Abu Dhabi -27 December 2020: After decades of successful work and a plethora of significant initiatives, the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) has won the Outstanding Contribution to Biodiversity Global 2020 Award, by Capital Finance International (CFI.co).
EAD, the region’s largest environmental regulator was recognised for the role it has played in championing the conservation of biodiversity in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
Examples of EAD’s efforts in preserving biodiversity include continuing the legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Founding Father of the UAE. Known as the First Environmentalist, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan expanded the network of protected areas to 19 areas, 13 of which are terrestrial, representing 16.9% and 6 marine areas representing 13.9%of the terrestrial and marine ecosystems, respectively.
EAD’s most notable achievement is the world’s largest mammal reintroduction programme of the Arabian Oryx, which was on the brink of extinction. Today, the population in Abu Dhabi has reached 5,000 heads – making it the largest herd in the world.
Consequently, EAD biodiversity projects go beyond the borders of the UAE and among the most recognised of joint initiatives was the successful resettlement of Scimitar horned Oryx in its native country, Chad. This species had been completely extinct in the wild and now the total number of Scimitar horned Oryx in Chad has reached to be more than 200.
Moreover, EAD signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Jordanian Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature, (RSCN) to release 60 Arabian Oryx in the Shumari Wildlife Reserve over the next two years.
Also within Abu Dhabi, today the population of Dugongs in the capital city is the world’s second largest, amounting to 3,000, which is the highest density per square metre in the Arabian Gulf.
Additionally, more than 700 dolphins, most of which live in marine protected areas in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, have been registered, including the largest group in the world of the Indian Ocean, Humpback dolphin, and 37 endangered finless Porpoises and 268 Indo-Pacific Bottlenose dolphins.
HE Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary General of EAD said: said: “One of our main strategic priorities and mandates is the conservation of biodiversity in Abu Dhabi and we have worked laboriously since the inception of EAD 25 years ago, towards achieving this goal. We have been more than successful in protecting biodiversity and we are honoured to be recognised by an international publication such as Capital Finance International for all the hard work that has been done by the EAD team.”
HE Al Dhaheri added: “This award serves as a reminder to us that we are on the right path and it will inspire and encourage us to do more to ensure that we are creating a sustainable future for all, so that the younger generations live with an abundance of biodiversity in Abu Dhabi. We will also aspire towards empowering the future generations to continue to walk in our footsteps and nurture a generation of youth to make the conservation of the environment one of their main goals.”
Other EAD success stories regarding biodiversity include the registration of Al Wathba Wetland Reserve as the first protected area in the GCC to make the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Green list. It is also one of the 40 sites in the world that has been considered for the Convention of Biological Diversity as Ecologically or Biologically Significant Area (EBSA). The reserve is home to thousands of migratory flamingoes.
Also, the Abu Dhabi Emirate has approximately 3,800 recorded species and less than two percent are classified as “threatened” on the Red List categories of the IUCN.
Furthermore, Jebel Hafit National Park in Abu Dhabi is the only location where the Dwarf Palm can be found. The Arabian Caracal was recently sighted in the area for the first time in 35 years. The park also hosts globally threatened species, and the only concentration of the globally threatened Egyptian Vulture in the UAE.
Capital Finance International (CFI.co) is a print journal and online resource reporting on business, economics and finance. Every year through its award programme, CFI.co identifies and rewards excellence in the hope to inspire others to further improve their own performance.