Banning private ownership of dangerous animals
The UAE has passed Federal Law No. 22 of 2016 (PDF) which regulates the possession and trade of predatory, dangerous and semi-dangerous animals. Under this law, only zoos, wildlife parks, circuses, breeding and research centres would be allowed to keep wild or exotic animals. In addition, dog owners would need to buy a licence for their pets and keep them on a leash at all times when in public.
Fines for failing to comply with the law would range from AED 10,000 to 700,000 and may be accompanied by a jail term and the animal would be confiscated.
Federal Law No. 16 of 2007 as amended by Federal Law No.18 of 2016, concerning animal welfare aims to maintain the rights and dignity of animals in the UAE.
The UAE encourages the public to join voluntary activities related to animal protection. The UAE's Ministry of Climate Change and Environment signed an agreement with Emirates Animal Welfare Society and Emirates Park Zoo to promote animal protection.
The agreement aimed at raising public awareness on animal welfare. It complements the ministry's intensified efforts to defend and preserve animal rights as well as promote their humane treatment through awareness campaigns.
Emirates Animal Welfare Society is a voluntary institute that focusses on establishing and defending animal rights throughout the United Arab Emirates. In addition to identifying these rights, it aims to spread awareness on the importance of animal welfare and encourages the public to preserve the integrity of the environment and animals.
You can report cases of animal abuse to the police or to the municipality in the respective emirate.
Refer to the following organisations around the emirates that take in and treat abandoned animals.
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. The Gheras microsite serves as a quick reference on the UAE’s native plant species and highlights methods to preserve them for future generations. An app titled Gherasuae is available on iTunes 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, 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 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.
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 2017 there were 43 nature reserves in the UAE. Reserves that have been listed as wetlands of international importance within the framework of Ramsar Convention increased.
Read also about Sheikh Zayed Protected Areas Network.
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 federal laws, ministerial decrees and executive by-laws 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.
Efforts towards sustainability
In the past few years, the UAE has come a long way in meeting the challenges of energy and climate change, under the framework of Vision 2021 and the strategic plans of each emirate. The UAE has built the enablers which correspond to the sustainable development goals (SDGs) set out by the United Nations for 2030. In addition, the UAE committed more than USD 840 million (AED 3.1 billion) to renewable energy in more than 30 countries.
Plans and initiatives for sustainable infrastructure
- Advanced energy-efficient desalination pilot project
In 2013, Masdar announced the Advanced Energy-Efficient Desalination Pilot Project which aims to develop and demonstrate seawater desalination technologies efficient enough to be powered by renewable energy.
- Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030
As a part of its policy to use alternative energy sources, Dubai developed the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030 to drive energy decarbonisation and ensure efficient use of energy. The emirate sets plans to generate at least 5 per cent of its power from renewable energy by 2030, as well as 12 per cent from clean coal and 12 per cent from nuclear power. In January 2015, Dubai announced a revision of its targets for the share of renewable energy in the total energy mix to 7 per cent by 2020 and 15 per cent by 2030.
- Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050
Further development was the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 which aims to produce 75 per cent of Dubai's energy from clean sources by 2050.
In 2017, the UAE launched ‘Energy Strategy 2050’, which is considered the first unified energy strategy in the country that is based on supply and demand.
The strategy aims to increase the contribution of clean energy in the total energy mix from 25 per cent to 50 per cent by 2050 and reduce carbon footprint of power generation by 70 percent, thus saving AED 700 billion by 2050. It also seeks to increase consumption efficiency of individuals and corporates by 40 per cent.
The strategy targets an energy mix that combines renewable, nuclear and clean energy sources to meet the UAE’s economic requirements and environmental goals as follows:
- 44 per cent clean energy
- 38 per cent gas
- 12 per cent clean coal
- 6 per cent nuclear.
The UAE government aims to invest AED 600 billion by 2050 to meet the growing energy demand and ensure a sustainable growth for the country’s economy.
Some of the UAE's efforts to bring a sustainable environment as per State of Environment Report 2015 (PDF) are:
- Establishing 46 Air Quality Monitoring Stations (as of 2013)
- Engaging in the implementation of 14 projects for the purpose of reducing the emissions of greenhouse gas under the umbrella of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects. The prospective total annual reduction of these projects is estimated to be about one million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2Eq).
- Eliminating the consumption of numerous Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), Halons and methyl bromide
- Aiming to completely eliminate the consumption of Hydro-chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) by 2040
- Constructing 130 dams and levees with a total storage capacity of about 120 million cubic meters of water as of 2013
- Setting up 33 desalination plants to provide water requirements
- Increasing forest area from 245,000 hectares in 1990 to approximately 318,360 hectares in 2011.
Efforts to secure energy sources
The UAE Government's efforts to secure its energy sources include:
The Dolphin energy project
Gas provides over 90 percent of electricity generation and despite the fact that the UAE's natural gas reserves have been estimated as the 5th largest in the world, the UAE has been importing gas since 2007. The country receives approximately 2 billion cubic feet of gas per day (as of 2011) through the Dolphin Energy pipeline from Qatar.
Dubai has a facility to import three million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) per year. Another import facility is expected to be built in Fujairah with an import capacity of 9 million tonnes.
Exploring indigenous gas reserves
The UAE is also exploring indigenous gas reserves, such as sour gas resources projects undertaken by Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).
Establishing the Emirates National Grid (ENG)
Read about the Emirates National Grid project.
Contributing to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Interconnection Grid
The UAE's ENG project coincides with the development of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Interconnection Grid that will link Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE under one regional grid.
The UAE contributed AED 800 million to the AED 5.1-billion project (as of 2011) to build regional power grid, which is expected to save the participating countries up to AED 18.4 billion (USD 5 billion) in electricity costs over its lifetime and will lay the foundation for a common GCC energy market.
Updated on 19 Jul 2020