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THE COUNTRY & THE ENVIRONMENT - ENVIRONMENT


Environment and Water Minister: Production of desalinated water reached 1.7 billion cubic metres in 2014


posted on 15/04/2015

DAEGU, GYEONGSANG, South Korea: Dr. Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water, has said that the pressure on the country's limited natural water reserves has intensified in recent years, largely due to economic development and population growth, adding that the provision of fresh water for the growing population is a major challenge.
In a speech during a round table discussion on integrated management of water resources, which is being held as part of the 7th World Water Forum in the city of Daegu, Gyeongsang, in South Korea, the Minister said that the total water demand in the country during 2014 amounted to about 4.2 billion cubic metres, while studies suggest it will double by 2030.
Dr. Rashid bin Fahad said that the UAE is located in a harsh and dry environment, where water resources are scarce, and that the government is seeking to meet the growing demand for water resources, which he said is not an easy task as relying on groundwater reserves is not sustainable.
The Minister added that the UAE government began to invest in the seawater desalination industry in the mid-sixties to support natural water resources. "We now have the second highest water desalination capacity in the world," he said, adding that the country's production of sweetened water reached 1.7billion cubic metres by 2014.
He went on to explain, "However, and despite this progress, the challenges we face to meet the future water requirements of economic, industrial and social development we are witnessing, is very large."
The Minister also said that the government, in 2010, developed a comprehensive strategic plan to preserve water resources, which included a detailed assessment of current water resources in the country in addition to an analysis of the key factors that affect future demand for water.
Dr. bin Fahad said that the UAE has made significant investments in the development of water technologies, and rationalisation in the agriculture sector. "For example, are working on the deployment of modern agricultural practices and the introduction of developed irrigation systems and techniques in order to develop a sustainable agricultural sector. We have also funded sewage projects and the re-use of wastewater," he said.
He added, "We seek to make the most of renewable energy utilisation and energy efficiency in potable water production and reprocessing, and we are currently making progress in response to the challenges we face," before adding, "Failure to meet those challenges would be an enormous burden on the nation and will affect its ability to strive towards sustainability."
In conclusion, Dr. bin Fahad stressed the importance of seizing opportunities to work with other countries to improve the exchange of information and the transfer of knowledge, and to work towards addressing issues related to the production of water, its quality, and maintaining water security for the good of nations and communities and making a real transition from water scarcity to water security. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395279259588.html

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Dubai to reduce carbon footprint


posted on 14/04/2015

Dubai is among the world's leaders in the promotion of sustainable energy as it steadily works to diminish its vast carbon footprint, according to the CEO of the Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence (DCCE).
The DCCE was founded in January 2011 by an agreement between the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and the UN Development Programme, with the mission of facilitating Dubai's transformation into a low carbon economy.
The UAE has one of the largest carbon footprints in the world. According to the 2015 UAE State of Energy Report, in 2010 the UAE produced just under 20 tonnes of CO2 emissions per person, a 63 per cent increase from 2000.
According to DCCE statistics, water and electricity generation accounts for 33 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in the UAE, followed closely by public and private road transportation, which is responsible for 22 percent.
Despite the enormity of the challenge, DCCE CEO Ivano Ianelli said that since it was founded, the organisation has made significant progress in its ability to track and monitor carbon emitters in Dubai, as well as in providing local partners with the knowledge and ability to do more with less resources.
"Dubai Carbon has made exceptional progress since its inception in 2011,” he said. "We focused on data-centric platforms such as GHG (greenhouse gas) inventories on geographical and sectorial bases. We also focus on knowledge management. Our greatest asset is making our partners succeed with their project, activities and strategies and their success allows for our growth.”
Ianelli noted that many UAE businesses are aggressively seeking out greater energy efficiency policies, which often have economic benefits.
"Businesses…are very determined to excel in this part of the world,” he said. "They might not be pursuing a CO2 reduction strategy because of their environmental commitment, but rather because they wish to be best in class, hence resource efficiency plays a pivotal role.”
Ianelli added that the behaviour of individuals and households is key to reducing the UAE's carbon footprint.
"There are plenty of ways individuals can help,” he said. "People can effectively reduce their emissions by using day to day necessities such as light, electricity and water more efficiently. Such small tweaks in one's daily life go a long way in reducing their emissions.”
"However, changing the behaviour of individuals within the UAE is seen as a bit of a challenge, given the somewhat different lifestyle that is lead here,” he added. Encouraging consumers to use less, consume less and waste less, is key to supporting the move to green economy. And I think we are making more and more of an impact.”
As part of their efforts, representatives from the DCCE will join a number of other sustainability-focused organisations for an Earth Day environmental conference on April 21st at the Alliance Francaise in Oud Metha.
Ianelli also said that Dubai is well placed to become a global leader in sustainability in the near future. "Dubai is an extremely competitive city and it has increasingly been placing sustainability among the priorities of its agenda for current and future projects,” he said. – Khaleej Times - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/biz/inside.asp?xfile=/data/uaebusiness/2015/April/uaebusiness_April132.xml§ion=uaebusiness

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Hamed bin Zayed meets Mayor of the South Korean city of Daegu


posted on 13/04/2015

DAEGU: H.H. Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chief of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court, has met with Kwon Young-jin, Mayor of the South Korean city of Daegu, on the sidelines of the 7th World Water Forum, which is being hosted in the city.
During the meeting, the two sides discussed friendly and cooperative relations between the UAE and South Korea and ways of enhancing them especially in the developmental, social, cultural, educational, industrial and investment fields.
Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, expressed his delight in visiting the city of Daegu, including witnessing a renaissance of industrial, scientific, cultural and historical landmarks. He highlighted the importance of strengthening cooperation between the two sides to take advantage of the resources available and mutual experiences in city development.
Sheikh Hamed praised Daegu's good organisation of the seventh World Water Forum and the successful management of its activities, and expressed his hope for international efforts to take effective action in addressing the challenges of water scarcity and achieve global water security.
The Mayor of Daegu city welcomed Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed and the UAE delegation to the forum, commending the UAE's projects and initiatives offered in the forum, and its fruitful cooperation with international bodies and institutions in the search for suitable alternatives for water and energy conservation through innovations and new technologies. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395279165595.html

