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Habiba Al Mar'ashi

UAE poised to lead the way in sustainable living

By | News

Dubai has matched the UAE’s national ambitions on every level and shows no signs of slowing down.

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” I am reminded of this quote when I think of climate change and the polarising effect it continues to have among nations and leaders. Hindsight is a double edged sword; while it gives a perspective, there’s always the danger that decisions made in ignorance or haste will forever be recorded in history.

This brings us back to the topic of climate change and to the stance the UAE has taken. It is a sign of a great nation that dares to swim against the tide, especially when doing so threatens the very foundation on which the economy has so far been surviving. And yet and in spite of sitting on 8 per cent of the world’s oil reserves and meeting the majority of its current energy demand with fossils fuels, the UAE announced at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi in 2017 that renewable energy would make up 44 per cent of its energy mix by 2050.

Even coming from the most developed country in the world, that would have been a bold statement to make, let alone from a country like the UAE, whose very existence has been based on fossil fuels until recently. It is an example for the rest of the world, an example set by a nation that has put its national interest aside in deference to a global cause.

This is the stuff leading nations are made of. In order for the UAE to achieve the goals it has set, the government is investing $163 billion into renewable, clean fossil and nuclear energy technologies, with expected savings of $190 billion.

It does require commitment to step away from conventional and age-old practices and venture into the unknown. For the UAE, that unknown is renewable energy.

Geographically situated perfectly to receive almost 10 hours of sunlight every day for 350 days a year, the UAE is at an optimal position to take advantage of the latest developments in solar technologies. The low cost of solar energy has also added to its fast-growing business appeal. This was affirmed by none other than Adnan Z Amin, the then director-general of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) at the Biennial Solar World Conference in Abu Dhabi in 2017. He said he was optimistic about the future of solar energy in the region due to its dropping costs.

Another added bonus and a further feather in the UAE’s cap was when the country was chosen as the location to host the headquarters of IRENA. That coupled with the regions’ first research institution dedicated to advanced energy and sustainable technologies at Masdar City, has made the UAE the hub and one of the leading lights in the area of alternative energy sources.

Additionally, the government has made adjustments to its policies to address the issue of climate change. It has set a target of reducing carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere by 70 per cent by 2050. The strategy of the UAE has been based on two pillars; the first one is to replace its own energy needs gradually but surely from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. In this, the country is well on track to reach its target. Already the cost of solar energy production has gone down to 5.84 cents per kilowatt/hour, making it cheaper than natural gas.

The second pillar of UAE’s strategy is that of knowledge and technology transfer. Even developed economies like Spain, UK and Austria have signed agreements with the UAE in the field of environmental protection and alternative energy. This is an acknowledgement of the UAE’s stature and the respect it is held in by the rest of the world.

The country has never hesitated from helping its neighbours, as well. Since 2013, it has through partnership with the UN or through bilateral cooperation, allocated more than $750 million to projects dealing with development of alternative energy sources.

This also includes water, wind and waste resources.

The future looks bright and sunny for UAE, with the Middle East projected to have as much solar power as current US levels within the coming six years. Dubai has matched the UAE’s national ambitions on every level and shows no signs of slowing down. The government is on its way to construct the Concentrated Solar Power project, be largest single site project.

At a time when most developing countries still lack the technology, human capacity or the finances to tackle their energy sectors, the UAE is poised to step into the leadership vacuum and to lead the way. The country has a ready market for its cheap renewable energy in the shape of Southeast Asia where energy demand is slated to rise to 67 per cent by 2040. The UAE could cater to this rising demand and in the process; it could chart a new model for renewable energy investment.

Habiba Al Mar’ashi is President & CEO, Arabia CSR Network

600 students participate in the Earth Hour celebration

By | Earth Hour

The Emirates Environmental Group (EEG) has announced the participation of more than 600 students and dignitaries at Earth Hour, conducted by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA). This year, EEG once again conducted the Paper Walk project where EEG members brought in small quantities of paper for recycling before the beginning of the Earth Hour. A total amount of 2,500 kg of paper was brought for recycling. By sending these papers for recycling, EEG and its members have managed to mitigate, 9.7 metric tonnes of CO2E, save, 56 million BTU of energy, 8 m3 of landfill space and 43 trees being felled.

