Sunday 22, May 2016

Dubai – MENA Herald: The United Arab Emirates joins countries from around the world in celebrating the World Biodiversity Day held today under the theme: “Maintaining biodiversity, sustaining people and their livelihoods”.
On this occasion, H.E. Dr. Thani Alzeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said that biodiversity is the foundation for life and for the essential services provided by ecosystems. It therefore underpins peoples’ livelihoods and sustainable development in all areas of activity, including economic sectors such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries and tourism, among others. By halting biodiversity loss, we are investing in people, their lives and their wellbeing.
Life mainly depends on the services and products that biodiversity and ecosystems offer such as clean air, water, food and medicine in addition to providing means of livelihood. A large number of the world’s population depends directly or indirectly on what biodiversity and ecosystem offer. Ecosystems have an important role to play when it comes to adapting to climate change such as the forests and marine environments that are considered one of the most important natural outlets for the pollutants and gases that cause global warming.

H.E. Dr. Alzeyoudi added that the UAE is continuing its efforts in maintaining biodiversity in its various forms as this is part of the national legacy started by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, may he rest in peace, and continued by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, president of the UAE. It is also in line with the UAE’s vision 2021 and the national and local policies and strategies such as: the national strategy for biodiversity, the national strategy to combat desertification and the national strategy for marine and coastal environment sustainability.

These strategies focus on rehabilitating damaged sea and land ecosystems and to limit the pressures that the sensitive ecosystems are exposed to especially those that are considered the habitat of endangered plant and animal species. The strategies also aim at spreading awareness regarding the value and importance of biodiversity and ecosystems and their important role in sustaining livelihoods and better levels of social and economical welfare.

Adopting a green economy based on the UAE’s green development strategies is considered an important addition to our efforts in this area. The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment has taken several steps to protect biodiversity and ecosystems, all based on the latest technologies and the development of fisheries, led by the Sheikh Khalifa Marine Research Center.

H.E. Dr. Alzeyoudy said that the ministry has also supported investment opportunities and partnerships between the public and private sectors in this area such as the ministry’s hosting of the Aqua Middle East Conference and Exhibition in Dubai last March.

Alzeyoudi also said that the Blue Carbon project, that the ministry carried out in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative, aims at boosting the country’s capability at achieving the objectives of the global treaty for biodiversity and the national objectives that are linked to the country’s strategies.

Through the agricultural innovation center, the ministry is working on scientific research studies to develop the sector and boosts its role in biodiversity and food security as well as its ability to adapt to climate changes.

Internationally, the UAE continues its efforts in combating the illegal trade of species in collaboration with relevant international organization and in developing the mechanisms of information exchange. In addition, the UAE joined the treaty for the conservation of migratory birds of prey, which boosts its role on both a regional and international level, especially since, from a geographical perspective, the UAE has 138 migrant animals which are included in the first and second sections of the treaty. The UAE has also joined the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystems, which allows the country to benefit from international expertise.

H.E. Dr. Alzeyoudi also emphasized that the country will continue to build on this achievements in the field of biodiversity in order to maintain its global position in this sector.