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Hamed bin Zayed visits UAE pavilion at WWF in South Korea


posted on 13/04/2015

DAEGU: H.H. Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Chairman of the Crown Prince's Court of Abu Dhabi, visited the UAE pavilion at the 7th World Water Forum, WWF, which is being held in Daegu and Gyeongbuk, South Korea, between 12-17 April.
H.H. Sheikh Hamid was briefed on the UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science and its role in fighting drought and achieving water security.
The programme, an initiative launched by the Ministry of Presidential Affairs (MoPA) in 2015 and managed by the National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS), is aligned with the UAE's National Innovation Strategy.
The UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science is aimed at expanding global water security through promoting scientific best practices and collaboration in rain enhancement research. It works on identifying scientifically verified and sustainably implementable methods of enhancing precipitation to increase rainfall in the UAE, as well as other arid and semi-arid areas in the region.
The research programme also awards a total of US$5 million in prize money for five awards disbursed over a three-year period to encourage relevant research.
H.H. Sheikh Hamed also acquainted himself with the latest water and energy technologies being showcased at WWF, including the use of renewable energy by Abu Dhabi Masdar for innovative water and desalination technologies.
H.H. Sheikh Hamed expressed his delight at showcasing the UAE's initiatives at the World Water Forum and at the country's cooperation with the international community to find water security solutions and its vision for sustainability and future challenges linked to water, energy and the environment, three essential foundations for development, progress and prosperity.
He commended national agencies for participating in the international event and running programmes that serve the country's strategy for sustainability and innovation and encouraging different development initiatives.
H.H. Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed also visited the pavilions of a number of other countries and international corporations at the WWF.
He was accompanied by Dr. Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water; Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar, and Abdullah Khalfan Al Rumaithi, Ambassador of the UAE to South Korea. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395279170128.html

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UAE ecological footprint dropped to 7.75 hectares per person in 2014: Environment and Water Ministry


posted on 08/04/2015

The UAE ecological footprint dropped to 7.75 hectares per person last year, down from 11.68 hectares in 2006, the Ministry of Environment and Water has reported citing improved environmental sustainability through the country's adoption of the Ecological Footprint Initiative (EFI) in 2007.
The UAE is the third country in the world to do so after Switzerland and Japan.
According to the 2014 Living Planet Report, five countries – China, the United States, India, Brazil and Russia – account for 47.2 per cent of the world's ecological footprint.
Despite UAE urban growth, which brings more carbon emissions and a greater ecological footprint, efforts to promote a greener economy and environmental policies have improved the situation.
The ministry has set standards to ensure lighting product imports are energy-efficient, especially for residential buildings, which account for 57 per cent of the country's ecological footprint. The Government also aims to develop standards for fuel and cars, to reduce carbon emissions.
In 2012, the Green Applications Initiative was aimed at lowering power consumption at government buildings and the carbon footprint which accounts for 83 percent of the UAE ecological footprint.
Every two years, Global Footprint Network, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Zoological Society of London publish the Living Planet Report, the world's leading, science-based analysis on the health of our planet and the impact of human activity.
The Living Planet Report uses the Ecological Footprint and additional complementary measures to explore the changing state of global biodiversity and human consumption. The report documents the extent of human pressure on the planet, how that compares across nations, and how it is impacting the natural world.
The Living Planet Report 2014, released September 30, 2014, shows that humanity's demand on the planet is more than 50 percent larger than what nature can renew, jeopardising the well-being of humans as well as populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish.
Humanity's Ecological Footprint has more than doubled since 1961, according to the Living Planet Report. At the same time, vertebrate wildlife populations have declined, on average, by more than half in just four decades, as measured by the Living Planet Index.
The report says that it would take 1.5 Earths to produce the resources necessary to support humanity's current Ecological Footprint. This global "overshoot" means, for example, that we are cutting timber more quickly than trees re-grow and releasing CO2 faster than nature can sequester it.
The UAE government launched the Al Basma Al Beeiya (the Ecological Footprint in Arabic) Initiative in 2007 to understand the numbers and methodology behind the ranking and began a multi-stakeholder collaboration involving Global Footprint Network that continues today.
The Global Footprint Network says the launch of the Ecological Footprint Initiative set the UAE on a course to becoming the third country in the world, after Switzerland and Japan, to conduct in-depth research on its Ecological Footprint.
"One key point that jumps out is that the Living Planet Index (LPI), which measures more than 10,000 representative populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish, has declined by 52 per cent since 1970," said Marco Lambertini, Director-General of WWF International in his forward to the latest edition of the Living Planet Report.
Lambertini adds, "Put another way, in less than two human generations, population sizes of vertebrate species have dropped by half. These are the living forms that constitute the fabric of the ecosystems which sustain life on Earth – and the barometer of what we are doing to our own planet, our only home. We ignore their decline at our peril." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395279019133.html

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Key Sharjah government entities join hands in major green push


posted on 07/04/2015

Sharjah is set to become the launch pad for one of the biggest green initiatives in the region.
Green Middle East, which was started as the region's leading environmental management and technology exhibition and conference, will now offer a new benchmark for sustainable development initiatives in the region.
In its new format, Green Middle East, to be held at Expo Centre Sharjah from 16th to 19th December 2015, will be the only focused green event in the Middle East and will see key Sharjah government entities joining hands to make a greater impact in the country and the region.
"This is going to be one of the biggest green initiatives in the region. I am proud to note that Bee'ah, Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority, Sharjah Municipality, University of Sharjah and Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry have all come together to give the Green Middle East a new form, meaning and direction from this year onwards," said Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Owais, Chairman, Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
"Green Middle East 2015 will continue to have the patronage of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah. It will also boost the UAE's initiative to build a green economy, and facilitate export and re-export of green products and technologies and maintain a sustainable environment to support economic growth," added Al Owais.
Al Owais was speaking at a press conference held to announce the details of the new initiative at Expo Centre Sharjah on Monday. The press conference was also addressed by Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, CEO of Expo Centre Sharjah, Dr. Rashid Obaid Juma Al Leem, Chairman of Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority, SEWA, Hassan Al Taffaq, Assistant Director-General for Agriculture and Environment in Sharjah Municipality, Khalid Al Huraimel, Group CEO of Bee'ah, and Prof. Dr. Sabah Al Kass, Dean of College of Engineering, University of Sharjah.
"Expo Centre Sharjah is proud to note that Green Middle East is embarking on a new phase of development and growth. Since its launch in 2011, Green Middle East has successfully anchored the green initiatives being launched in the country. Now, in the new format, I am happy to see that Green Middle East will have one of the largest official mandates to steer the green drive in the country and beyond," said Al Midfa.
Green Middle East 2015, which was essentially a B2B event, will now have a B2C element that will promote eco-friendly products and services, as well as a conference component and a gala dinner and awards ceremony. – Emirates News Agency, WAM – http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395278957720.html

