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The Environment Agency, Abu Dhabi has released its annual report for 2017

The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, EAD, has released its annual report for 2017, highlighting its efforts and commitment to protecting and enhancing air quality, groundwater and the biodiversity of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi’s land and marine ecosystem.

In his introductory message to the report, H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in Al Dhafra Region and Chairman of EAD, said, "At EAD, we are indebted to President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. Their commitment and foresight in creating a more sustainable future for Abu Dhabi is the engine that enables EAD to propel forward with ambitions, programmes, strategies and successes."

Sheikh Hamdan added, "As we work towards the targets set out in the Abu Dhabi Environment Policy Agenda, the emirate is charting a course to becoming both a regional and global leader in sustainability and improved environmental performance. We continue our efforts to reduce global warming by evaluating and controlling our greenhouse gas, GHG, emissions and strengthening the impact of climate change-related legislation. This year, we have committed to a number of key international partnerships to further protect our environment and focus on a greener future such as UNEP – Convention on Migratory Species, IUCN, Government of Chad, etc."

One of EAD’s key achievements in 2017 at a national level was working closely with the executive teams formed for the implementation of UAE Vision 2021. "As a regulatory body which informs, guides and sets environmental policy in Abu Dhabi Emirate, we have been proud to share our knowledge on water management, ecological footprint and air quality as we work together to take this important step towards the future of the UAE," Sheikh Hamdan said.

In addition, the year saw the publication of the Abu Dhabi State of Environment Report 2017. This report offers vital insight into the key issues impacting the emirate’s environment today – from air quality to biodiversity and waste – and enables us to develop an integrated, effective and sustainable response, which protects and enhances our environment while facilitating optimal economic growth.

In his foreword to the report, Mohammed Al Bowardi, EAD’s Managing Director, said, "As we look back over the years, it has been a wonderful opportunity to step back and reflect on everything we have achieved – from protecting our emirate’s natural resources and biodiversity, to achieving ambitious environmental targets in order to safeguard the future for the next generation."

He added, "In 2017, the Abu Dhabi Executive Council issued a decree for 17 new terrestrial and marine protected areas – not only was this the world’s largest number of protected areas declared at one time, but it brought the total number of designed protected areas in Abu Dhabi to 19. These areas play a crucial role in protecting the emirate’s habitats under law, and preserving our rich biodiversity, on land and at sea. Many of them have also received international recognition, such as the Marawah Marine Biosphere Reserve, recognised by UNESCO, and Al Wathba Wetland Reserve and Bul Syayeef Marine Protected Area, designated as Ramsar sites."

"Over the last year, we have seen continued success in two of our acclaimed species reintroduction programmes. Here in Abu Dhabi, our aerial survey of the Arabian Oryx Protected Area recorded 835 individual Arabian Oryx – a marked increase from the 160 animals introduced at the start of the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Arabian Oryx Reintroduction Programme in 2007. After two further translocations through our Scimitar-horned Oryx Reintroduction Programme, there are now 89 adult Scimitar-horned Oryx and 18 calves living in the wild in Chad – a testament to what can be achieved through commitment, dedication and cross-border cooperation to protect some of the world’s most vulnerable species," Al Bowardi noted.

Al Bowardi explained, "With over 700 kms of Abu Dhabi coastline, maintaining our marine waters is essential for conserving biodiversity, protecting public health and preserving our emirate’s maritime cultural heritage. In order to achieve this while enabling development and economic growth in the coastal zone, in 2017 we worked closely with the Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities and other stakeholders to produce the Plan Maritime (2030), a comprehensive roadmap for sustainable marine water quality management."

Highlighting some of EAD's achievements, Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, EAD’s Secretary-General, said, "Throughout 2017, we have continued to carry out our essential work in protecting and conserving the environment and championing sustainable development within Abu Dhabi Emirate and beyond. More than ever, our focus has been on ‘quality’ – not only meeting international standards and best practice in research, environmental management, sustainable strategy and policy-making, but raising the bar so we can play a leadership role from a position of strength."

She added, "Our approach has been to develop strategic partnerships to optimise our effectiveness in tackling the big issues. In collaboration with the Department of Economic Development, we co-hosted the region’s first Clean Air Forum, an event that brought together government officials and stakeholders from a wide range of industries to share knowledge and research and identify technological solutions."

"We successfully completed the infrastructure and injection of the Liwa Strategic Water Reserve, a joint project between EAD, the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority and its subsidiary TRANSCO, increasing our water security by diversifying our sources of potable water within Abu Dhabi," Al Mubarak said.

She added, "Another key achievement for 2017 was the completion of a comprehensive fisheries resources assessment survey that generated vital data on the state of Abu Dhabi’s fisheries. The results provided a strong basis for the development of the Fisheries Recovery Plan, which we will be shared in late 2018."

Al Mubarak also noted that in order to safeguard our environment in the long term we need young people – our future workers, parents and leaders – to understand, to engage with and to be inspired by the environment and nature. Now in its 10th year, our Sustainable Schools Initiative (SSI) goes from strength to strength, not only locally but also globally. In 2017, the programme was used as a case study by the Global Environmental Education Partnership to demonstrate the correlation between solid environmental education and successful government sustainability policies.

"Within EAD, our focus on quality and excellence is also having a positive impact. This year, six of our talented staff were shortlisted for the Abu Dhabi Award for Excellence in Government Performance, while our Industrial Facilities Permitting Service was shortlisted in the ‘Joint Service’ category. We are also particularly proud to have launched our Women in Science and Environment (WISE) Trailblazers Programme to maintain a supportive environment for our female workforce that enables career satisfaction and fulfilment," Al Mubarak concluded.


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