UAE to plant 10 mangroves for every person attending Cop28

Project could result in 800,000 being planted in Abu Dhabi to help mark climate change talks in Dubai

Newly planted mangrove seedlings in Jubail Mangrove Park in Abu Dhabi. Victor Besa / The National
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Ten mangroves will be planted in Abu Dhabi for each visitor attending the Cop28 climate change summit this year, environment officials have said.

Cop28, which will be held between November 30 to December 12 at Expo City Dubai, is set to attract about 80,000 attendees from around the world for talks and conferences.

That could mean that an estimated 800,000 mangrove trees could be planted in Abu Dhabi.

The Environment Agency Abu Dhabi has pledged to plant these mangroves using drone technology in the last quarter of this year.

The mangrove trees will be planted in coastal areas such as Marawah Marine Biosphere Reserve, Al Mirfa City and Jubail Island during the winter months, which is said to be the best time for the species to grow.

Dr Shaikha Al Dhaheri, Secretary General of the agency, said the project aims to support the UAE's Year of Sustainability drive, as well as the UAE National Net Zero 2050 initiative and the UAE's goal of planting 100 million mangroves by 2030.

That pledge that was made at the Cop26 conference in Glasgow in 2021.

“This initiative also highlights the UAE's commitment to achieving climate neutrality and promoting nature-based solutions to reduce the effects and adapt to climate change and reduce the environmental footprint of conference visitors, at the rate of absorbing one tonne of carbon for every 5,000 mangrove trees,” Dr Al Dhaheri said.

The project will also serve as a platform for developing innovative solutions for mangrove conservation, climate change mitigation and raising awareness of their importance.

The UAE is home to more than a dozen areas of mangroves and the country plans to expand and develop their presence along its coastline.

Mangroves in Abu Dhabi support a wide range of biodiversity and help protect seagrass beds and coral reefs from sedimentation.

They also enhance water quality and support ecotourism activities.

“Building a resilient, net-zero future depends on halting nature loss and restoring our natural ecosystems,” said Razan Al Mubarak, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for Cop28.

“Nature-based solutions, including those involving mangroves, have the potential to supply over a third of our climate mitigation needs and build resilience to the effects of climate change.

“I welcome this EAD-led initiative, which both raises awareness and takes action to restore and protect mangroves in the UAE.”

Al Zorah City in Ajman is also set to double its natural mangrove reserve with hundreds of thousands of mangrove trees over the next year.

The initiative, which launched on Tuesday, is a commitment from Al Zorah City, a joint venture between the Ajman government and Solidere International PLC, a leading real estate developer in the emirate.

Al Zorah currently houses more than 500,000 trees responsible for producing millions of litres of oxygen per day, spanning more than one million square metres and harbouring more than 200 species of native and migratory birds.

"Al Zorah Mangrove Natural Reserve is a treasured part of our community in Ajman," Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, chairman of the Al Zorah City board of directors, said in a press release.

"We are pleased to announce our initiative for 2023, which strives to increase our green footprint in the Emirate and support the UAE in its long-term sustainability targets and the upcoming highly anticipated Cop28."

Conserving mangroves in the UAE – in pictures

Updated: September 05, 2023, 4:27 PM