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Environment and Water Minister issues a decision on protecting wild plants in the country


posted on 03/04/2015

Dr. Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water, has issued a Decision regarding protecting wild plants in the UAE.
Decision No. 224 of 2015, comes in the framework of the Ministry's continued efforts in conservation of biodiversity and the protection of endangered species in the UAE, in order to promote environmental sustainability in line with the 2021 Vision.
Local authorities are allowed to issue licenses to transfer plant species and their derivatives, taking into consideration the need to put them in a similar environment to their own, to prevent any risk to human health or safety, as well as avoiding damage during the implementation of necessary infrastructure projects. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general/1395278821705.html

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Eye on Earth Summit in Abu Dhabi to boost environmental information for decision-makers


posted on 02/04/2015

Over 650 delegates from government, UN bodies, the non-governmental sector, private sector, academia and civil society will gather in Abu Dhabi between 6 and 8 October for the Eye on Earth Summit 2015, to bridge the information gap policy makers face in designing plans for sustainable development.
The experts gathered will explore solutions and actions necessary for greater access to, and sharing of, environmental, social and economic data to support sustainable development.
The Summit will address the profound impact that rapid economic and industrial development is having on natural resources, biodiversity and consumption patterns around the world.
Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary General Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, commented, "Sustainable development across the globe is being hindered because policy makers lack access to data that would improve decision-making.
"This Summit will develop ways of closing the data gap between what citizens and decision makers need to know, and what is available and accessible. It will look at solutions for greater access to, sharing and application of environmental, social and economic data through science, technology and citizen participation."
Eye on Earth is a collaborative effort between the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi through the Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI), and the Eye on Earth Alliance, a partnership of organisations that aim to build and mobilise global support for access to environmental data. As part of its ongoing expansion, the Alliance has recently grown to include, in addition to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the World Resources Institute (WRI).
Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director, said, "This year world leaders will convene for a number of major sustainable development events, among them the Summit for the Adoption of the post-2015 development agenda and the climate change conference in Paris.
"The decisions made at these meetings will shape the way forward on sustainable development and climate action for years to come.
"Partnerships such as Eye on Earth are living proof of the new frontiers in knowledge and data, as well as the leadership role that Abu Dhabi has shown in this endeavour."
The announcement of the Summit dates follows a meeting of representatives from the Eye on Earth community in Bonn, Germany to provide input into the development of indicators to track some of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and to discuss how to support the data and information needed to implement them. A set of 17 goals with 169 targets, the SDGs cover a broad range of sustainable development issues, including ending poverty and hunger, improving health and education, making cities more sustainable, combating climate change, and protecting oceans and forests.
A global audience will participate in the Summit and contribute to the dialogue via online and social media tools. Information on how to take part in the event will be shared via the Eye on Earth website. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395278749644.html

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Ministry of Environment uses drones for inspecting quarries


posted on 30/03/2015

The Ministry of Environment and Water has started using drones to monitor the work of crushers and quarries in various emirates in the UAE in line with government directives on ensuring a sustainable environment.
Ganem Al Shamsi, Assistant Undersecretary of the external monitoring sector at the ministry, stressed that the ministry has adopted the use of drones in the framework of its ongoing efforts to regulate the work of crushers and quarries in order to enhance environmental sustainability.
He explained that on the basis of the government's move towards smart transformation embodying the initiative of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and his declaration of 2015 as the year of innovation, the ministry launched this initiative for the development of monitoring and inspection in the quarrying process.
He added that the use of the new technique will ensure that there are no violations of the legislative provisions. He also stressed the ministry's keenness on launching these initiatives and projects within the strategic plan to improve the environmental performance and enhance the environmental sustainability to be consistent with the indicators of the national agenda of the UAE's 2021 vision. http://gulfnews.com/news/uae/government/ministry-of-environment-uses-drones-for-inspecting-quarries-1.1481244

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EAD publishes ‘Water in the Arab world’ educational guide book


posted on 24/03/2015

The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, EAD, has published an information and educational guide book on water activities in the Arab world on the occasion of World Water Day.
EAD's water awareness programme is being implemented through United Nations Organisation for Education, Science and Culture, UNESCO's Associated Schools Project Network, ASPnet, and is supervised by the organisation in Paris and its regional office in Amman, Jordan, in close cooperation with the United Arab Emirates National Commission for Education, Culture and Science.
Part of a regional initiative designed to promote education in sustainable development in the Arab world, the water awareness programme aims to encourage youth to address various environmental issues and equip them with the necessary tools to protect the environment.
The guide book is a key part of the project, and is a tool that enables teachers and students to carry out water educational activities and programmes that have been delivered within the UNESCO network.
Fozeya Ibrahim Al Mahmoud, Director of Environmental Outreach at EAD, said, "EAD took the lead in the planning and development of a water educational programme for the UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network in the Arab world, because of our extensive experience in delivering engaging and impactful environmental education initiatives. This programme concludes the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014), and the International Decade for Action 'Water for Life'. EAD's initiative saw the participation and support from over 75 specialised teachers from 12 countries across the Arab world."
Al Mahmoud stressed the urgency of addressing water issues and challenges in the Arab world, highlighting that the region is suffering from water scarcity. The Arab world covers 10% of the world's surface and receives only 2% of the global average rainfall and an estimated 0.3% of renewable water resources in the world annually. As a result, education and awareness plays a vital role in engaging students to address these regional challenges.
Al Mahmoud also highlighted that the current guide book will serve as an additional, multi-disciplinary resource for schools, integrating new practical learning and teaching methods to build knowledge and raise public awareness of water related issues. EAD has already held several training workshops on the guide book to educators in the participating countries.
Amal Al Koos, Assistant Under-Secretary for Activities and School Environment at the Ministry of Education, Acting Secretary-General at the National Commission for Education, Culture and Science, said, "The concept of UNESCO's ASPnet has changed along with the schools' messages and objectives. This became clear during the discussions witnessed at the World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development, held in Japan a month ago. The new approach is to instil sustainability concepts, not only in UNESCO schools but across all schools at different stages, and introduce them at the heart of the educational process, practices and activities, in addition to the school administrations and curriculums and professional development for educators."
Al Koos also highlighted that UNESCO schools, and modern schools in general, are now working towards achieving a strategic goal of providing students with the required 21st century skills, technology, means of communication and the scientific potential to help them keep up with their time and the course of their future.
Al Koos commended EAD's efforts in raising local and regional awareness around environmental issues and challenges that communities face, as well as its ongoing commitment in addressing key environmental issues locally, regionally, and internationally. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395278310683.html

