Sheikh Khalifa urges nation to join together to protect UAE's 'natural resources'

UAE President said the country would stay true to its 'ethical commitment' ahead of National Environment Day

This picture taken on February 15, 2019 shows an Emirati national flag flying over the  reservoir at the Hatta Dam where kayaks and boats are cruising, in the Dubai emirate's exclave of Hatta, near the Omani border. Some 100 kilometres from Dubai's skyscrapers, "glamping" in luxurious trailer-style set-ups and mountainside lodgings is the next big thing in the desert country. Betting on tourism at a time of low oil prices, Dubai has pushed a blend of camping and luxury hotels -- "glamping", short for "glamourous camping". The city welcomed a record 15.92 million visitors in 2018, many of whom were drawn to its mega malls, luxurious hotels and pristine beaches. / AFP / KARIM SAHIB

The President, Sheikh Khalifa, urged the country to come together to safeguard the UAE's treasured "natural resources" for future generations and promote a green economy.

Speaking on the eve of the 23rd National Environment Day, Sheikh Khalifa said a balance must be achieved to secure a sustainable future at a time of rapid economic and social growth in the Emirates.

He pledged the UAE would stay on the path laid out by Sheikh Zayed, Founding Father, to ensure its stays true to it long-held "ethical commitment".

"We celebrate National Environment Day as an important occasion to renew our national and ethical commitment to preserving our national resources," Sheikh Khalifa said.

We have made significant efforts to preserve the environment

He said the UAE would be "doubling efforts" to reach sustainability goals as part of a major drive to provide "a clean and safe environment that contributes to providing prosperity and happiness for us and for future generations".

Sheikh Khalifa noted that this year's celebration coincides with the 2020: Towards the Next 50 – the bold master plan to propel the country, which is preparing to celebrate its Golden Jubilee next year, forward for decades to come.

He said that while environmental concerns remained a priority, "the process of economic and social growth along with the increase in population numbers requires more work that unites all segments of society".

"Over the past years, we have made significant efforts to preserve the environment and its natural resources by issuing legislation that ensures the sustainability of these resources and developed a number of ambitious national strategies to build a green economy that prioritises the protection of the environment and the preservation of natural resources," Sheikh Khalifa said.

"We have developed the water sector to protect the country’s underground water reserves and the agricultural sector by encouraging farmers to develop and adopt modern approaches that are relevant to and match the country's climatic conditions.

"We have established a number of natural reserves and programmes to protect endangered species inside and outside the country and issued clear directives to develop all necessary measures conducive to preserving our fishing and agricultural resources."

He said renewable energy, including an increased focus on solar power, was a central part of those efforts.

"We urge all government institutions to boost their efforts to achieve our national goals and to promote awareness of community members of their national, environmental and humanitarian responsibilities and roles," Sheikh Khalifa said.

He also called on the private sector to play its part in developing and managing eco-friendly business practices.