Dubai: Protected areas in the country have increased from 44 last year to 49 this year, Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, announced on Thursday, ahead of the celebration of World Environment Day on June 5.
“Forging ahead in the economic sphere has never been enough for the UAE. A parallel priority is to ensure that the country’s economic growth does not come at the expense of the environment,” said Al Zeyoudi.
“We are proud to note that Sharjah has designated five new protected areas this year, taking the number of natural reserves in the UAE to 49. The addition, coupled with the expansion of Al Dilfaweya Protected Area in the emirate of Abu Dhabi by 45 sq km, has increased the total protected area from 14.8 percent of the country’s territory in 2019 to 15.5 percent in 2020, accounting for 18.4 percent of its terrestrial territory and 12.01 percent of its marine territory,” he added.
The minister added the UAE is implementing effective wildlife rehabilitation programs to protect endangered species, such as falcons, dugong, houbara mustard, and Arabian oryx.
He also noted MoCCE has made strides in developing the Smart Map of Natural Capital of the UAE, the National Plan of Action for the Conservation of Marine Turtles in the UAE, the National Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks and the launch of national eco-tourism project.
“On World Environment Day, we reiterate our unwavering commitment to protecting biodiversity. We believe that the loss of even the smallest species can lead to the destabilization of the world’s ecosystems,” he added.
Dubai Municipality has organized a virtual environmental exhibition on the occasion of the World Environment Day 2020.
The exhibition will shed light on the environmental efforts that have taken place since the beginning of the pandemic. It focuses on biological diversity and thus contributes to enhancing the environmental work carried out by municipalities and environmental organizations across the world.
The virtual environmental exhibition, organized in cooperation with the art4you gallery, will enable community members to enjoy seeing the paintings drawn by 15 international artists that will take the audience on a virtual tour of 60 paintings that embody wildlife and plants.
The operations to preserve the various environmental sectors, air, water, and soil, from pollution and erosion are among the most important priorities that Dubai Municipality is keen to promote and develop in line with national trends and the Dubai Plan 2021 visions.
The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) announced the launch of a scientific interactive platform that will provide scientific analysis of environmental phenomena and their impact on the UAE’s natural resources. It is first of its kind in the region focused on in-depth environmental studies based on remote sensing systems, image processing, GIS, and artificial intelligence with analytical reports added on a regular basis.
It will monitor the UAE’s natural environment and resources, including water (hydrosphere), air, and vegetation. It will also monitor changes on the coasts and study marine life such as the effect of red tide.
Frank Ackland, managing director, Middle East & Turkey, at Xylem, echoed the same sentiments. “Water is fundamentally linked to the overall health of our planet. Effective water management is an important factor in maintaining biodiversity in ecosystems,” he said.
He noted: “Smart water networks can reduce the volume of non-revenue water (NRW), and the amount of energy required to pump and treat water for distribution. Operational practices can also be planned in such a way that they do not destroy ecosystems, but rather encourages them to flourish.”