At the event, H. E. Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA, pledged: “In the Year of Tolerance, I pledge to support the environment and conserve and maintain our natural resources for generations to come. DEWA will continue to build clean-energy projects that help save the planet so that Dubai will have the lowest carbon footprint in the world.” H.E Saif Humaid Al Falasi, Group CEO of ENOC pledged: “This year, I pledge to lead ENOC into the future by incorporating and instilling green, innovative solutions to the betterment of the environment in UAE and the world as whole.” Habiba Al Marashi, Chairperson of EEG also pledged: “This year I pledge to continue to spread the message of environmental sustainability and actively engage and educate the mass through action oriented programmes and progress to the attain the SDG’s.”

EEG which was established in 1991, is a professional working group devoted to protecting the environment through the means of education, action programmes and community involvement. As a prominent and leading environmental NGO in the UAE, EEG is open to and collaborates with people of all ages from various entities including students, individuals, families, corporate members, federal and local government agencies, universities, colleges and schools, as well as reputed regional and international institutions.

EEG invites all of their Student, Academic and Corporate members to participate in the Earth Hour annually. This year, close to 600 individuals of various entities participated in the Earth Hour with EEG. As a platform to spread awareness and negate the effects of climate change and that of light pollution on the flora and fauna of the environment, EEG takes this opportunity to incorporate EEG’s recycling and education programmes as well.

EEG also organised the signing of a Pledge board for its members and for the VIP’s at the event. Young student members of EEG wrote their pledges with colourful fluorescent pens and placed their fingerprint signature. As the hour to initiate the Earth Hour approached, various VIPs including, H.E. Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, the Minister of Environment & Climate Change; H.E. Saeed Al Tayer, the MD and CEO of DEWA; H.E. Saif Humaid Al Falasi Group CEO of ENOC along with the Chairperson of EEG and various official dignitaries visited the EEG stand to write and sign their pledges for the year.

The memorable event concluded with the students of EEG joining the Earth Hour march under the dark, holding the EEG banner, fluorescent paper pinwheels, guided by the delicate lights of glow in the dark paint and lamps; celebrating their contribution to preserving the environment and participate in the global movement to protect the biosphere we call Earth.

Emirates Environmental Group presents “Sustainable Cities and Communities”

By | Panel Discussion

The Emirates Environmental Group (EEG), a UAE-based professional working group, with the mission of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in the country, held the second panel discussion of 2019 on the topic of “Sustainable cities and Communities” at the Modul University in Dubai. The event was conducted in association with the Arabia CSR Network, Emirates Green Building Council and Clean Energy Business Council.

The panel discussion, earlier known as ‘community lectures’, is a platform that was originally rolled out in 1992. We are proud to continue our session in 2019 with an important topic, an impressive line-up of speaker and with a strong attendance. The event aims to bolster knowledge on sustainable cities and communities in the region by bringing together sustainably conscious global citizens, who are interested in learning more and understanding about the developments and advancements being made in the field of urban development. Focusing on Sustainable Development Goal 11, the panel discussion addressed City Resilience to climate change, Renewable Energy integration, Green Construction material and Green investments.

“A sustainable city can be broadly defined as a city designed to provide the highest quality of life with the lowest possible environmental footprint. With two thirds of the world’s population expected to be living in cities by 2050, it is time we started taking a more serious look at sustainable living before we run out of space”, said Mrs Habiba Al Mar’ashi, Chairperson of Emirates Environmental Group!

