UAE Minister Calls On Expert to Strengthen Nature-based Solutions in Tackling Climate Change
The latest in a series of high-level national Majlis sessions being held in the lead up to COP28 convened at Al Ittihad Hall in Umm Al Quwain, organised by the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MoCCAE) as part of the “COP28 Changemakers Majlis” initiative.
The initiative consists of eight sessions held ahead of COP28 at the end of November, bringing together local climate leaders and innovators from the government, the private sector, industry, education and other key sectors.
After the recent launch of the UAE’s bold new UAE Net Zero 2050 Strategy, which lays out a detailed governmental action plan for achieving climate neutrality by 2050, invited Majlis guests gathered to discuss the crucial role nature-based solutions play in tackling climate change.
H.E. Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment chaired the Majlis.
The event was attended by H.E. Engineer Ahmed Ibrahim Obaid Al Ali, Director General of the Municipality of Umm Al Quwain, His Excellency Ali Ahmed Ali Abu Ghazin, Chairman of Sharjah Fish Resources Authority, and His Excellency Ahmed Al Hashmi, Executive Director of Terrestrial and Marine Biodiversity Sector at Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi.
The attendees comprised leaders from MOCCAE, including, H.E. Mohammed Saeed Al Nuaimi, Acting Undersecretary of the Ministry, H.E. Dr. Mohammed Salman Al Hammadi, Assistant Undersecretary for Biodiversity and Marine Life Sector, H.E. Eng. Mohammed Mousa Alameeri, Assistant Undersecretary of the Food Diversity Sector, H.E Eng. Othaiba Saeed Al Qaidi, Acting Assistant Undersecretary for the Sustainable Communities Sector, and H.E Shaikha Ahmed Salem Al Ali, Acting Assistant Undersecretary for the Regions Sector.
Addressing the participants, H.E Mariam Almheiri, said: “Nature-based solutions are a powerful tool for mitigating climate impacts. Umm Al Quwain stands as a compelling example of how these solutions can be strategically studied, implemented and advanced in support of a more sustainable future.
“Our national plan to plant 100 million mangrove trees by 2030 is wholly supported here in Umm Al Quwain, and I thank all those involved in prioritising mangrove restoration efforts to preserve and expand the coastal forests, which play a pivotal role as vital natural carbon sinks."
“As we move into a new era of bold, tangible action driven by the UAE Net Zero 2050 Strategy, we must continue to harness the power of nature and the wisdom of our forebears in mitigating the effects of climate change.”
The UAE actively employs natural systems such as mangroves and coral reefs to serve as a natural barrier against rising sea levels, both reducing the risk of coastal erosion and safeguarding vulnerable coastal communities.
H.E Almheiri stressed: “Ensuring the long-term success of nature-based solutions requires cooperation, research and effective policy implementation as we must protect these ecosystems.
“We must ask ourselves in anticipation of COP28 and in our ongoing fight against climate change, how we can amplify local solutions and commit to removing barriers to achieving a sustainable future,” Her Excellency concluded."
H.E Eng. Ahmed Ibrahim stressed the vital role played by municipalities in promoting nature-based solutions in the UAE, especially, in Umm Al Quwain. He pointed out the necessity to involve the community in these efforts, such as their participation in planting mangroves, and expanding cooperation with schools to involve students in nature-preserving activities and to include the UAE’s climate action strategies within the school curricula. He said that climate action requires time and effort to deliver stronger awareness among the next generations.
H.E Ahmed Alhashmi, said that Abu Dhabi has a strategic approach to preserving nature, highlighted by its focus on expanding mangrove planting with 23 million mangroves planted so far. The technology of planting trees using drones has also been introduced.
He said Abu Dhabi's efforts are not limited to protecting nature, but also contributing economically, pointing to the success of extracting honey from mangrove forests. The success of these projects requires expanding research, and funding modern technology to contribute to the success of various initiatives and projects.
Scientific research supporting nature-based solutions within research centres and universities must also be strengthened in addition to increasing academic specializations to create more environmental job opportunities.