UAE’s environmental record impressive - GulfToday

UAE’s environmental record impressive

UAE Environment

The photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

The honour for the UAE at the Cannes Film Festival is clear-cut evidence of the fact that it is spearheading a radical shift in attitudes towards ecological issues.

The UAE was named Country of Honour 2019, a distinction conferred by the Monaco Better World Forum, MBWF, a global platform of thought leaders and influencers dedicated to innovating and enhancing the standard approaches to humanitarian aid, business best practices, biodiversity preservation, and environmental conservation.

The accolade recognises the UAE’s outstanding commitment to climate action and the country’s environmental stewardship over the years.

Consider this. The Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi, EAD, has launched the Green Business Network, a platform for public and private sector organisations in Abu Dhabi to learn, promote and share eco-friendly practices at the workplace.

The initiative aims to empower large corporations and small to medium-sized enterprises to make a greater collective contribution to the emirate’s sustainable development plans.

Even on the marine front, it has been making impressive strides. Dr Thani Bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said at a recent event: “The UAE has been closely connected to its marine environment for centuries. In the past, pearl trade, fishing, and transport of basic materials were a major source of livelihood here. Now, 42 per cent of Abu Dhabi population and 90 per cent of the UAE population are living in coastal areas. The blue economy contributes 68 per cent of the GDP, and desalinated water accounts for 98 per cent of the country’s fresh water.”

The nation has made phenomenal strides where air quality and emission reduction indexes are concerned. It has also been successful in reducing waste, promoting recycling, improving biodiversity, protecting species and increasing the number of protected areas.

The UAE has prioritised innovative projects and programmes that aim to achieve sustainability, such as the Artificial Intelligence Lab, which monitors climate change, locates solar energy concentrations, observes and analyses levels and sources of air pollutants, and determines water quality.

Masdar, the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company,  has already provided around 20,000 solar home systems to more than 1,000 rural villages in Morocco without access to the national grid, while in Afghanistan, the company installed solar home systems in more than two dozen villages in the southern Helmand Province, helping to connect more than 3,000 people.

The country’s Green Growth Strategy aims to make the UAE one of the world leaders in this area and a centre for the export and re-export of green products and technologies. It will also help maintain a sustainable environment to support long-term economic growth.

The Ministry of Environment also launched ‘The UAE’s Natural Wonders’ which aims to promote ecotourism across the seven emirates and to position the UAE as a leading ecotourism hub.

The UAE’s concern for the environment should be praised. True growth lies in tackling environmental challenges. As former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said, “Saving our planet, lifting people out of poverty, advancing economic growth... these are one and the same fight. We must connect the dots between climate change, water scarcity, energy shortages, global health, food security and women’s empowerment. Solutions to one problem must be solutions for all.”

The UAE’s wholehearted commitment to preserving the resources of the natural world and reducing the causes of climate change at home has made it a vocal environmental advocate.

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