Abu Dhabi’s coastal and marine ecosystem conservation and rehabilitation programs are among the top ten global ecosystem restoration and rehabilitation initiatives
ABU DHABI: His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Representative of the Ruler in the Al Dhafra Region and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, praised the achievements of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, headed by the Authority in the field of rehabilitation of coastal and marine ecosystems in the emirate, to confirm its leadership in the field of biodiversity conservation Marine Biology derives from the environmental strategic goals of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, which were inspired by the founder of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, may God rest his soul, and from the wise guidance given by the late Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, God willing, and the approach of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the country, God protect him.
His Highness added: “Abu Dhabi has proven its leadership and succeeded in strengthening its global position in the field of environmental conservation and species protection, and the implementation of plans and programs for their restoration and rehabilitation.
His Highness Sheikh Hamdan emphasized: “We have worked in several directions to maintain our marine environments and have succeeded in restoring our fish stock, strengthening our plans for planting and restoring mangroves, and we have also launched the largest coral reef restoration project in the region, which emphasized the importance of the important role that the emirate plays in the preservation of species and their ecosystems at the local and global level. Work was also done on directing various efforts and resources in order to achieve the goals of sustainable development, and to preserve natural resources and ensure their sustainability for future generations.
His Highness’ statement followed the announcement by the United Nations Environment Program of the selection of Abu Dhabi’s coastal and marine ecosystem restoration program, led by the Authority, among the top ten global initiatives to restore and restore ecosystems, which were announced on the sidelines of high-level meetings Conferences of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP15), which took place from December 13 to 17 in Montreal, Canada.
These programs were selected after conducting evaluations in accordance with the standards and requirements of the United Nations Environment Program. The programs and initiatives implemented by the Administration for the Conservation and Restoration of Coastal and Marine Ecosystems have succeeded in becoming one of the most promising and ambitious initiatives, which are considered a pioneering model at the world level. More than 150 candidates from different countries were selected
countries of the world, and after the approval of 70 government agencies, as a result of the Agency’s outstanding efforts in restoring the unique biodiversity habitats that the shores and waters of Abu Dhabi provide to endangered species of marine animals and local communities.
Her Excellency Dr. Sheikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary General of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, said: “Our marine habitats are thriving despite the challenges they face due to high temperatures and increased salinity in the Emirate’s waters, which is unique in a world where the effects climate change are increasing. In light of the pressures facing Our natural habitats, due to rapid development in the region, coastal development activities and projects related to the housing, tourism and infrastructure sectors, which have left an impact on critical coastal and marine habitats, we have taken proactive measures to balance the demands economic and social development, sustainable use of resources and the development of initiatives for the restoration of the ecosystem within the plans and strategies of the Emirates.
Her Excellency explained: “The initiatives and programs that the Authority has initiated and implemented since its inception have attracted the attention of the United Nations Environment Program and led to their recognition as pioneering programs in the field of ecosystem rehabilitation and restoration, as our success story has included recording a significant improvement in our fish stocks and achieving important achievements in the rehabilitation of mangroves, sea grass and coral reefs, which are considered one of the most important and productive marine habitats, supporting biodiversity in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, and providing natural habitat for many species of fish and marine organisms.
It is important to note that the body participated in the first session of its kind for the United Nations Environment Program to select the ten best pioneering initiatives to prevent and reverse the degradation of ecological systems worldwide, by reviewing the program’s outstanding efforts at the local and international levels in promoting and protection of the environmental system and assistance in international efforts and fulfillment of its obligations prescribed by international conventions and agreements on environmental protection, which are among the priorities set by the body in its strategic plans and goals. derived from the vision of wise leadership, which aspires to make Abu Dhabi the best in the world in preserving the environment.
Located on the southern border of the Arabian Gulf, Abu Dhabi’s coastal and marine areas are considered a biodiversity hotspot, hosting many important habitats that support a wide range of marine species and large fish, as authorities have worked to improve the deteriorating situation of the fish stock that has been depleted reaches 85%, which is followed by studies and surveys conducted by the Governing Body. And with the implementation of fisheries-related decisions and actions taken by the fish stock conservation authority, the results and impacts have shown that Abu Dhabi is on track to achieve its sustainable fisheries goal by 2030. The improvement has been achieved in the “Sustainable Fisheries Index” for three years in a row, as the Index increased from 8.9% in 2018 to 62.3% at the end of 2021. The Authority will continue to implement its plan to ensure the recovery of fisheries and achieve sustainable fishing.
The Authority’s efforts to establish and manage nature reserves through the Zayed Network of Nature Reserves, which includes 6 marine reserves representing 14% of the Emirate’s marine environment, have also contributed to the conservation of elements of biodiversity in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, ensuring the sustainability of resources and promoting the associated social and economic development. These efforts have shown positive results for many habitats and species as they have helped to stabilize important organisms and increase the number of birds such as flamingos, and to stabilize environments such as coral reefs for which the Administration has launched a special rehabilitation initiative, considering it one of the the most important marine habitats. The administration has launched the largest coral reef rehabilitation project in the region with the aim of growing more than one million coral reef colonies to increase their area in the emirate and reduce the negative impact of natural pressures on coral reefs resulting from climate change. , increase in temperature on the seabed and decrease Effects of climate change and adaptation to their effects.
The government also focused its efforts on the protection of mangroves, as it wanted to intensify programs for planting and restoring mangrove areas and the use of modern technologies in agriculture, such as drones, which the World Economic Forum recognized as one of the best innovative projects in the field of blue carbon. Over the past 10 years, 15 million mangrove trees have been planted, contributing to the increase in mangrove area in Abu Dhabi at a rate of more than 35%. Today, the area of mangroves in the emirate reaches 176 square kilometers, including natural and cultivated trees. Studies by the body revealed the ability of mangroves in Abu Dhabi to store carbon at 0.5 tonnes per hectare per year, equivalent to 8,750 tonnes at the Emirate level, equivalent to the energy consumption of 1,000 homes per year.
The efforts of the competent authorities have also led to the preservation of the integrity of the sea flower meadows, which has contributed to the stability of the number of dugongs in their natural habitats in the emirate, which is home to the second largest gathering of dugongs, with more than 3 thousand manatees, which is considered the highest density per square meter. meter in the Gulf region. The results of the survey also showed an improvement in the number of turtles and their stability in the emirate over the past years, with an estimated number of 5,000 hawksbill, green and loggerhead turtles. The authorities’ efforts have also provided protection for three species of dolphin and one species of porpoise, as Emirate waters are home to more than 700 dolphins, most of which live in marine protected areas, including the largest group of humpback dolphins in the Indian Ocean in the world.
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About the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi
The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, established in 1996, is dedicated to protecting and improving the quality of air, groundwater and biodiversity in the desert and marine ecosystems of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. And through partnerships with other government agencies,
Both the private sector, non-governmental organizations and global environmental organizations, the Administration works to adopt the best international practices, encourage innovation and work hard to undertake effective measures and policies. The body also seeks to promote environmental awareness and sustainable development and to ensure that environmental issues remain high on the national agenda.
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