“A lot has been done to celebrate the progress of our achievements, however we must be aware of our challenges that lie ahead and our targets” said Mr Saeed Al Abbar very poignantly. In Asia and Africa, cities are responsible for generating over 80% of the GDP in their countries. This is the primary reason that is driving this modern phenomenon of urban migration. Cities in Asia alone will be home to another 1.1 billion people in the next two decades. Most cities are already struggling with serious environmental and socio-economic issues, traffic congestions, poor infrastructure designs and inadequate sanitation and waste management systems all leading to increased air, water and land pollution. The long term environmental degradation of cities will in turn have a direct impact on its economic growth thereby posing a huge challenge for future urban developers and policymakers. “The success of a sustainable city will depend on its ability to adapt to local geography and one that also satisfies health, wellbeing, economics and ecological needs of society”, said Ms. Huda Shaka.

The critical topic of Sustainable Cities was strategically covered in full scope, bringing together a diverse panel of expert speakers. The expert panelists included Mr. Saeed Al Abbar (Managing Director of AESG and Chairman of Emirates Green Building Council), Mrs. Huda Shaka (Associate Director at Arup), Mr. Pradeep Singh (Assistant Director of Business Development at Etihad ESCO), Mr. Ken Wade (Director at 5 Capital) represented their entities and shared their expertise and knowledge. The meaningful panel discussion explored how UAE is leading the talk on the implementation of sustainable city policies, projects and technologies. The presentations were followed by a lively interactive session where the experts and audience members shared information, discussed queries, pondered on the challenges and the plethora of opportunities that presented themselves and uncovered the truths and complexities of our future.

Dubai is a smart city that connects with people

By | News

A truly smart city is one that lets its citizens come up with a definition of ‘smart’. It is thus, more like a home than a laboratory to its residents. With two thirds of the world’s population expected to be living in cities by 2050, it is time we started taking a more serious look at sustainable living before we run out of space. This is where smart cities come in.

Until a decade ago, the word conjured up images of a dystopian futuristic society where tall sky-high buildings and flying modes of transportation spoke more about the widening gulf of social classes and inequality and less about sustainable spatial living. In reality, quite the opposite is true. Smart cities improve the living standards of its citizens through the use of technology. They have the effect of bridging the digital divide, allowing enterprises to flourish and thrive. In fact, if done right, smart cities do the exact opposite of what was once perceived; they promote inclusion and collaboration between citizens leading to sustainable transformation and collective growth.

In the era of Big Data, knowledge is power. The more information available to the relevant agencies, the better they will be able to analyse changing patterns and trends in real time. This would lead to faster response times and lesser lags and lowering of costs eventually. Through open data, governments can cut costs and increase civic engagement. Through open sharing of data that is easily absorbed and used, governments can increase citizen participation, leading to more innovation by businesses and startups.

Any smart city relies on three essential layers (foundations) upon which its whole façade needs to be raised. The first layer is technology. There needs to be enough users of smartphones to enable a high-speed connection of sensors through which data can flow. After obtaining this raw, unstructured data, there should be a second layer of the right type of applications to translate it into actionable and implementable insights and alerts. The third and final layer relies on the usage of technology by the companies and the public. The success of any application depends on a critical mass of users adopting it and as a result, changing their behaviour. For example, they should encourage people to switch from private to public transport, to reduce water and energy usage. According to estimates, the cities that have successfully adopted smart-mobility applications will be able to reduce commute times by 15 to 20 per cent by 2025.

The success or failure of any smart city initiative depends on whether it is adopted by its dwellers. The essence of a smart city is that it is controlled and run by the public with the government supporting and providing an enabling environment. Dubai has been one of the frontrunners in the sphere of smart city planning. Currently it is ranked at number 40 in the list of most accessible and sustainable smart cities. With more than 93 per cent of UAE’s population living in cities and with Dubai representing one third of the country’s total population, there is much room for improvement. As Dubai grows to accommodate the city’s population increase which is expected to double by 2027, innovative techniques will have to play a huge role.

With the Smart Dubai 2021 roadmap in place, the city is already well on its way towards ushering in a new chapter of transformation using intelligent, personalised and responsive systems. The government has picked the theme of sustainability to guide its long-term vision of being prepared for the future and meeting the needs of the coming generations.

