Ecological sustainability key to UAE’s growth - GulfToday

Ecological sustainability key to UAE’s growth


Environmental sustainability is reflected in all initiatives and projects launched by government entities. WAM

Environmental sustainability is the need of the hour, which the UAE knows full well. It provides impetus to the country’s growth and long-term prospects.

Sustainability is key to the UAE’s future readiness, said His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. He added the UAE was committed to implementing innovative projects that optimise use of resources and solve critical challenges as part of the country’s strategy to ensure environmental sustainability.

A key element in the UAE’s development model, environmental sustainability is reflected in all initiatives and projects launched by government entities, independently or in partnership with the private sector, His Highness said.

Sustainability means staving off depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance. And this cannot be attained without gender equality in the energy sector.

Early this year, speakers of the ‘Equality in the Energy Sector’ at the Global Women’s Forum Dubai, GWFD 2020 in the Future Hub, said that as the commitment to sustainable energy and growth spreads across economies and nations around the world, leaders must prioritise gender equality in the energy sector.

Even the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, Masdar, has backed to the hilt the UAE’s ecological initiatives. It has deployed innovative technologies that are relevant to the region, such as solar power plants, onshore wind farms and waste-to-energy projects.

As Masdar Chief Executive Officer Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi said, “We knew before the pandemic that substantially more investment was needed to decarbonise our economies sufficiently to limit the increase in global average temperature to 2˚C above pre-industrial levels.” The virus has confronted us with a simple choice, he remarked. “Either we attempt to delay the inevitable, or we redouble our efforts to realise viable solutions to the world’s sustainability challenges.”

Where this is concerned, the UAE has made impressive strides.

The UAE has maintained its global leadership in the Marine Protected Areas category with 16 marine protected areas now included. The UAE leads the global Wetlands indicator that measures the loss of wetlands over a 10-year period. The country pays great attention to its wetlands that are hotspots for biodiversity under the threat of extinction.

The UAE is the latest country to join the UK-initiated Global Ocean Alliance, a group of 32 countries working to protect the ocean and improve the livelihoods of coastal communities. As its core goal, the Alliance calls for safeguarding at least 30 per cent of the world’s oceans by 2030 through marine protected areas. The UAE is the first Middle Eastern country to endorse the target.

The nation has imposed permanent and seasonal fishing and trade bans on important local species, limited the number of fishing boats in operation, prohibited certain types of fishing equipment and methods, and specified the minimum lengths of fish allowed to be caught.

In 2021, Abu Dhabi will also introduce the first marine plastic litter regulations in the GCC region, addressing the threat to human health and marine life.

Dr. Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Cabinet Member and Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said: “The ocean offers invaluable services to mankind, from food production to tourism to regulating global temperatures and weather, and hundreds of millions of jobs depend on ocean’s health.”

We just cannot afford to lose these services, and therefore collective action is a must if we are to stop the deterioration of ocean’s health as a result of climate change, pollution, and overfishing.

The UAE should be praised for its strategies to help tackle overfishing, plastic pollution and biodiversity loss. Only by acting together do we stand a chance of protecting our ocean – and with it, the foundation for a healthy future for us all.

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