CHAIRPERSON’S MESSAGE

The novel COVID-19 has put the world in a testing period as it threatens to shake the foundation of societies by destabilising entire economies, especially those poorer countries that are lacking in infrastructure and resources. Globally, the virus has spread to more than 700,000 and the numbers continue to rise as countries scramble to contain it before it completely overwhelms and inundates the health structure.

The aim of ‘social distancing’ is to ‘flatten the curve’ of the spread of the virus so as to give some breathing space to the hospitals and the doctors that are working round the clock to get a grip on the situation. The level of spread varies from country to country depending on its level of preparedness. Despite being a central transit location, UAE has once again proven its worth by being able to successfully manage the spread of the virus to an absolute minimum. A major reason for this has been sustainable best practices that have been placed in policies that have ensured that the system does not fail us even in times of emergencies.

While we sit inside our homes, this should also serve as a moment of reflection. There is a lesson to be learnt from how the world has come together to face an imminent threat to our lives. I believe that we are already seeing the positive effects of that collaboration. However, another impending threat that has been staring us in the face for a long time has been climate change and global warming. According to the World Health Organisation, air pollution, which is one of the components of global warming, kills more than 7 million people each year. In 2018, more than 60 million people suffered due to extreme weather and climate change. Heatwaves and wildfire killed more than 1,600 people in the US, Japan and Europe. The bushfires in Australia this year have destroyed entire regions and wiped many animal species. Cyclone Idai destroyed Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe while damages worth US $ 24 billion were caused to the US economy by hurricanes Florence and Michael according to the World Meteorological Organisation. However, it remains to be treated on the same footing as we are treating this pandemic. Experts also believe that pandemics and climate crisis go hand in hand. According to research, changing weather patterns might be causing species to move into environments where they don’t have the immunity against local diseases, giving rise to pandemics as the present one.

There is no doubt in my mind that united, we will overcome the coronavirus pandemic in the near future. However, with regards to the climate crisis, we may be already out of time. We can still mitigate the disastrous consequences by taking heed and setting in place stringent measures as we are doing for the Coronavirus.

Habiba Al Mar’ashi

Who we are

EEG is a professional working group devoted to protecting the environment through the means of education, action programmes and community involvement. Established in 1991, it has witnessed phenomenal growth in terms of membership, programmes and partnerships over the past two and a half decades.

Our organisation is open to men and women of all nationalities and all ages. Our member network comprises of students, individuals, families, corporate members, federal and local government agencies, universities, colleges and schools, as well as reputed regional and international institutions.

EEG is actively encouraged and supported by concerned local and federal government agencies. It is the first environmental NGO in the world to be ISO 14001 certified and the only organisation of its kind in the UAE with accredited status to the United Nations Convention to Combating Desertification (UNCCD) and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP). EEG is a signatory of the UN Global Compact (UNGC) and hosted the Local Network for Gulf States from 2008-2014. EEG is also a member of the International Union of Conservation for Nature (IUCN). EEG is viewed as one of the most prestigious environmental groups within the Middle East and prides itself on its environmental achievements.

Aims & Objectives

To contribute positively to the advancement of sustainable development in the UAE by acting as a focal point for people of all nationalities and ages concerned with environmental protection and responsible waste management.

To increase the level of public awareness on all local, regional and global environmental issues.
To assist concerned authorities, where possible, in implementing environmental programmes and projects.
To promote positive environmental action by individuals through active participation in specific project, campaigns and activities.
To propagate community waste reduction and recycling schemes, both as a means of protecting the environment and as a flagship for improving the community’s environmental awareness.
To compile a database on various environmental issues and make it available to the public and institutions.
To foster exchange of information, experience and practices including our areas of expertise.
To mobilize the support of experts on various environmental issues from the public and private sectors.
To liaise with various target groups within the community to spread the environmental message and encourage volunteerism in preserving and protecting the environment.

Accreditations

ISO
First environmental NGO in the world to be accredited with the ISO 14001 certification
UNCCD
Accredited NGO with the United Nations Convention for Combatting Desertification
UNEP
Accredited NGO, Governing Council, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)