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Minister of Environment and Water issues statement on World Water Day


posted on 22/03/2015

In a renewed emphasis on the importance of water resources in the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environment, the UAE and other world countries will observe World Water Day on Sunday under the theme, 'Water and Sustainable Development.' Dr. Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water, said in a statement that water is not only the most important natural resource, but also the most precious, being the mainstay of life and basis for development.
"Overexploitation of this precious resource threatens its continuation, a move that could have adverse effects on economy, health and environment, especially in the light of increasing pressures and challenges on water resources posed by the growth of population and economy, climate change and consumption patterns," he added.
The Minister noted that given the fact that the distribution of water in the world is uneven at the global, continental, geographical or population levels, the majority of developing countries whose economies depend mainly on agriculture will be frequently exposed to economic, social and food crises as a result of the continuing pressure on water resources and in turn will reflect on global food security.
He added that though the water-scarce countries are the most affected by the pressures faced by water resources, the water-abundant countries are also not completely immune from the pressures, particularly those related to climate change, noting that freshwater resources in many of these countries are vulnerable to degradation and pollution.
With regard to the UAE, the Minister pointed out that the UAE is one of the water-scarce countries due to lack of rainfall and high temperature. However, the vital sectors benefiting from water resources in the UAE have not suffered in any way due to lack of water to meet their water requirements, thanks to the wise policies pursued by our wise leadership led by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, about adopting strategic water desalination policies.
The desalinated water accounts for about 42 per cent of water production capacity, and comes second as a water supply resource, the first being groundwater which accounts for 98 per cent of the municipal sector's water needs.
World Water Day has been observed since 22nd March, 1993 when the United Nations General Assembly declared the day as "World Day for Water." This day was first formally proposed in Agenda 21 of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Observance of the day began in 1993, and has grown significantly ever since for the general public to show support. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395278244957.html

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EAD, Jane Goodall Institute partner to bring youth-led community action programme to Abu Dhabi


posted on 17/03/2015

The Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi, EAD, in partnership with world-renowned conservationist, anthropologist and UN messenger of peace, Dr. Jane Goodall, has brought the global environmental and humanitarian initiative, ‘Roots & Shoots', to Abu Dhabi.
Active in over 130 countries, ‘Roots & Shoots' was designed to shape a generation of inspired youth with the knowledge and skills to create meaningful change and live sustainably.
Through the programme, young people assess their local community and identify specific challenges their neighbourhoods face. They prioritise issues, develop solutions and take positive action in activities and projects that benefit animals, the environment, and society as a whole. Today, the global ‘Roots & Shoots' network comprises more than 150,000 members from kindergarten to university.
The creation of a local chapter of the initiative follows the successful completion of a 2014 pilot that included New York University Abu Dhabi, American Community School, British International School of Abu Dhabi, Emirates Private School, Al Muna School, Al Mushrif School, Indian School and Bangladeshi School.
Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, EAD's Secretary-General, commented, "Through ‘Roots & Shoots', our youth have the unique opportunity to lead a wave of change for people, wildlife and the environment. This is exactly what our community, our nation and our world needs more of. Since EAD was first established, we have placed great emphasis on engaging with youth not just because of their power to initiate change but because the decisions we make now will have a profound impact on the world that they inherit."
"Dr. Goodall's ‘Roots & Shoots' programme not only engages, it empowers our youth to create community-based solutions to big challenges. EAD is proud to partner with Dr. Goodall's programme and see it grow and take shape in Abu Dhabi," she added.
Speaking about this partnership, Dr. Jane Goodall said, "Our work in Abu Dhabi has been exciting and rewarding. The work of the young people is resourceful and engaging. It proves our philosophy that every individual can make a difference every day through simple every day actions and choices for the future protection of our planet. We look forward to continued success in the UAE".
EAD has designed, developed and managed the roll-out of award winning, environment-focused education programmes in schools and universities, including the Sustainable Schools Initiative, the Annual Enviro-Spell-a-thon, the Annual Environment Competition and the Sustainable Campus Initiative. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395277986597.html

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Minister of Environment confirms UAE interest in issues of Disaster Risk Reduction


posted on 16/03/2015

SENDAI - JAPAN: Dr. Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water has confirmed the UAE's continuous interest in issues of risk and disaster reduction and joint teamwork in accordance with strategies and goals Dr. Rashid pointed to the UAE's keenness on keeping abreast of developments at regional and international levels and an unwavering commitment to the Hyogo framework to reduce the risk.
Bin Fahad, Head of the UAE's delegation participating in the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held from 14th to 18th March, 2015, in Sendai City, Japan, in a speech yesterday conveyed the greetings of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and his wishes for the success of the conference and its desired results for the benefit of the peoples of the world.
He referred to the UAE's keenness to be present in various international events, especially those pertaining to emergency management and disaster reduction.
Bin Fahid added that the UAE is participating in the conference to improve a post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction and upgrading the communities and people to enable them to deal with disaster risk.
He touched on the future strategy of the UAE in relation to emergency, crisis and disaster management, and some of the proposals that he hopes would contribute to making the global community more resilient.
The Minister of Environment and Water said that thanks to the depth of insight of the State's government, the United Arab Emirates today plays a leading role in the field of renewable energy and climate change, where the efforts made in this regard resulted in the success of the country to rank in third position according to the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21) in its published 2014 annual report. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395277952578.html

