit costs about Dh12,000. Once installed, the driver has the option to use either CNG or petrol at the flip of a switch.
According to Adnoc, CNG makes economic sense, especially for cars covering high mileage such as taxis and couriers. For such vehicles, fuel costs can be reduced by 30 per cent and its owners can recover their initial installation costs within 18 months. –
Khaleej Times – Read more: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/nation/inside.asp?xfile=/data/nationgeneral/2014/May/nationgeneral_May108.xml§ion=nationgeneral

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New species added to the global list of invertebrates after discovery on Abu Dhabi's Al Wathba Wetland Reserve


posted on 13/05/2014

A new species has been added to the global list of invertebrates after it was unexpectedly discovered on Abu Dhabi's Al Wathba Wetland Reserve, during regular seasonal wildlife trapping carried out by researchers at the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD). The metallic-coloured Cuckoo Wasp (Hedychridium anithaae) measures just under 4 mms and has now been added to the list of hundreds of invertebrates already recorded on the reserve.
"This discovery further enhances Al Wathba Wetland Reserve's status as a biodiversity hotspot that must remain protected. The Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi is proud of this discovery and will continue to ensure the effective management and monitoring of species, water quality and vegetation on the reserve," said Dr. Shaikha Al Dhaheri, Executive Director of the Terrestrial and Marine Biodiversity Sector at EAD.
The species has been named Hedychridium anithaae, in honour of the scientist that discovered it, Dr. Anita Saji, Assistant Scientist at EAD.
Dr. Saji, who led the team and made the discovery, said: "This discovery indicates how much remains both unknown and unexplored from Abu Dhabi's biodiversity. To have this species named after me is a big honour and we are already preparing for further study of its biology," said Dr. Saji.
The Al Wathba Wetland Reserve (45 minutes away from Abu Dhabi and covers a total area of 5 km?) was declared a protected area by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in 1998. Sheikh Zayed's vision was to provide a suitable habitat for migratory birds and a breeding area for the Greater flamingo. The reserve has been managed by EAD ever since.
As a result of its ‘protected' status, Al Wathba has since become a safe breeding haven for the Greater Flamingo, which bred successfully for the first time on the reserve in 1998. Today, the reserve supports a rich variety of wildlife including 238 species of invertebrates, 11 mammals, 10 reptiles and more than 250 species of birds. The reserve is also rich in plant species, with 37 species having been documented.
In 2013, Al Wathba Wetland Reserve was recognised internationally and declared as a Ramsar site, the first in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. With this recognition, this site joins a prestigious list of over 2,000 other internationally recognised wetlands around the world. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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Abu Dhabi City Municipality beefs up fleet by 150 CNG-powered vehicles


posted on 11/05/2014

The Abu Dhabi City Municipality has added 150 natural gas-powered vehicles to its environment-friendly fleet as part of its strategic plan aimed conserving the environment, using clean energy sources, and measuring up to the international standards and requirements of sustainability. Othman Mohammed Sharif Fulathi, Director of Facilities and Security, Abu Dhabi City Municipality, said: "The new vehicles, powered by compressed natural gas (CNG), have been fitted with this technology in cooperation with the rental company (Lease Plan) specialised in fleet management solutions, under the supervision of ADNOC company. A large number of these vehicles have actually been fitted and a large portion of them have been deployed in service as of 20 April, and by 18 May, all of them will be up and running.
On August 1, 2013, the Municipality deployed 25 environment-friendly CNG-powered vehicles to its vehicles and plants fleet. A clearly defined plan has been mapped out for uplifting the number of environment-friendly vehicles in a record manner. The Municipality will continue with this improvement project till achieving advanced levels of using eco-friendly fuels.
"This initiative, rolled out by the Facilities and Security Division, Abu Dhabi City Municipality in the context of the Municipality's policy and endeavours to live up to the international environmental standards (ISO 14001, and ISO 50001), and fits well with the drive of Abu Dhabi Government to conserve the environment and achieve sustainable development as this project contributes to minimising the carbon footprint, and raising environmental awareness of the community.
"Likewise other vehicles and plants operating in the fleet of Abu Dhabi City Municipality, these vehicles are fitted with a GPS tracking system to track the vehicle's movement with a view to reducing consumption and ensuring the optimal use of vehicles. The plan also envisages holding awareness workshop about environment-friendly vehicles targeting employees and users of these vehicles in a bid to elucidate the government policy and drive in this field, besides familiarising them with the eco-friendly vehicles in general and natural gas-powered vehicles in particular." "The Facilities and Security Division manages other environment-friendly contracts represented in operating 10 golf cards and four forklifts, all powered by electricity,' he said. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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