The UAE and Indonesia will lead an international group dedicated to bolstering mangrove conservation around the world.
Mariam Al Mheri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, announced the launch of the Mangrove Alliance for Climate (MAC) at Cop27 in Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh on Tuesday. The pact also includes India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Japan and Spain.
The nations aim to raise awareness of the critical role to be played by mangroves — described as the green lung of the planet — in combating climate change.
Members will work to rehabilitate and expand mangrove forests around the world in an effort to supply a natural solution to pressing environmental challenges faced by the world.
Mangrove forests are among the most productive and ecologically important ecosystems on Earth.
They can store carbon up to 400 per cent faster than tropical rainforests, offer vital protection to coasts from rising sea levels, erosion and storm surges, and provide a fertile breeding ground for marine biodiversity.
About 80 per cent of the global fish population depends on healthy mangrove ecosystems.
“Increasing reliance on nature-based solutions is an integral element of the UAE’s climate action on the domestic as well as international level, therefore we seek to expand our mangrove cover,” said Ms Al Mheri.
“At Cop26, we presented our ambitious target of planting 100 million mangroves by 2030. We are pleased to launch MAC jointly with Indonesia, and believe it will go a long way in driving collective climate action and rehabilitating blue carbon ecosystems.”
The minister said the UAE intends to plant three million mangroves within the next two months.
MAC members will be able to determine their own commitments in planting and restoring mangrove forests, promote multilateral co-operation, and share knowledge.
The participant countries will work together to support key projects in mangrove research, management and protection of coastal areas, and will help to educate the public about how the precious natural resource can be used as a tool to support efforts to turn back the tide on climate change.
Annual meetings will be held to track progress in achieving goals.
UAE leads the way for mangrove conservation
Abu Dhabi in February set out ambitious plans to establish the emirate as a global hub for research and innovation in support of the conservation of mangroves when Britain's Prince William's visited the UAE.
The project was announced when Prince William met Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed, member of Abu Dhabi Executive Council and chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Office, at Jubail Mangrove Park.
Abu Dhabi Mangrove Initiative is being carried out by Environment Agency Abu Dhabi. The drive will provide a platform for innovation in mangrove research and support efforts to combat climate change.
A state-of-the-art mangrove nursery will also be established to act as a centre of research and learning.
The scheme aims to enable mangrove recovery to address the climate crisis and safeguard precious biodiversity.
More than 100 members of New York University Abu Dhabi's community outreach programme came together at a beauty spot near Jebel Ali to play their part in the country's bid to plant a further 100 million mangroves by 2030.