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EAD calls on photographers to participate in Al Wathba Photography Competition


posted on 11/03/2015

The Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi, EAD, is now receiving submissions for the Al Wathba Photography Competition, which was launched via its Instagram account in early February.
The competition, which runs until April 30th, aims to encourage professional and amateur photographers to capture creative images that reflect Al Wathba Wetland Reserve's natural beauty and rich biodiversity. Participants will be able to visit the recently-opened reserve to learn more about the rich biodiversity it embraces, and enjoy watching flamingo flocks in close proximity.
Khansa Ibraheem Al Blouki, Section Manager-Environmentally Sustainable Communities and Living Environmental Information, Science and Outreach Management at EAD, said, "The competition aims to encourage professional and amateur photographers to document the UAE's natural environment by highlighting Al Wathba Wetland Reserve as one of the Emirate's important ecosystems, providing a safe haven for Abu Dhabi's local biodiversity across air, land and sea." "Abu Dhabi's natural environment is blessed with rich biodiversity. Through launching this competition, we seek to highlight our natural heritage and contribute to raising environmental awareness. The competition also provides an opportunity for the community to re-connect with nature and learn more about EAD's initiatives in protecting the emirate's biodiversity," added Al Blouki. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general/1395277720571.html

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Emirates "A Greener Tomorrow" initiative enters its second year


posted on 06/03/2015

Emirates has announced the continuation of its ‘A Greener Tomorrow' initiative for a second year, allocating US$150,000 to support environmental or conservation-based not-for-profit organisations in safeguarding their local environment.
With three finalists winning the award last year, Emirates is hoping to attract even more organisations who have innovative ideas and solutions in the areas of conservation or environmental protection. Funds for ‘A Greener Tomorrow' have been raised through internal recycling programmes across the Emirates Group.
Organisations are invited to submit project plans describing their project and the impact it will have on the local environment. Applications will then be assessed by a committee within Emirates Group comprised of Senior Executives and members of the Environment team. Submissions that meet the awarding criteria and clear the first committee review will be invited to the second stage, where they will present their project proposal in detail to the committee for final review.
"It has been extremely rewarding to see the impact the first ‘A Greener Tomorrow' initiative had on the organisations and the people they support. We hope the continuation of the project will encourage other organisations around the world to share their ideas and partner with Emirates in our effort to promote sustainability," said Will Lofberg, Vice President of International, Government and Environment Affairs.
He added, "Supporting environment and conservation organisations that give back to their local communities aligns with our values at Emirates and we are excited to see how this year's collaboration will help to conserve our environment." When the project was first launched, more than 400 organisations globally were nominated for the award by passengers, Emirates' social media network, universities, environmental and conservation organisations and the general public. Applications came from countries across the Emirates network and beyond, and spanned environmental initiatives such as animal, land and tree conservation, biogas, environmental research, and green transportation. The applications were of such a high standard that Emirates awarded the funding to three separate projects.
The recipients of last year's awards addressed a diverse range of issues, from fuel-efficient cooking in Malawi, eco-villages and sustainable farming practices in Pakistan, and the conversion of Manila's iconic ‘jeepneys' into battery-operated versions that reduce emissions in the city.
Application forms must be submitted before 10th April 2015. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395277507052.html

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UAE, Korea discuss stronger cooperation on food security, sustainable development


posted on 05/03/2015

Dr. Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water, and South Korea's Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Lee Dong-phil, on Wednesday met to discuss ways of bolstering and promoting cooperation on food security and sustainable development in the service of the interests of their two countries.
During the meeting, Minister Bin Fahad stressed the UAE's interest in developing relations with South Korean in various spheres.
The two parties discussed Korean food exports to the UAE, the exchange of expertise and knowledge in areas relating to agriculture and modern equipment.
He also highlighted that the UAE has advanced infrastructure that has contributed to increasing food exports to Asia and Northern Africa.
The two parties also viewed their future plans and efforts to bolster sustainable development.
They agreed to prepare a memorandum of understanding on enhancing cooperation in sectors such as agriculture, food production and scientific research.
For his part, the South Korean minister expressed his country's interest in promoting trade and cooperation with the UAE.
He also praised the UAE for its notable efforts and food imports, exports and re-exports. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395277473910.html

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EPPA opens Botanical Garden in Sharjah


posted on 15/02/2015

In celebrations of the eighteenth National Environment day (green economy innovator — sustainability), the Sharjah Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPPA) has opened the Botanical Garden in the Natural History & Botanical Museum (Sharjah Desert Park).
Hana Al Suwaidi, Chairperson of Sharjah Environment and Protected Areas Authority Said: "Concurring with the national environment day celebration, Sharjah Environment opened the Botanical Garden, the first of its kind in the UAE with 3,000 local plants from 87 types like Al Ashkhar, Al Ghaf, Torfa, Seder, Remeth, Shoa, Ara and Arfaj, and the garden is a symbol of the important researches in the Emirate of Sharjah done by researchers interested in local plants.”
She added: "The Botanical Garden is equipped over three years where we've planted those plants in basins containing special soil, other types of local plants have been grown without basins where they can adapt in all kinds of environment and we provided soil types that help plants live.
"Salt and limestone soils and soil zones of silt and soil of the coastal plain have been taken from different areas in Sharjah such as Khor fakkan, Al dhaid, Al Mesnad and the coast of Al Hamriya.” – The Gulf Today - http://gulftoday.ae/portal/600e4b40-f55a-4d3d-bc37-832058e99a0d.aspx