Amongst the green technology initiatives by the government is a plan to move 25 per cent of the city’s transportation into autonomous mode. This driverless transportation is expected to save hundreds of millions of hours spent commuting on an annual basis. Besides helping reduce carbon emissions and lowering transportation costs, these initiatives reflect Dubai’s commitments towards becoming a smart, sustainable and model green economy.

However, there is always room for improvement. Learning from the examples and experiences of other global cities can help Dubai avoid the pitfalls and obstacles that might come in the way. Some concepts to keep in mind for a smart and sustainable city are:

Structure and future proofing: Think of a tall building as a stacked community. There should be room in the infrastructure and design for future configurations and additions.

Multiple ground levels: The ground plan is an essential layer of the city that needs to be replicated at higher floors. In order to restrict horizontal urban sprawl and reduce carbon footprint, multiple ground levels can be replicated in a single building. With parks, streets and other civic functions in the sky, there would be less people on the road, thereby reducing the carbon footprint and the density.

Tropical/perforated city: In order to bring fresh air and nature into densely packed spaces without using mechanical systems, tall buildings can have perforated open spaces in sustainable and imaginative ways.

Natural daylight: The increase in high-rises must not come at the cost of blocking daylight. There should be no dark spots in the city. Light wells/scopes can be strategically placed at vulnerable spots to bring natural daylight into central areas.

Greenery: Noise, glare, dust and heat can be reduced through the extensive use of green living walls which also act as environmental filters. Home owners can also enjoy their own garden plots in the air through this landscaping technique.

Preparing a smart workforce: Any city is as smart as its residents, which is why leading smart cities have recognised the importance of building the capacities of their citizens of all ages with digital skills. Consequently, they have introduced innovative interactive experiences such as hackathons to help communities familiarise themselves with digital tools.

*Blockchain technology: Although still pretty much a new concept, the speed with which blockchain technology is transforming the whole global digital economy is unprecedented. This is a new way that Dubai can look in to integrate block-chain technology in the city services that can boost security and service transparency.

The use of blockchain can vastly improve transactional processes and can be used in self-executing contracts or smart contracts. The technology would speed up the process, remove extraneous steps, protect against fraud and reduce costs. It has proven its effectiveness to be used in a wide array of processes such as billing and transactions processing, handling facilities management, or facilitating smart grid energy sharing.

*Two-way communication channels: At the heart of a smart city is an effective communication channel between the government and the residents of the city. The stronger and responsive these channels are, the better. This concept is also in line with the Dubai Happiness Agenda which is part of the Smart Dubai 2021 strategy.

There is a need to build urban systems for infrastructure, roads, parks and commercial centres. Governments need to consider functionality, liveability and sustainability along with beauty. A smart city must be easy for residents to use and enjoy the facilities.  A strong central infrastructure that is capable of ensuring high level of logistical coherence is a need of the hour for a smart city.

 Habiba Al Mar’ashi, President & CEO, Arabia CSR Network

EEG Organises “One World, One Family” Gala Dinner

By | Gala Dinner

Under the Patronage of H.E. Engr. Sheikh Salem bin Sultan bin Saqr Al-Qasimi To Celebrate Environmental Achievements of 2018

Monday, 04 March 2019: Emirates Environmental Group (EEG), the country’s pioneer environmental NGO hosted its Annual Gala Dinner to recognise the dedicated stakeholders and celebrate its long lasting partnerships. The momentous event aimed to acknowledge the joint accomplishments of public and private sector entities in maximising sustainable practices, under the meaningful year of 2019 as declared by the visionary leadership of the United Arab Emirates as the “Year of Tolerance”. EEG was born 28 years ago on the soils of this dynamic and great land, inspired by the founding father’s vision and strong mission on the conservation of our surroundings and the precious natural resources of the country. As a United Nations accredited Organisation, the event perfectly encapsulated EEG’s effort to implement UN SDG no 17, which highlights the importance of effective partnerships to achieve sustainable development.

