President Sheikh Khalifa celebrated the UAE's “pioneering efforts” to safeguard its natural resources for future generations on the 25th National Environment Day on Friday.
Sheikh Khalifa spoke of the country's determination to promote sustainability and address the challenges of climate change as part of an ambitious green agenda.
He reflected on 50 years of achievements and said all of society — from government departments to individuals alike — must continue to support the eco-friendly vision.
“The National Environment Day, which we celebrate for the 25th year, is an important occasion to remember the efforts of the UAE’s leaders and people over the past 50 years, made to protect the environment, preserve the country’s natural resources, and invest in its land in a way that is conducive to providing continued prosperity and happiness for us and generations to come,” said Sheikh Khalifa, in a speech carried by state news agency Wam.
“The pioneering efforts of the UAE in the field of environment reflect the country’s national and ethical commitment as outlined in its vision on sustainable development and the need to lessen the impact of climate change through a joint action to confront its repercussions.”
Sheikh Khalifa said the strategy is in line with the goals of the UAE's Founding Father, Sheikh Zayed, who said “we take from our environment as much as we need and leave the rest to ensure the rights of future generations".
“This year’s edition of National Environment Day takes place under the theme 'Climate Action Now', that aims to spread awareness and enable all members of the community to participate in this action to lessen from the causes of climate change and enhance our adaptation to its repercussions,” he said.
Sheikh Khalifa reflected on the need to strike a balance between economic growth and sustainability.
“Since the UAE joined the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, we have been accelerating the climate action internationally, especially after we signed the Paris Agreement, and launched the UAE Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative,” he said.
“The UAE is working on building a better future for its citizens and residents, as it provides an example to other countries on how to adopt a clean and renewable energy strategy.”
“We call upon our government institutions, the private sector, public benefit organisations, and individuals, to carry out their social, ethical and humanitarian responsibilities towards protecting the environment and climate.”
UAE on path to sustainability
The UAE will host the 28th UN global climate talks in 2023, a further demonstration of its growing role in the global quest to support the environment.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, tweeted after the announcement that the UAE would put everything towards making Cop28 a success.
“We congratulate the Emirates for winning the bid to host the most important conference for climate Cop28, for 2023 … a deserved win for our country … we will put all our capabilities for the conference to succeed … the UAE will remain committed to global climate action to protect our planet Earth,” he said.
In October, the UAE announced an ambitious initiative to reduce carbon emissions by 2050.
The plan will invest Dh600 billion in clean and renewable energy sources over the next three decades.
At Cop26 in Glasgow, Scotland, the UAE joined more than 100 countries in agreeing to reverse deforestation, and the government will follow up on that plan by using $19 billion in public and private finance to restore degraded land, tackle bushfires, protect indigenous people and focus on key areas such as the Congo Basin.
In January, The UAE Cabinet agreed the country would join the Leaders' Pledge for Nature, an international effort to boost the green agenda.
The Emirates had endorsed the crucial initiative at the Cop26 climate summit in November, and Cabinet ministers reaffirmed the UAE's support for the pledge at their first meeting of 2022, held at the UAE pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.