President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan said that the impressive achievements made by the country in areas of environmental protection and preservation of natural resources are in continuation of the course laid down by the ancestors and founding fathers, on top of whom comes late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who gave prudent directions to ensure long-term ecological balance, integrate the principles of sustainable development into the country’s policies and programmes, and reverse the loss of environmental resources to protect the rights of future generations to a healthy, bountiful environment.
In a message to the nation marking the 21st National Environment Day observed on 4th February every year His Highness President Sheikh Khalifa said, "We celebrate this national occasion for the 21st year running to renew, as government and people, our national and ethical commitment to preserving our natural resources and reviewing the achievements we have made over the past years. On this day, we reiterate our determination to double efforts to achieve our sustainable development objectives in line with the UAE Vision 2021 National Agenda with regards to ensuring a clean and safe environment that is conducive to providing continued prosperity and happiness for us and for generations to come.
"This year’s celebration of the occasion, marked under the theme ‘Sustainable Production and Consumption,’ coincides with the Year of Zayed, the Founding Father and the Man of the Environment who was keen since his establishment of the nation to cultivate a culture of environmental protection among different segments of society.
"Improvement of consumption patterns and optimised management of our energy and water resources are a national imperative and an important source of giving. We are looking forward to seeing all segments of society develop a rationalised pattern of consumption that still does not contradict with the welfare state we have secured over the year, but rather goes in line with a sustainable lifestyle that prevents and reduces waste in a way that ensures our future generations will continue to enjoy and benefit from their homeland’s natural wealth and resources.
"Over the past years, the government has made significant efforts to preserve its natural resources both on land and under the sea. We have issued several legislations that ensure 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.
"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 our 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 added.
H.H. President Khalifa affirmed that the government will continue to double efforts in order to protect "our civilisational and cultural legacy and our coveted international ranking by utilising the capabilities of our youth in employing state-of-the-art technology and applying best international practices in line with our National Agenda objectives, especially those with relevance to innovation and delivering the future."
The President called upon all state departments to intensify efforts in order to complete all necessary legislation needed to fulfil the National Agenda objectives and boost public awareness, especially among students in order to motivate them to meet their national, environmental and humanitarian obligations.
He also urged the private sector to assume an effective role in meeting its CSR obligations, calling upon all segments of society to develop sound environmental patterns that ensure sustainability of the country’s natural resources.