The beautiful city view open expanse of Al Habtoor Palace LXR Hotels & Resorts Dubai Canal, welcomed distinguished guests including the Patron & Guest of Honour, H.E. Eng. Sheikh Salem bin Sultan bin Saqr Al-Qasimi, Chairman of Department of Civil Aviation, Ras Al Khaimah, and Honorary Member of EEG, H.E. Dr. Dena Assaf – United Nations Resident Coordinator to the UAE, amongst several members of the diplomatic corps of different countries, CEO’s of companies and senior government representatives.

The meaningful event was was sponsored by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority as the Diamond Sponsor, Wasl as a Special Sponsor, McDonald’s UAE and Dutco Construction Co. (L.L.C). as Gold Sponsors and Chalhoub Group as the Silver Sponsor. The Arabia CSR Network came on board as the Sustainability Partner.

H.E. Eng. Sheikh Salem bin Sultan bin Saqr Al-Qasimi expressed his pleasure at being among everyone as “a proud family member of our beloved Emirates Environmental Group under tonight’s theme of “One World, One Family.” Sheikh Salem said, “Our family focuses on educating and inspiring future generations on environmental preservation to help save our planet. Being the year of tolerance, in our family, we are breaking the barriers of race, creed and where we come from to truly become one family. One Family committed to the preservation of our One World.”

The evening marked the celebration of EEG’s work, highlighting the milestones it managed to cross in the year of 2018. The first professional working group in the country to design year-round environmental programmes for corporates, academia and families alike, EEG is a go-to organisation for entities and individuals, who wish to contribute to the country’s path towards sustainability. Starting its long journey in environmental action in 1991, today the EEG with its wide network of entities is represented in various international platforms as a leading civil society organisation in the Arab Region.

The key environmental successes and highlights of 2018 were shared by EEG Chairperson, Mrs. Habiba Al Mar’ashi. Addressing the guests, she said “Indeed, Tolerance is the essence of our theme this evening, which is, ‘One World, One Family’ The theme reflects EEG’s motto; – (Together for a better Environment). Together, is the key word that binds us as a family and as a world without barriers. In creating this fabric of togetherness, Tolerance is the thread that will weave safety, stability and happiness into the lives of people across the world. Without tolerance, safety, stability and happiness, we will not be able to achieve economic development, environmental sustainability and societal progress. With Tolerance, we can hope to build the world as one family that shares with each other the benefices of the planet, where future generations continue to understand, empathise with and support each other’s needs and aspirations.”

In the Year of Zayed, EEG managed to mitigate 4,573 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions, saved 37,046 cubic meters of landfill space, achieved efficiency equaling 32,506 British Thermal Units of energy, and saved 24,901 trees from being felled to produce paper. All this was possible through EEG’s waste management campaigns to recycle Aluminium cans, paper, plastic, glass, toners and mobile phones.

EEG’s educational projects for 2018, involved over 68,304 students and teachers from 6 Arab countries. The 2018 Clean Up UAE national campaign, organised by EEG, further brought together 24,195 volunteers, who collected 40,700 Kg  of waste from numerous sites across the seven Emirates.

H.E. Dr. Dena Assaf – United Nations Resident Coordinator to the UAE in her Key Note speech said “The work being carried out by organisations like the Emirates Environment Group is crucial. By reaching out to and engaging different sectors in society, it is instilling a mindset of respect towards the environment and awareness of the great challenges that lie ahead. This inevitably will lead to actions and changes in attitudes at all levels, be it with youth, be it with business leaders, or just individuals like you and me.”

The Annual Gala Dinner witnessed the official awarding of 55 uniquely designed and crafted crystals to the corporate and government sponsors and supporters of EEG’s programmes for their corporate citizenship, social responsibility and spirit of partnership in 2018.

In its continuous effort to demonstrate a deep commitment with regards to practicing the values it preaches, EEG organised its Gala Dinner as a Carbon Neutral Event as is customary whereby the resultant 5.83 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions have been offset with the help of its corporate member Farnek.