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EAD - a sustainable effort


posted on 13/02/2015

Established in 1996 to promote a balance between the economic, social and environmental aspects of sustainable development, the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) has since become an award-winning institution that is at the cutting-edge of global green initiatives, as envisioned by its pioneers, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed AI Nahyan, according to a publication of the Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development, ADCED.
An article by Vishwas Kulkani in the latest issue of ADCED's journal, 'Economic Review', says that EAD, with the support and guidance of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed AI Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and EAD's Honorary Chairman of the EAD, is developing a framework that will provide the emirate, its institutions and its citizens with the legal and technical instruments to protect, develop and conserve its natural heritage.
In 2013, the EAD implemented a comprehensive groundwater and marine water quality monitoring programme and 440 groundwater wells were added to EAD's monitoring network resulting in a comprehensive, transnational system. In addition, the Marine Water Quality Index and Water Quality Portal were established reduce water pollution, the report said.
EAD's pioneering 'Blue Carbon' project has also provided environmentalists and regulators with an unprecedented understanding of how Abu Dhabi's coastal and marine ecosystems play a critical role in fighting climate change. In the same year, the EAD-managed AI Wathba Wetland Reserve was officially declared a Ramsar site by the Convention of Wetlands of International Importance. Currently, 13.5 per cent of Abu Dhabi Emirate's total area is included marine protected zones while 14.6 per cent comprises terrestrial protected areas.
The article noted that the federal Ministry of Environment and Water is working closely with EAD to protect marine life and ensure sustainable fishing industry. It quoted Dr Rashid Ahmad Bin Fahd, Minister of Environment and Water, as saying that, "Gulf fish stocks are facing a decline due to human pressures. Hamour and cobia are some of the local fish that are most exploited in the region. " EAD, Bin Fahd said, " estimates that the rate at which hamour are caught is six to seven times in excess of sustainable levels. We are working on amending existing laws related to the exploitation of fish that we pIan on raising to the National Council. We are also working on the Sheikh Khalifa Marine Research hatcheries in Umm al-Qaiwain that will produce valuable local fish fingerlings and reintroduce them in lagoons and marine conservations." EAD has also taken steps to implement new environmentally-friendly policies in other areas, the article noted, mentioning the draft of a strategic plan on air quality and noise, submitted last year to the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, and commencement of work on the second phase of its waste strategy, focusing on nuclear waste and that from the oil and gas sector. Elsewhere in the industrial sector, EAD has successfully implemented the Eltezam campaign in the Ready-Mix sector to raise awareness of the importance of limiting the amount of Particulate Matter (PM) emitted into the atmosphere.
"As the Emirate of Abu Dhabi continues to develop, it becomes even more critical that EAD strengthen its regulatory and enforcement framework and continue to consolidate knowledge and data for more informed decisions," the article quoted Mohammed Ahmed Al Bowardi, Managing Director of EAD, as saying.
Reviewing the agency's 2013 activities, the article noted that during that year, EAD has issued a total of 3,992 permits relating to the environment, groundwater wells and chemical trading stores, had carried out 637 inspections of facilities and had inspected all groundwater wells to ensure compliance.
Water scarcity is high on EAD's agenda, the article said, with around 30 per cent of the water supply comes from desalination, a number that is set to rise due to economic and population growth. Abu Dhabi's total consumption of water resources reached up to 3.3 billion cubic metres in 2011 and it is expected that the demand for water will increase up to about five billion cubic metres by 2030.
"The demand for water is so high and the recharge rate so low that we know our use of groundwater is unsustainable. The issue of water scarcity and water security is only getting more urgent. Today we have less water in our aquifers than we did last year and we are therefore one year closer to running out," Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary General of EAD, was quoted as saying.
"Fortunately, in the UAE, we have the financial resources to desalinate water for drinking and sanitation, but our groundwater resources are critical for our agriculture as well as to support our natural ecosystem, on which new economic sectors such as tourism rely," Al Mubarak said. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395276451612.html

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Khalifa calls for positive contributions to shoulder responsibilities regarding environment conservation


posted on 04/02/2015

President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has called on society to contribute positively in shouldering its responsibility to preserve the environment.
His Highness Sheikh Khalifa affirmed, "National Environment Day, organised by the UAE for the 18th year in a row, is an important occasion when the UAE's government and people renew their national and moral commitment to preserve our environmental resources." In his speech on the occasion of the UAE's celebrations of the 18th National Environment Day, which falls on the 4th of February every year, the UAE President added, "We pay much interest to the National Environment Day when, through official and public efforts, we shed light on the environmental field and give ultimate importance to the issue." He added, "The organisers of the event have chosen the right slogan for it, which is, "Green Economy Innovation and Sustainability" for three years in a row. The management of the economy's green sustainability aims at preserving the environmental and heritage resources, protection of our daily lives and securing all factors that contribute to prosperity, health and stability of every individual, as well as ensuring protection of the rights of the coming generations." His Highness Sheikh Khalifa called upon officials dealing with environmental affairs to reform policies and legislation regarding the economic work which will result in monitoring human, urban and industrial activities that lead to an increase of carbon emissions and pollution, and, at the same time, they should encourage economic activities which depend on clean renewable energy that does not increase global warming risks or threaten the country's biodiversity.
His Highness Sheikh Khalifa added, "This call is aimed to support the UAE's national initiative, launched in 2012, to make our country a pioneer in the green economy field and a hub for export and re-export of green products and technologies." At the end of his speech, Sheikh Khalifa praised the efforts exerted by the participating individuals, institutions and departments in organisation and success of the event, urging all segments of society to contribute effectively towards preserving and developing the environment and its components. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395275988906.html

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Statement of Ministry of Environment and Water on 18th National Environment Day


