The UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MoCCAE) hosted the most recent of many high-level national Majlis meetings in the run-up to COP28 today at Al Ittihad Hall in Umm Al Quwain. These sessions are part of the “COP28 Changemakers Majlis” project.
Eight sessions of the project, which brings together local climate leaders and innovators from the government, business community, education, and other important sectors, will take place in advance to COP28 at the end of November.
Invited Majlis guests convened to deliberate on the critical role that nature-based solutions play in mitigating climate change following the recent unveiling of the UAE’s ambitious new UAE Net Zero 2050 Strategy, which lays out a comprehensive governmental action plan for achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.
The Minister of Environment and Climate Change for the United Arab Emirates, H.E. Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, presided over the Majlis. Attendees included His Excellency Ali Ahmed Ali Abu Ghazin, Chairman of the Sharjah Fish Resources Authority, His Excellency Ahmed Al Hashmi, Executive Director of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi’s Terrestrial and Marine Biodiversity Sector, and His Excellency Engineer Ahmed Ibrahim Obaid Al Ali, Director General of the Municipality of Umm Al Quwain.
Key figures from MOCCAE were present, including H.E. Eng. Mohammed Mousa Alameeri, Assistant Undersecretary for Food Diversity; H.E. Dr. Mohammed Salman Al Hammadi, Assistant Undersecretary for Biodiversity and Marine Life; H.E. Eng. Mohammed Saeed Al Nuaimi, Acting Undersecretary of the Ministry; 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.
In her speech, H.E. Mariam Almheiri said that one effective strategy for reducing the effects of climate change is to use nature-based solutions.Umm Al Quwain serves as a potent example of how these ideas can be carefully thought out, implemented, and developed in order to support a more sustainable future.
We at Umm Al Quwain are totally in favor of our nation’s goal of planting 100 million mangrove plants by 2030. In addition, I salute all those who have prioritized mangrove restoration projects in order to safeguard and expand coastal forests, which serve as vital natural carbon sinks. As we embark on a new age of daring, realistic action led by the UAE Net Zero 2050 Strategy, we must continue to harness the power of nature and the knowledge of our ancestors to lessen the effects of climate change.
The United Arab Emirates actively uses natural systems, such coral reefs and mangroves, to act as a natural barrier against sea level rise. This lowers the risk of coastal erosion and protects vulnerable coastal towns.
HE Almheiri emphasized: “We must safeguard these ecosystems, which calls for collaboration, research, and efficient policy implementation to ensure the long-term success of nature-based solutions.
In light of COP28 and the continuous battle against climate change, Her Excellency said, “We must ask ourselves how we can amplify local solutions and commit to removing barriers to achieving a sustainable future.”
H.E. Eng. Ahmed Ibrahim emphasized the importance of municipalities in the UAE, particularly in Umm Al Quwain, in supporting nature-based solutions. He emphasized how important it is to incorporate the community in these initiatives—for example, by having them help plant mangroves—and to increase collaboration with educational institutions so that children may participate in environmental education and learn about the UAE’s climate change plans. He asserted that raising the next generation’s level of awareness about climate change will take time and work.
According to H.E. Ahmed Alhashmi, Abu Dhabi has a strategic approach to protecting the environment, which is demonstrated by its emphasis on growing the number of mangrove plantings—23 million have been planted thus far. Drone technology for tree planting has also been unveiled.
He mentioned the achievement of harvesting honey from mangrove trees to demonstrate that Abu Dhabi’s efforts go beyond merely preserving the environment to include economic benefits as well. In order to support the accomplishment of numerous initiatives and projects, it is necessary to fund contemporary technology and conduct more research for these projects to be successful. To increase employment prospects in the environmental sector, academic specializations must be expanded and scientific research supporting nature-based solutions must be reinforced in research centers and universities.
H.E. Dr. Mohammed Salman Al Hammadi, MOCCAE’s Assistant Under-Secretary for the Biodiversity and Marine Life Sector, served as the moderator for the session. He invited the attendees to provide instances of effective nature-based solutions that have been applied in Umm Al Quwain and the United Arab Emirates to promote environmental sustainability and climate resilience.
After then, the participants talked on the potential and difficulties associated with putting nature-based solutions to combat climate change and safeguard the environment into practice.
They then spoke about the advantages that nature-based solutions have for the UAE’s economy and society, as well as how these solutions improve the quality of life for nearby people.
In order to accomplish the UAE’s sustainability and climate goals, the workshop ended with a request that the participants discuss any plans and strategies that they had in place or were considering about nature-based solutions, particularly in Umm Al Quwain. It was discussed how crucial it is to provide more support to the climate sector in order to protect the environment, including initiatives to cut emissions and provide sustainable food security.
The employment of contemporary technologies to protect the environment and expand forest cover—which serve as the primary homes for a variety of living things—was also examined. The opportunity for SMEs to play a crucial role in this field was another topic of discussion among the participants. The Majlis talked about creating an integrated system that unites entrepreneurs, decision-makers, and pertinent financial and economic institutions to start companies that aid in the nation’s efforts to protect biodiversity and the environment.
The Majlis also shown how to incorporate green areas into metropolitan areas by growing the area of parks and gardens where locals can take advantage of improved air quality.
This series of COP28 Changemakers Majlis emphasizes the UAE’s approach to problem-solving through present-day, transparent leadership and highlights the objectives of COP28 as an inclusive forum for forceful, cooperative, and group action.
The Changemakers Majlis concept is deeply ingrained in UAE custom and pays tribute to the widely used practice of majlises as a venue for discussion. Majlises are still a popular means of bringing the community together to debate and resolve urgent issues.
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