- His Excellency Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi: Marine environment holds great significance in the UAE and plays an integral role in our everyday lives
- Country strives to mitigate adverse impact of climate change on oceans
A UAE delegation led by His Excellency Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, is marking an impactful participation at the high-profile Ocean Conference currently underway at the United Nations’ headquarters in New York ( June 5 to June 9, 2017). The event coincides with World Oceans Day on June 8.
The Ocean Conference aims to support the implementation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 14 that calls for the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources.
Conveying the UAE’s message at the conference, His Excellency Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, said: “The marine environment has been a significant component of the country’s environmental resources and continues to play an integral role in our everyday lives. It remains our window to the external world and a primary source of food for a wide segment of our population.”
His Excellency added: “The discovery of oil strengthened the position of our marine environment as a mainstay of our economic resources. Our marine wealth is equally precious for its rich biodiversity and for enabling the country’s significant success in the transportation, desalination, tourism and entertainment industries.”
Sharing UAE’s satisfaction over its participation at the definitive international conference, the Minster said the event is set to play a game changing role in improving the health of our oceans for the wider benefit of people, planet and prosperity. He noted: “The UAE’s efforts in the field of marine environment conservation are three-fold and include: protection from pollution due to oil and other harmful materials, protection of marine environment ecosystems, and strengthening our ability to withstand and adapt the impacts of climate change.”
He added: “Since 1999, the country has put in place a comprehensive legislative framework that includes standards and regulations to prevent the pollution of the marine environment. The UAE also works tirelessly to strengthen its capacities and accelerate its emergency response time, while fine-tuning the mechanisms of monitoring changes in the marine environment.”
“Furthermore, the UAE coordinates with neighboring countries in the Arabian Gulf in collaboration with concerned local and international organizations to protect its marine environment. Notably, the country has intensified efforts to safeguard its aquatic resources through adopting diversified measures including fishing regulations. The UAE also routinely hosts awareness programs for regional and international stakeholders,” he explained.
The Minister said: “Our efforts to support the aquaculture industry and boost the private sector’s participation in this field have already paid rich dividends. The Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Centre for Marine Research in Umm Al Quwain has the capacity to produce 15 million fingerlings (juvenile fish) yearly. The protection of marine areas provides safe shelters for fish and other aquatic species, especially for endangered ones including sea turtles and sea cows.”
“Other significant efforts of the UAE include the rehabilitation of marine areas affected by climate change, protection of seaweed habitats and saline ponds, installation of artificial habitats with eco-friendly materials in the most important marine areas of the country and management of some negatively impacting phenomena such as red tide and invasive species within the framework of integrated national plans,” he added.
Dr. Al Zeyoudi also highlighted a set of important policies and national plans in the UAE’s marine environment protection portfolio such as the National Plan for the Sustainability of Marine and Coastal Environment, the National Strategy for Biodiversity (2015-2021) and the UAE Green Development Strategy, as well as the UAE Energy Strategy 2050, and the upcoming National Climate Change Policy.
At the end of the UAE’s speech, His Excellency Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, reiterated the UAE’s commitment to participate in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and to mobilize international expertise to accelerate efforts to safe-guard the health and vitality of oceans and enhance their role in sustainable development. He also extended an invitation to all delegations to participate in the World Governments Summit to be held in Dubai from 11 to13 February 2018, which will discuss, through the climate change platform, the most important issues related to oceans health and the sustainable use of their resources.