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DUBAI, 24th August, 2023 (WAM) -- Today marked the conclusion of the activities of the second national workshop to update the National Biodiversity Strategy 2031, organised by the Ministry of Climate Change and the Environment (MoCCAE) over three days at the Habtoor Polo Resort in Dubai.
The second national workshop aims to develop a national strategy and action plan that meets international commitments towards biodiversity and aligns with the leadership directions and national policies to achieve the UAE's centennial goals. This is done by staying updated with the latest developments, discussing the outputs of the working groups regarding the update of the National Biodiversity Strategy, and exploring the best environmental practices related to the development and enhancement of this vital sector in the country, ensuring its sustainability. All of this falls within the framework of sustainability and the UAE's preparations for the Conference of the Parties (COP28).
The workshop was attended by Dr. Mohammed Salman Alhammadi, Assistant Under-Secretary for the Biodiversity and Marine Life Sector at the Ministry of Climate Change and the Environment, Geetha Nayak the Regional Coordinator for Biodiversity and Ecosystems at the United Nations Environment Programme West Asia Office, and representatives from several ministries including the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, as well as various local government entities, the academic sector, public benefit associations, and the private sector.
During the workshop, Dr. Mohamed Salman Alhammadi emphasised the UAE's significant commitment to enhancing biodiversity, conserving endangered animal and plant species, and preserving crucial ecosystems that offer unique services such as carbon dioxide storage, air purification, natural disaster mitigation, food and medicine provision, among others. He highlighted the UAE's efforts to shape a pioneering global model in this vital field, noting to the UAE's keenness to showcase its efforts and practical solutions in formulating an ambitious national biodiversity strategy, especially with the upcoming COP28 conference in November.
Dr. Alhammadi further explained that the workshop aims to set objectives and programmes that collectively strive to achieve the strategy's vision of “Development and Investment under Sustainable Biodiversity.”
This workshop represents an opportunity to gather various sectors in the country, including government, academia, private, public benefit organisations, and related international organisations, to consolidate efforts to achieve national targets and international directions in line with the global biodiversity framework.
He added, “The issue of biodiversity and related wildlife conservation and development is of paramount importance in the UAE, starting with the efforts made by the UAE’s leadership in this field, including enacting legislation, monitoring its implementation, establishing protected areas, expanding them, and conserving endangered species.”
Workshop participants worked in groups to align national and international objectives, programmes, and initiatives with the goals and initiatives of the National Biodiversity Strategy, contributing to the development of a comprehensive national strategy. The workshop also aimed to address the underlying causes of biodiversity loss and confront and overcome challenges by integrating biodiversity values across all state sectors, reducing direct pressures on biodiversity, promoting sustainable use, and ensuring the sustainability of ecosystem services.
During the national workshop, the outcomes of the first preparatory workshop for updating the National Biodiversity Strategy, which was held at the beginning of last June, were reviewed. The Ministry of Climate Change and the Environment presented an explanatory presentation about the efforts of the UAE, the state of biodiversity in the country, and the progress made in implementing the national strategy. The guiding manual for developing national strategies by the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs was also reviewed, in addition to getting acquainted with the efforts and experiences of some entities related to biodiversity in the country.
Several initiatives and projects related to biodiversity conservation were presented during the workshop by the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi, Dubai Municipality, the Environment Authority - Fujairah, Dibba Al Fujairah Municipality, and the UAE Environment Working Group.
The workshop also introduced the experiences of several international organisations and their efforts in this field, including the United Nations Environment Programme - West Asia Office, in addition to discussing the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework in terms of objectives and indicator analysis.
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