Every single attendee went home with a sapling of Ghaf tree put nicely in a container decorated with the theme of the evening and the symbol of the year of Tolerance. They were also given Honey samples from the Ghaf tree very kindly prvided by ANHB to symbolise the natural production and food security.

The highly successful 22nd Annual Corporate Gala Dinner, an evening of appreciation, entertainment and networking, served as an inspiration to continue with the engagement of the local corporate sector in the efforts of EEG to maximse sustainable development. All the support and encouragement that was expressed during the marvelous evening has once again proven that EEG’s hardwork and effort to build new partnerships has bonded very well with both the private and government sector.

EEG Collects 4050 kg of Aluminium Can and mitigates 61 metric tons Carbon Dioxide

By | Can Collection Day

Emirates Environmental Group successfully brings together over 200 entities to participate in the 23rd Can Collection Day Campaign in the Year of Tolerance.

Collects 4050 kg of Aluminium Can and mitigates 61 metric tons Carbon Dioxide

Emirates Environmental Group (EEG) has once again rallied the nation for its 23rd Cycle of the Can Collection Day. The drive brought together more than 200 entities from all the Emirates to participate in the event. The combined effort of various hotels, families, academic institutions and corporations reeled in 4050 kg of Aluminium Cans for recycling on 28th February 2019. EEG achieved 20% of the target and therefore urges all sectors of the society to achieve the set target of 20,000 Kgs till December.

Mrs. Habiba Al Mar’ashi, Chairperson of Emirates Environmental Group greatly appreciated the fact that over the last 23 years, the Can Collection Campaign has seen a tremendous growth and participation from the people of UAE socity. Since its inception in 1997, EEG has managed to collect 3,20,400 kg of Aluminium Cans which has resulted in the mitigation of 4809 MTCO2e, saving of 7777 m3 of landfill space and the conservation of 72,918 million BTU of energy.

EEG has always strived to educate and raise awareness of the community on conservation issues through active and action oriented programmes. Besides Aluminium Cans, EEG also facilitates the collection of Paper, Plastic, Glass Bottles, Toners and Mobile phones for recycling. By conducting such campaigns, EEG is constantly adding on to the aim of achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Particularly Goal No.12 which calls on the importance of Sustainable Consumption and production.

EEG encourages every individual, from young students to working professionals, to actively participate in its recycling campaigns. Embracing on the values of the Year of Tolerance and by working to achieve the UAE national agenda of helping divert 75% of waste away from landfill by 2021, EEG truly believes that the Can Collection Drive captures the commitment and passion the UAE leadership has envisioned our society to attain. As an organisation that is accredited with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), it is our mission to engage the local community in local actions that create global impacts.

The campaign’s success was due to the collaboration and commitment of various government, corporate and academic institutions, once again highlighting EEG’s attempt to implement UN SDG no 17: Effective Partnerships for Sustainable Development.  Mrs. Al Mar’ashi expressed her gratitude to Emirates Global Aluminum (EGA) for coming on board as a co-sponsor for the Can Collection Campaign 2019. EEG also appreciates the support of Dubai Municipality, Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (SEWA), Ajman Tourism Development Department, Abela & Co, AF Constructions LLC, American International School of Abu Dhabi, Tristar, McDonald’s UAE, Sharif Metals and Lucky Recycling for helping make this campaign a success.

The dedication of the people living in UAE and their conscience to protect the environment reflected through this campaign. The top collectors of the Can Collection Campaign in 2019 will be awarded on the World Environment Day in 2020 at the prestigious Annual Awarding Ceremony. EEG urges the all sectors of the society in the UAE to continue their proactive work by joining hands to eliminate pollution of all kinds and its effects on the country and planet.

 

Notes to Editors:

Emirates Environmental Group (EEG): EEG is a professional working group established in 1991 devoted to protecting the environment through the means of education, action programmes and community involvement. The organisation is open to men and women of all nationalities. 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 member of the UN Global Compact, the International Union of Conservation for Nature (IUCN).

