On January 10, 2018, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced two initiatives to advance the ecological restoration of their coastal and marine areas.
The first initiative will include planting 30,000 mangrove trees. The second will be to cultivate coral gardens.
“MOCCAE’s announcement of the two initiatives to expand the numbers of mangroves and coral gardens in the country stems from their environmental importance. Mangrove trees play an effective role in reducing carbon emissions and contribute to minimizing the impacts of marine natural disasters. They are also incubators for many marine species, and help maintain the ecological balance, while protecting species from the risk of extinction, in addition to supporting and encouraging ecotourism,” said Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment. “Coral gardens provide a natural habitat and an incubator for several marine species, and the ministry has succeeded in cultivating 24 species of corals.”
Dr. Al Zeyoudi pointed out that the protection and restoration of biodiversity is one of the cornerstones of the UAE’s environmental conservation and development policy, the UAE Vision 2021, and one of the main responsibilities of the Ministry of Climate Change and the Environment. He also noted that work is ongoing through a series of national programs to achieve the goals set in the National Biodiversity Strategy prepared by the Ministry in conjunction with environmental and concerned authorities in the UAE.
“The two initiatives are part of the Ministry’s strategy 2017-2021, which aims at achieving the sustainability of natural systems, conserving biodiversity and reducing the impacts of climate change. Both initiatives contribute to providing a haven for biodiversity in the country, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the air through the sequestration of carbon dioxide, which supports achieving the sustainability goal as outlined in the UAE Vision 2021. The ministry will coordinate with local authorities in each emirate to determine the locations to implement the initiatives”, he continued. “The Ministry is keen to work with relevant partners to develop sustainable eco-tourism.”
He added that through this type of initiatives to protect biodiversity in the country, the ministry underlines its commitment to collaborate with its partners and stakeholders in the public and private sectors to promote ecotourism, rehabilitate natural areas and consolidate UAE’s position as one of the main destinations for this type of tourism on the global map.
“The development of eco-tourism is one of the main initiatives of the Ministry’s Strategic Plan 2017-2021, the UAE Green Development Strategy and the National Environmental Education and Awareness Strategy 2015-2021. The concept of sustainable eco-tourism is a good and effective model for reducing pressure on resources, caused by normal tourism, hence, we seek to focus on it and highlight the most important areas that tourists can enjoy in the country“, he concluded.
All photos courtesy of MOCCAE.