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Gulfood Green 2024

22 May 2024

Exclusive Interview with H.E Dr Amna Al Dahak, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, UAE

Exclusive Interview with H.E Dr Amna Al Dahak, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, UAE

“Be part of the Plan”, the theme of International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) 2024, is a call to action for all stakeholders to halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity by supporting the implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, also referred to as the Biodiversity Plan.

It is significant to note that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has placed significant emphasis on the conservation of its rich biodiversity and the protection of endangered species. The government has taken proactive measures by establishing various protected areas, including national parks, wildlife reserves, and marine protected areas.

On International Day for Biological Diversity 2024, SMEN had an opportunity to interview, the UAE's Minister for Climate Change and Environment, H.E Dr Amna Al Dahak. Below are the excerpts ...

On International Day of Biological Diversity, what can you tell us about the biological diversity of the UAE?

Our country’s landscape is characterized by vast desert areas, mountains, wetlands and marine environments. A growing population and rapid pace of development mean that, in many cases, these environments play host to interactions between humans, plants, and animals. We have been careful to maintain the characteristics, natural resources, and beauty of our natural environment.

According to the National Red List project the UAE host more than 1,167 local species. Statistics indicate that 58 native species of mammals are found in the UAE, 39 of which are terrestrial and 19 are marine. Other species of mammals in the country are alien species. Furthermore, the UAE is home to 72 species of herpetofauna, including 57 terrestrial reptile species, 13 marine reptile species, and two amphibian species, in addition to 167 species of native birds, 598 species of native vascular plants , 126 species of bony fishes, 80 species of cartilaginous fishes, and 66 species of corals.

We are working hard to promote a culture of biological diversity at home and abroad. Through its strategic priorities, the UAE has committed to conserving wildlife and ensuring its sustainability. Our National Biodiversity Strategy demonstrates our commitment to protecting species and their habits, balancing economic growth with consideration of our fragile environment.

A good example of this, is our success in bringing the beautiful antelope back from the brink of extinction, and through our Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Arabian Oryx Reintroduction Programme, we have successfully released hundreds of oryxes into protected areas each year.

This year’s theme for International Day of Biological Diversity is ‘Be Part of the Plan’. How is the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment ensuring its ambitious National Biodiversity Strategy is being taken from agreement to action?

On International day for Biological Diversity, themed “Be Part of the Plan” this year, we reaffirm our commitment to the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework adopted during the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, interpreted in the UAE through the overarching framework of the Biodiversity Strategy 2031 launched at COP28UAE.

The overarching framework was developed in alignment with the national agenda and the global Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, aiming to address the underlying causes of biodiversity loss and confront challenges by integrating biodiversity values across all sectors of the country, reducing direct pressures on biodiversity, and improving the state of biodiversity by preserving ecosystems, local species, genetic diversity, ensuring the sustainability of ecosystem services, as well as enhancing cooperation, capacity-building, and raising community awareness among all individuals.

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