A vision for the environment: looking ahead as an Emirati woman

As experienced environmental scientists, it is vital that we educate all those around us
Vice President, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, visited today the headquarters of the General Women���s Union, GWU, and attended the launch of national initiatives honouring and documenting the achievements of Emirati women.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid was accompanied by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance; Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior; Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs; and Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance, and several ministers. Dubai Media Office / Wam

Today is a very special day and it is a genuine pleasure for me to celebrate Emirati Women’s Day. An important national occasion, the day marks pride in the achievements of Emirati women and their contribution to the renaissance of the UAE.

By announcing the celebration of this day, Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Mother of the Nation and Chairwoman of the General Women's Union, affirmed that the UAE attaches great importance to the role of women and appreciates the efficiency and excellence that they demonstrate in executing their duties and responsibilities.

Sheikha Fatima, who also serves as President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation, has played a pivotal role in the empowerment of Emirati women. She has always ensured that we have a strong and reliable support system, allowing us to achieve our goals. As such, it is fitting that the theme for Emirati Women’s Day this year is "Women: Ambitions and Inspiration for Next 50 Years". This is in line with the announcement by the President, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed of 2021 as “Year of the 50th”, as we celebrate the golden jubilee of the UAE.

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - Women looking forward to enroll themselves for Federal National Council at the General WomenÕs Union in Mushrif. Khushnum Bhandari for The National

Emirati Women’s Day 2021 pays tribute to the leadership’s support and empowerment of women, which has been constant and unconditional. And I can attest that our leadership’s agenda to empowering women has helped me to become the leader that I am today.

The UAE has always been a forward-looking nation and it is because of our government’s vision that we have achieved the unprecedented progress that we celebrate on this day. To continue on this path of success we need to remain committed to the UAE's futuristic vision. I believe that the theme of this year’s Emirati Women’s Day encourages us to do just that. It is our role to look as far as 50 years ahead and to every day serve as role models to the next generations.

As an Emirati woman, I have always looked to the example set by our wise leadership. It has empowered women, provided us with the support and resources to help build our beloved country and achieve our environmental vision, which is to preserve our natural heritage.

As environmental protection is one of our most important duties, we should be proactive in integrated planning that includes vital sectors in Abu Dhabi, so that we set a comprehensive and balanced development model that considers nature, green development and environmentally-friendly scientific and technological advancement.

While today we celebrate Emirati Women’s Day, a group of Emirati female leaders and researchers at EAD are participating in developing the Environmental Centennial 2071 plan. The idea is to pave the way forward and outline priorities and action plans to ensure that the environment remains one of the UAE’s main topics of discussion and action. This plan was inspired by the "UAE Centennial 2071" strategy that aspires to make the UAE the best country in the world by the 100th anniversary of the union of the UAE.

The Centennial plan has been shaped by anticipated global trends and it reflects creative solutions with the hope to mitigate future challenges.

Since the establishment of EAD more than 25 years ago, women have achieved a lot at the local, regional and global level. But there is still much more work that needs to be done. As experienced environmental scientists, it is vital that we educate all those around us and, most importantly, the next generation about the importance of the environment. It is our job to lead the conversation, devise plans and suggest ideas that will engage society as a whole and help preserve the environment for years to come.

On the occasion of Emirati Women’s Day, I congratulate Sheikha Fatima and all Emirati women for their distinguished efforts and dedication to raising families and building a better society. I affirm my commitment to continue our journey, inspired by the Mother of the Nation, and will work to instil values in my children that the nation was founded on. Children are the future, and they will take the lead in the future. I will always teach my children that they too have a role to play in conserving the environment and in various fields – including in empowering and advancing Emirati women.

Published: August 28th 2021, 4:00 AM
Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri

Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri

Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri is secretary-general of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi