UAE: Abu Dhabi Named Arab Environment Capital For 2023

Abu Dhabi has been named the Arab Environment Capital for 2023 by the Secretariat General of the Arab League and the Council of Arab Environment Ministers.

The organisation recognised the emirate’s achievements in environmental protection and climate action over several years, led by the Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi (EAD).


Abu Dhabi won the competition organised by the Council of Arab Ministers Responsible for the Environment during its 34th session in Muscat last year, which coincided with two significant local and global events: the UAE declaring 2023 the Year of Sustainability under the slogan Today for Tomorrow and the UAE hosting COP28.

The agency prepared its award submission in cooperation with local partners, including Abu Dhabi Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT), Abu Dhabi Sustainable Water Solutions Company (ADSWS), Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA), Abu Dhabi Waste Management Company Tadweer, and the Department of Energy (DOE).

Abu Dhabi is implementing a comprehensive plan for land transport, low-emission vehicles, and traffic management in the emirate. Developed in 2009 to meet the city’s environmental, social, and economic goals, the Integrated Land Transportation Plan was updated in 2017 and again in 2022.

The plan includes measures to reduce carbon emissions, such as creating public transportation infrastructure using renewable energy technologies, as well as innovative systems for operating buses using solar energy, and encouraging the use of alternative means of transportation, such as bicycles.

Abu Dhabi has made great efforts to combat land degradation caused by erosion and wind, creating forest areas to reduce sand encroachment and limit its impact on green spaces and air pollution. Strategic plans have also been developed to help urban cities mitigate and adapt to climate change, and Abu Dhabi’s Plan Maritime was developed to protect coastal areas and preserve their resources and marine habitats in a sustainable manner.

Protect biodiversity

Abu Dhabi also seeks to protect biodiversity and identify endangered species in the region, with a total of 3,453 species now registered in the emirate. Abu Dhabi is implementing a comprehensive programme to register new species and assess the protection status of each. The emirate launched the Red List of Threatened Species report and the Urban Biodiversity Index report, and reintroduced some endangered species back into the wild, such as the Arabian Oryx, the Scimitar-horned Oryx, the Dama Gazelle, and the Addax.

In 2023, Abu Dhabi won a global award for its coastal and marine ecosystem rehabilitation programmes, and Bu Tinah Island was included on the UNESCO list of natural wonders, reflecting its efforts to preserve natural reserves.

Abu Dhabi manages the largest number of natural reserves in the Arab region, which cover 30.88 percent of the emirate’s total area. It also seeks to obtain international recognition for its terrestrial and marine reserve management systems by adhering to best global standards.

The emirate manages 519 forests covering 200,000 hectares, or 2.9 percent of the emirate’s total area. Abu Dhabi is currently making its documented environmental data available to the public through smart applications, educational tools, and social media. The emirate is strengthening its environmental research programmes and has discovered 20 new species. Abu Dhabi is also adding an aesthetic touch to cities and population centres to encourage more eco-tourism.

Improving air quality

Maintaining and improving air quality is a priority for the emirate if it is to achieve sustainable development and reduce any negative impacts on humans and the environment. Several strategic initiatives and projects have been implemented to manage and improve air quality in coordination and cooperation with other government and private agencies. The emissions of greenhouse gases, mercury, and industrial air pollutants were inventoried and their sources analysed, and projects for the clean use of fuel in the transportation sector, the power generation sector, water production, and the transition to clean and renewable energy have been implemented. The emirate introduced projects to periodically inspect vehicles, improve the traffic system, adopt smart management measures, and develop demand for electricity and water. Abu Dhabi has also adopted development options that help maintain air quality and negate the impact of air pollution on public health and the environment.

A study was conducted to both map noise levels in Abu Dhabi and identify any related mitigation mechanisms. The initiative saw 22 devices installed across 20 locations to monitor air and noise pollution levels. The readings derived from the field study were entered into a mathematical modelling system that included data on car movement, construction site locations, and population concentrations. From this, a contour map was produced showing the areas most and least affected by high levels of noise, which was then used to develop improvement plans.


Khaleej Times

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