From enacting legislations and monitoring their implementation, establishing and expanding protected areas, to protecting breeding and reintroducing endangered species into their natural habitats, learn more about UAE's efforts to halt biodiversity loss.
The UAE's National Biodiversity Strategy includes 5 strategic guidelines and 21 national targets. These guidelines and targets have been formulated in line with the UAE Vision 2021 , and Aichi Biodiversity Targets and Sustainable Development Goals.
Read about the UAE's efforts to fulfill the SDG 'Life on land' on the UAE's SDGs portal.
City Biodiversity Index in Abu Dhabi
City Biodiversity Index is a self-assessment tool for cities to benchmark and monitor the progress of their biodiversity conservation efforts. The Abu Dhabi City Biodiversity Index will help the emirate to:
- benchmark its biodiversity conservation efforts
- evaluate progress in reducing the rate of biodiversity loss in urban ecosystems
- measure the ecological footprint of cities.
Cities will use this index as a benchmark for further improvements in improving the role of cities, such as Abu Dhabi, in playing a global role in promoting and conserving biodiversity.
Read related news coverage on WAM.
Preserving plants' species
In order to preserve its biodiversity and protect and restore the natural habitats of its local plants, the UAE created a database of local plant species and made it available to the public. . An app titled Gherasuae is available on App Store and Google Play.
In 2014, the UAE's Ministry of Climate Change and Environment completed the first phase of its date palm tree identification through DNA profiling through a collaboration with the UAE University.
The projects aims to offer all kinds of support to preserve, identify and classify all genetic assets of date palm trees. It also aims to establish a reference database for all types of palm trees found in the UAE, as well as identify and document the extent of their diversity. The project will also help increase the contribution of palm tree planting and date production to the country's gross domestic product.
In addition, many initiatives were launched to preserve the UAE's plant species, including the establishment of 'gene' banks for plants' genetic resources. One initiative will be implemented by Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD), which is set to document and preserve plants through establishing Abu Dhabi Plant Genetics Resources Centre. The purpose of the centre is to collect and document native plants so that if any species became extinct in the wild it could be cultivated in captivity and reintroduced back to nature.
The other is being undertaken at the UAE University in collaboration with the Khalifa Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology.
Sea dumping and pollution
Dumping waste in the sea raises environmental concerns which is life-threatening on the marine ecosystem in the region. The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, in collaboration with its partners in the public and private sectors, continues to work towards greater protection of the marine and coastal environment and the preservation of its vital role through implementing the principles of the integrated management of the marine and coastal environment.
The UAE has enacted laws banning throwing waste and oil sludge into the water by the hundreds of tankers operating in the region.
The UAE Federal Law No. 24 of 1999 on the Protection and Development of the Environment prohibits the following:
- Any intentional disposal of pollutants or wastes from ships, aircraft or any other means into the marine environment
- Any deliberate dumping from ships or industrial installations or other means into the marine environment.
In addition, Federal Law No. 23 of 1999 and its Ministerial Decree No. 302 of 2001 (PDF, 450KB), were issued to address exploitation, conservation and development of living aquatic resources in the UAE.
Learn how the UAE conserves and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
Reducing the use of plastic
The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) announced a policy to reduce the amount of single use plastic material in Abu Dhabi (PDF) and mitigate its harmful effects.
The policy aims to keep plastics out of the environment and eliminate the use of avoidable single-use plastic materials by 2021 through fostering a culture of recycling and re-use and encouraging more sustainable practices in the community.
Through the new policy, the EAD will make Abu Dhabi free of single-use plastic bags by 2021.
Dubai to limit single-use bags
Dubai Government will impose a tariff of 25 fils on single-use bags used for carrying goods, starting from 1 July 2022. The policy will be evaluated over several stages until single-use carrier bags are completely banned within a span of two years, following the assessment of behavioural changes in the community.
The introduction of the policy to limit and ultimately ban single-use bags is aimed at strengthening Dubai’s sustainability objectives in line with global best practices for reducing the consumption of single-use bags. The step supports the adoption of a green, low carbon economy in alignment with the Dubai Waste Management Strategy 2041 and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals announced by the United Nations for 2030.
Read news coverage on WAM.
The UAE is committed to protecting and managing the rich biodiversity of the state and prevent the extinction of threatened species. The creation of natural reserves intend to improve the environment and protect the wildlife in the country, in addition to the promotion of eco-tourism.
By 2020 there were 49 nature reserves in the UAE. Reserves that have been listed as wetlands of international importance within the framework of Ramsar Convention increased from 2 nature reserves in 2010 into ten in 2019.
Read also about Sheikh Zayed Protected Areas Network.
Discover Dubai's Protected Areas.
Environmental regulations and policies
Environmental protection is considered the main objective of the UAE's developmental policies aimed at increasing green areas, developing water resources, improving marine environment and protecting it from pollution, preserving fisheries and livestock, developing strategies to protect biodiversity.
The UAE has set a body of legislations to ensure sustainable environment for life. It has introduced many legislations to preserve the environment. These are some of the ways through which the UAE aims to achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources.
Check also laws and policies from the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi
International and regional environmental conventions signed by the UAE
The United Arab Emirates joined the world in recognising environmental problems by signing and ratifying environmental agreements. Read more about the international and regional environmental conventions signed by the UAE.
Environmental awareness aims at developing the culture of the society regarding environment and promoting environmental behaviour of individuals, which helps to conserve and properly manage natural resources.
The bodies concerned with the environment protection organise educational campaigns at the emirate or federal level in coordination with the respective federal agency.
The type and slogans of these campaigns are based on the needs of the UAE's community in the areas of environmental awareness and education.
In recent years, environmental education has become one of the salient elements in curriculum development in the United Arab Emirates. Accordingly, efforts have been directed to include environmental content in school curricula and textbooks.
Therefore, Ministry of Education has been keen to incorporate the environmental dimension in school curricula of all stages, by addressing the environmental issues that affect student's environment, in order to open the way for discussion on sustainable solutions.
As part of the involvement of global stakeholders in the wheel of promoting environmental knowledge, the Eco-Schools Initiative was launched. It is a global initiative led by the Emirates Wildlife Society in collaboration with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), aiming to encourage environmental action in schools.
Updated on 07 Feb 2023