posted on 04/02/2015

Dr. Rashid Ahmed Bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water, confirmed that the strong commitment and continuous support of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and Supreme Council Members, Their Highnesses Rulers of the Emirates, in preserving and developing the environment, have had a deep impact on the preservation of the environment as seen today across the public and private sectors; also on maximising the value of the environmental dimension within all our developmental plans and further improving our global position.
In a statement on occasion of the 18th National Environment Day, Bin Fahad expressed his deepest thanks and gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Khalifa for sponsoring this occasion which falls today (4th of February, 2015) under the theme ‘The Green Economy: Innovation and Sustainability'.
Bin Fahad added that the UAE National Environment Day is an important national occasion to recall the environmental monuments of the environment and development man, the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE; a man who inspired us by his inimitable vision towards building a prosperous and sustainable future for present and future generations.
He continued, "The event's theme connecting Green Economy with Innovation underlines the importance of innovation in implementing this approach. The green economy is an innovative concept whose success largely depends on the use of innovative tools, practices and solutions to overcome the world's growing environmental and economic challenges.
The reliance of economic development on conventional means and the traditional methods of work as in the past decades have only led to creating more environmental and economic crises. The attempts made by the international community since the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED – Earth Summit) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil more than 20 years ago to harmonise between environment and development, have not yet achieved the desired expectations.
As so, the UAE's adoption of the Green Economy concept as part of the UAE Green Growth Strategy and in line with the UAE Vision 2021, represents a new approach towards bringing environment and development into harmony and building a robust, stable, sustainable and environmentally friendly economy as well as establish a platform that supports economic growth by leveraging on the leading and innovative tools and policies which the UAE adopted few years ago across various developmental segments such as energy, water, transportation, environment and urban planning.
He added "The announcement of 2015 as the Year of Innovation by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa, and the launch of the National Innovation Strategy by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, in October 2014 reflect how the UAE gives serious consideration to the subject of innovation and creativity, and at the same time represent a key driver for the national efforts towards the transformation into a green economy. Nonetheless, the UAE ranking first worldwide for stimulating innovation in the economy according to the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer is a vital indicator of the promising opportunities we offer to facilitate and speed up efforts to transform our national economy into a green and sustainable economy through the use of current and future innovative technology tools and practices.
Bin Fahad explained that the UAE has already come a long way in setting the right ambiance to shift to a green economy, pointing out to the relevant annual conferences which the Ministry of Environment and Water has been organising since 2008, in addition to the leading policies and innovative options which the country adopted in the past years such as renewable energy, clean energy, green building, cleaner production, sustainable transportation, efficient use of resources and many more.
He also pointed out to the country's effective contributions to support the international efforts for promotion of this approach, having hosted the First Global Conference on UN Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) in March 2014 in Dubai in cooperation with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and other UN specialised agencies. The country also launched the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) Regional Office. These efforts and policies formed a strong foundation to confidently move forward with the implementation of the green economy approach.
The Minister also talked about that the 2015 UAE State of Green Economy Report which was issued last month during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week and documents the country's progress towards transformation into a green economy in line with the UAE Green Growth Strategy. The report provides a clear image of this approach and its pivotal role in driving sustainable development, also pointing out to the important steps that the country's public and private sectors have made in this regards to lift the UAE's leading international position which is highly evident through benchmarking based on the objective performance indicators used in the report.
Bin Fahad added that the Ministry of Environment and Water has worked throughout the past two years in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and in consultation with relevant entities from both the public and private sectors, to set up the necessary plans to implement the UAE Green Growth Strategy.
The Ministry set up the Green Agenda which offers an integrated framework to shift to a green economy. The Agenda focuses on five main guidelines that were determined based on the directives of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa during his speech in the occasion of the 17th National Environment Day, as well as on the objectives of the UAE Green Growth Strategy and the National Agenda of the UAE Vision 2021 and on the results of the economic, social and environmental studies which were conducted as part of this agenda.
The guidelines are competitive knowledge economy, social development and quality of life, sustainable environment and value of natural resources, clean energy and climate change, and green life and optimal use of resources. In addition to all that, the Agenda also suggests a variety of national programs to help achieve these strategic guidelines across the different economic and developmental sectors.
The Agenda further includes a framework for the necessary performance indicators to measure the progress of local transformation into a greener economy, and which were determined by taking into consideration the most important international references and reports of industry-related international organisations.
Bin Fahad concluded his statement by emphasising the importance of joining national efforts to implement the UAE Green Growth Strategy and optimise its role in reaching the objectives of sustainable development as the cornerstone of the UAE Vision 2021.
Bin Fahad finally commended the extensive efforts made by all relevant entities in the UAE to protect the environment and manage all environmental systems and natural resources in order to maintain a greener economy for the present and future generations. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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Wadi Wurayah, UAE’s rare natural beauty


posted on 02/02/2015

Wadi Wurayah National Park, a rare beauty and gem nestled on the Hajar Mountain range and crafted by nature for millions of years, now boasts 860 recorded species, including 19 mammals, 17 reptiles, 3 fishes, 94 birds and other invertebrates.
"The Hajar Mountains have been recognised as a specific habitat which has a group of species living together. This is the Arabian highlands and shrub lands ecosystem, so this is rare, and it's well representative of this particular ecosystem, with different species that are well adapted to the aridity of the region because you have low rainfall," Dr. Jacky Judas, Research Manager at the park told Gulf News daily.
Wadi Wurayah, which derived its name from ‘wurayah', the Arabic word for reeds, is the country's first Mountain Protected Area as declared by His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Fujairah, in March 2009.
Wadi Wurayah has a rich ecological and archaeological importance.
Recent wildlife surveys show that 22 of the 30 known dragonflies worldwide can be found here. A dragonfly called Urothemis thomasi, which sports a bright red orange body and tail, has been spotted in the wadi. It is considered a species new to the UAE, only previously recorded in a few sites in Oman. It was thought to be extinct and has not been recorded anywhere since 1957.
The presence of these dragonflies and damselflies signifies that the water that streams through the wadi is of good quality as they require pristine water to thrive. They are also a good indication of the quality of the habitat.
Wadi Wurayah, a permanent freshwater stream bed, contains 371 separate streams running a total of 301km that branch out from six main wadis, according to the Hydrological Sciences Journal.
"This piece of the Hajar Mountains, between Oman and the UAE, is the biggest exposed ophiolite complex in the world. It's like heaven for geologists because you come here and you see everything as it is," Maral Chreiki, Conservation and Operation Manager of Wadi Wurayah National Park, told the daily.
Apart from its geological importance, Wadi Wurayah has a rich archaeological and ecological importance. Archaeological sites discovered in the wadi date as far back as 300BC. Even the country's oldest mosque, the Al Bidiya Mosque, is located just 2km from the park's border.
"Civilisations started in rich areas like this and this is what we should be proud of. We should protect it for the next generations, for the future," Chreiki noted. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/environment/wadi-wurayah-uae-s-rare-natural-beauty-1.1446447

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UAE marks World Wetlands Day on Monday


posted on 02/02/2015

The UAE will join the international community in observing the World Wetlands Day which falls on February 2.
This day marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar. The World Wetlands Day 2015 is being held under the theme 'Wetlands for Our Future – Join us!' Dr. Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water, said in a statement to mark the day that the concerned authorities in the UAE were making tremendous efforts to protect and conserve biodiversity in general and terrestrial and marine protected areas, and wetlands in particular.
He indicated that collective national plans would have a positive impact on these ecosystems and their economic value and services as well as their economic, social and environmental benefits.
He noted that these efforts had paid off and helped the UAE's biodiversity and habitat to advance in the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) rankings from 33rd to 15th place between 2012 and 2014.
He added that five wetlands in the UAE have been designated as sites of international importance by the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (the Ramsar Convention) since it became a member in 2007. The five wetlands have a total surface area of more than 20,000 hectares.
Ramsar is an intergovernmental treaty which provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.
The Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary in Dubai became the first UAE wetland to be named by Ramsar as a site of international importance. Later, Wadi Wurayah National Park in Fujairah, Al Wathba Wetland Reserve in Abu Dhabi and the Mangrove Protected Area in Khor Kalba, Sharjah, were added to the Ramsar list.
He said that the National Strategy for Biodiversity and National Strategy Sustainability of Marine and Coastal Environments, both developed by the ministry in partnership with other stakeholders, would play a significant role in the development, conservation and protection of these wetlands in order to adapt to human and natural challenges by 2021.
The minister said the UAE in November 2014 launched two innovative initiatives UAE Smart Map of Natural Capital and the National Program of Sustainable Wildlife initiative to promote efforts to protect the UAE's ecosystems and achieve national strategies concerning biodiversity, the marina and coastal sustainability and stem desertification in consistence with the UAE Vision 2021. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395275896016.html