EEG celebrates national environment day

By | CleanUp UAE

Under the patronage of H. E. Engr. Sheikh Salem Bin Sultan Bin Saqr Al-Qasimi


Ras Al Khaimah Public Services Department and Emirates Environmental Group (EEG) begins the Year of Tolerance by rallying the community in RAK for “Clean up UAE” gathering

434 Kg of waste with the participation of 144 Volunteers

 

 

As a celebration of the National Environment Day, under the patronage and presence of H. E. Engr. Sheikh Salem Bin Sultan Bin Saqr Al-Qasimi, member of the Executive Council of the Government of Ras Al-Khaimah and Chairman of the Department of Civil Aviation, Government of Ras Al Khaimah, The Ras Al Khaimah Public Services Department organised a Clean Up Campagn in association with EEG & under the banner of Clean Up UAE Campaign in the Emirate of RAK. As we enter the Year of Tolerance, EEG upholds its mission since inception to integrate, involve and inspire all the members of public to come together for a better environment.

 

  1. E. Engr. Sheikh Salem Bin Sultan Bin Saqr Al-Qasimi who was present and actively involved in the campaign said, “The waste collected today will be removed from the natural environment and segregated to ensure the recyclables can be diverted from landfill. We thank EEG for its support and its perseverance to engage the different sectors of society together for a better environment.”

 

In his opening speech, H.E. Eng. Ahmed Al Hammadi, Director General of Ras Al Khaimah Public  Services Department stated that, “Safeguarding cleanliness is a commitment that stems from our principles and values ​​which we cherish and which were established in our hearts by the late founding father Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan … May we all work to keep Ras Al Khaimah beautiful and green”

 

Mrs. Sara Baker, Executive Committee Member of EEG concluded the day by thanking the supporters and organisers: “I would like to express my overwhelming happiness for the presence of all the participants who are with us today. Together, we are taking pro-active steps to protect and preserve UAE’s unique ecosystem.” She also thanked the Emirate of RAK and expressed her gratitude to Ras Al Khaimah Public Services Department for their effective contribution to the success of the campaign, Fujairah Plastic Factory for providing biodegradable plastic bags,  Almarai for providing juices and Al Ihsan Charity for providing water.

 

After the opening speeches, the dignitaries along with the volunteers began the clean up programme enthusiastically and with high spririts! The campaign, took place in the Digdaga area and covered an area of 5 Kms with the participation of more than 144 active volunteers were all equipped with specially designed cotton T-shirts and Caps, cotton gloves and biodegradable plastic bags and containers for the collection of waste, collected more than 434 kg of waste.

 

As an accredited body of the UN Environment (UNEP), EEG is proud to announce that the Clean Up UAE campaign will serve as an effective implementation platform for the following sustainable development goals: Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities; Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production; 13: Climate Action; Goal 15: Life on Earth; Goal 17: Partnerships for Goals.

Emirates Environmental Group presents “Let’s Heal: Ocean Health”

By | Panel Discussion

The Emirates Environmental Group (EEG), a UAE-based professional working group, with the mission of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in the country, held a panel discussion on the topic of “Let’s Heal: Ocean Health” on the 30th of Janaury at the Rosewood Hotel in Abu Dhabi. The event was conducted in association with the Arabia CSR Network, Emirates Green Building Council, Clean Energy Business Council and with strategic support from the United Nations Environment Programme. The 1st Panel Discussion of the year was sponsored by Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) and Adeeb Group.

 

“The panel discussion, earlier known as ‘community lectures’, is an annual EEG event that began in 2003. We are proud to start 2019 with a strong topic, an impressive line up of speaker and with a strong attendance at the capital city of Abu Dhabi. The event will strengthen the information platform on ocean health in the region and globally by bringing together environmentally conscious global citizens, who are interested in learning more and understanding about the challeneges and oppurtunities in conserving our oceans. Focusing on Sustainable Development Goal 14, the panel discussion will address marine conservation, desalination, effective partnerships and  waste water treatment”, said Mrs. Habiba Al Mar’ashi, Chairperson of the Emirates Environmental Group.

