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UAE: 25th National Environment Day to announce Climate Action Now initiative

UAE: 25th National Environment Day to announce Climate Action Now initiative

Nawal Al Ruwaihi, the Head of Education and Awareness at the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE). Supplied photo

As it prepares to host COP 28 in Abu Dhabi next year, the country is launching a raft programme.

Nawal Al Ruwaihi, the Head of Education and Awareness at the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE). Supplied photo

Nawal Al Ruwaihi is the Head of Education and Awareness at MOCCAE. Supplied photograph

Published: Thu 3 Feb 2022, 5:42 PM

UAE, a young nation will celebrate its 25th National Environment Day Friday (February 4, 2018).

Khaleej Times spoke with Nawal al Ruwaihi from the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) to get a sense of the country’s plans to celebrate this momentous occasion. It is all set for the Conference of Parties in Abu Dhabi next year.

Extracts edited from an exclusive interview with Al Ruwaihi

How will the MOCCAE celebrate Friday’s 25th National Environment Day?

National Environment Day’s 2014 edition is themed Climate Action Now. The activities will continue for four more months, from February 4th to June 5, which coincides with the National Environment Day and the World Environment Day.

This important occasion is an opportunity to renew our commitment to addressing environmental challenges facing the planet. We also highlight the ongoing attention that our wise leadership gives to environmental work and highlight the achievements of various authorities involved in protecting the environment. This is also a chance to increase public awareness and encourage participation from the community in tackling environmental issues.

How has the National Environment Day changed through the years.

Since 1998, National Environment Day has been observed on February 4, co-inciding with the founding of the Federal Environment Agency, which was the first integrated government entity to deal with environmental affairs at a national level. The mandates of the Federal Environment Agency were transferred to MOCCAE in 2009.

Each year was dedicated a different theme up until 2011, when the celebrations became three-year cycles centered around one theme. The event adopted a new theme in 2020. The themes covered a wide range topics related to environment, climate, sustainability, from Clean Air for a Better Environment (Clean Air for a Better Environment) to Vibrant Desert.

Where did the UAE’s commitment towards environmental protection come from?

Our culture and traditions are rooted in environmental sustainability. Our ancestors created ways to live in harmony nature.

Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was the Founding Father of UAE. He was also known as The Man Of the Environment. Our forefathers survived and thrived in this environment, both on land and at sea. They were able this because they recognized the need to preserve it, to take only what they needed, and to preserve its legacy for future generations.

This wisdom has been at heart of UAE’s relationship with the natural environment since its inception. It continues to shape the UAE’s future vision.

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What policy frameworks have been developed to promote sustainability, economic diversification and ecosystem and biodiversity conservation, climate adaptation mitigation and adaptation, responsible resource consumption, and responsible resource use?

We have several long-term national strategies in place to achieve these goals. These include the UAE Green Agenda 2015-2030 and the UAE General Environmental Policy 2021. The National Climate Change Adaptation Program and the UAE Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative.

These documents are designed to guide us as we transition to a climate-resilient, green economy. They also manage greenhouse gas emissions and reduce climate risks. They also increase our climate change adaptation abilities through strong engagement with the private and other key stakeholders.

What’s next for MOCCAE on the environment front?

This week we celebrate the 50th addition to our network. Protected areas play an important role in conserving biodiversity and preserving the environment for future generations.

Additionally, preparations are underway to host the Expo 2020 Dubai Food, Agriculture and Livelihoods Week from February 17 to 23, followed immediately by the Water Week Expos final themed Week from March 20 through 26. These events are a great platform to explore sustainable solutions for the greatest challenges facing the planet.

We are also preparing for the inaugural Middle East & North Africa Climate Week at Expo. It will bring together all stakeholders from the region to advance climate action.

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