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Free Nol cards worth Dh100k for Dubai's Car Free Day


posted on 30/01/2015

Nol cards worth Dh100, 000 will be given away for free to thousands of Dubai Metro users on February 4 to support the 6th Car-Free Day being celebrated by the Dubai Municipality.
Commuters heading to work on the Metro will be given Gold and Silver Nol cards charged with different amounts, a senior official told Khaleej Times on Wednesday.
Salem bin Mesmar, assistant director-general of Dubai Municipality for health, safety and environment monitoring sector, said teams of Dubai Municipality employees will be placed in Metro stations to distribute the cards that are sponsored by Emirates Islamic Bank.
Speaking after a press conference held to announce the details of this year's Car Free Day, he said commuters will have to show their work ID to prove that they are using the public transport on the day of the event.
The Dubai Municipality has been giving free Nol cards to its employees who regularly use the Metro to work. However, this is the first time the civic body is giving away the same to general commuters to mark Car Free Day. – Khaleej Times - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/kt-article-display-1.asp?xfile=data/transport/2015/January/transport_January25.xml§ion=transport

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Car Free Day in Dubai: 7,000 drivers to stay off roads


posted on 29/01/2015

More than 7,000 private cars will not be used on Car Free Day on February 4 to raise environmental awareness, encourage public transport use and reduce pollution and traffic, Dubai Municipality announced on Wednesday.
Employees from 200 government departments, educational establishments, and private companies have already pledged not to use their cars on the day. There will be even fewer cars on the road with some private residents joining the campaign.
The annual event this year also coincides with National Environment Day, heightening the emphasis on protection of the environment.
Vehicles are the main source of air pollutants, accounting for 15 to 20 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions worldwide, the municipality noted.
More than 2,000,000 vehicles use Dubai roads every day, exceeding the road capacity network, it added.
"As far as global statistics are concerned, there are around 10,000 to 24,000 deaths per year due to traffic congestion, which almost doubles the effect of air pollutants on public health,” the municipality said.
In a statement, the civic body added that a World Health Organisation study found the number of deaths attributed to diseases caused by air pollutants in Austria, Switzerland and France has exceeded 21,000 per year. This is more than the number of deaths caused by traffic accidents in these three countries.
Also, the particle pollution PM10 generated from vehicles lead to 10,000 deaths annually as a result of cardio and lung diseases caused by inhalation of this type of air pollutant.
The reduction in carbon dioxide emissions through the five editions of the Dubai initiative has reached 20 tonnes. One tonne of these emissions exceeds the size of a double-decker bus.
The latest edition was announced during a press conference on Wednesday at the municipality's main building in Deira.
Hussain Lootah, Director-General of Dubai Municipality, said the initiative presented "a great opportunity to highlight the commitment of all stakeholders towards preserving the environment and adopting environment-friendly practices”.
On February 4, an exhibition will also be held at the parking lot of the municipality main building to showcase products, projects and research regarding environment-friendly practices.
The imitative will also hopefully lead to other emirates adopting a similar campaign, added Salem bin Mesmar, assistant director-general, environment, health and safety control sector, Dubai Municipality. – Gulf News - http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/car-free-day-in-dubai-7-000-drivers-to-stay-off-roads-1.1448006

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Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi introduces another ‘first’ with smart-monitoring for forests


posted on 22/01/2015

The Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi, EAD, will be introducing smart monitoring for the over 228,000 hectares of forestry it is managing.
This was announced at the International Water Summit (IWS), currently taking place at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) between 19th and 22nd of January as part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2015.
Earlier this week, EAD had announced its commitment to reduce the use of groundwater by 80% in forestry by 2030, in line with its mandate to promote the conservation of Abu Dhabi's natural heritage across land, air and sea.
In the Khub Al Dahs Forest, near Madinat Zayed, the capital of Abu Dhabi's Western Region, EAD is operating an experimental demonstration site where it is studying the water requirements of Al Ghaf trees using technology that measures ‘sap flow'.
These model studies, along with similar studies on palm trees at the International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture, are aiming to establish new benchmarks for forestry and agriculture management in Abu Dhabi.
Forestry is currently irrigated with groundwater and consumes about 11% of Abu Dhabi's current water budget, these studies are therefore of fundamental importance given water scarcity in the emirate.
The EAD monitoring shows that if extraction and consumption continues unchecked, Abu Dhabi's usable supply of groundwater will be depleted within only 50 years.
Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary General of EAD, commented, "Our objective is to ensure that only recycled water is used for irrigation, while conserving groundwater resources. We are working with other agencies and are developing distribution infrastructures to capture recycled water at treatment plants and deliver it to forests throughout the emirate.
The performance of the forestry sector will be closely monitored in terms of infrastructure protection, biodiversity promotion, and recreation as well as enhancing quality of life and securing cultural heritage. Once the water requirements of the studied trees are known, EAD will use it's customised ‘forest irrigation management tool' alongside smart water meters to establish strict water guidelines for its forests. The calculator will determine a monthly, seasonal and annual water allocation for individual forests based on these sap flow studies." Al Mubarak added, "The forest irrigation management tool was developed in the emirate for the emirate. These are not international guidelines, but actual requirements of crops and trees grown inside the UAE." Wafa Faisal Al Yamani, Assistant Scientist – Soils, Environment Quality at EAD explained, "The forest irrigation management tool will allow EAD to tailor irrigation approaches for specific forests based on tree species, local climate and soil properties, and to forecast growth rates and productivity indices of these trees grown with recycled water and sometimes saline water." "It means that we will be able to carefully manage our forests and our groundwater," added Al Yamani. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –
http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general/1395275401699.html

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