 

Oceans cover over 70% of the globe, however they absorb up to 93% of the planet’s extra heat due to climate change. Over half the air we breathe comes from the ocean, and it stores 50 times more carbon dioxide than our atmosphere. Despite being the lifeblood of planet earth that drives the weather, support economies, facilitate commerce, regulate temperatures and support the majority of life on planet earth, – the oceans remain one of the least explored, unmapped, unobserved places known to humans. More than 80% of our ocean is unmapped, which means, we currently have more detailed understanding of the surface of the moon and mars than we do of our oceans.

 

The  UAE has a special relationship with the Ocean – historically, culturally and economically. Historically, our deep connection to pearl diving and sea trade routes have been well known for centuries and form an integral part of Emirati culture and identity. Today, a huge part of the economy – fishing, shipping, leisure, tourism all depend on our oceans, and it is what drives and sustains this great nation that so many nationalities proudly call their home. The UAE waters are also home to a unique and wonderful array of plant and wildlife such as the dugongs, dolphins, turtles, sharks, whales and mangroves that are rich in biodiversity. Finally, as desert environment a huge part of water needs is also met by the ocean through the process of desalination

 

The critical topic of Ocean Health was  strategically covered in full scope, bringing together a diverse panel of speakers. The expert panelists from Emirates Global Aluminium, Dubai Municipality, Convention on Migrratory Species – United Nations Environment Programme and Adeeb Group represented their entities and shared their expertise and knowledge in the field of water conservation, marine ecology, effective partnerships, water treatment and more. The meaningful panel discussion explored how UAE is leading the fight on ocean health and the challenges we as a species face locally and globally. The presentations were followed by a lively intractive session where the experts and audience members shared information, discussed queires and uncovered the truths and complexities of our oceans.

 

Notes for Editors:

Emirates Environmental Group (EEG): EEG is a professional working group established in 1991 devoted to protecting the environment through the means of education, action programmes and community involvement. The organisation is open to all nationalities. The 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 Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). EEG is the member of the UN Global Compact and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

UAE can take lead in fight against climate change

By | News

It (Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week) is the right kind of spotlight needed at the moment and it gives world leaders the opportunity to come up with long term strategies on a global forum.

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends

These words of Martin Luther King Jr. ring just as true today as they did when he first said more than half a century ago. The subject matter behind the quote has definitely changed, but the underlying theme remains timeless; for the greater good of humanity, it will not matter in the end what the naysayers said. What will matter is what you did or said.

For earth, and by extension, for its inhabitants, us, that moment has long since arrived.

Climate change is no longer a fad or hoax inspite of what the unbelievers would have you believe. And the sooner world leaders stopped arguing over the merits and demerits of each other’s arguments and got down to coming up with a way to avoid the iceberg that is rapidly approaching the ship of humanity, the better.

Besides dealing a hammer blow to the global sustainability targets, the dismal performance on climate change has also forced nations such as ours that are forecasted to be hit worst to start looking for sustainable and successful environmental programmes. In the wake of the rubble that is the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change now after the withdrawal of the US, the eyes of the world are looking for a leader to emerge and fill up the void that has been created and to treat the matter as the global pandemic that it is. I believe with all my heart that the UAE can be that leader. It is time for all countries to unite under a common platform and tackle the issue of climate change. The on-going Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) is one of the largest forums that focuses on sustainability. It is exactly the right kind of spotlight that is needed at the moment and it gives world leaders the opportunity to come up with long term strategies on a global forum.

There really is no time to lose. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in October 2018, made an announcement that is practically a death knell for life on the planet if it comes true; global temperature if it continues on the current trajectory is projected to rise more than 3C by 2100. That level is more than the target that was set in the Paris Agreement. If the prediction is allowed to come to fruition, low-lying waterside countries such as Bangladesh and Comoros could be the first casualty.

But make no mistake, we will also be soon in the crosshairs. The world as we have known is already changing with focus shifting from fossil fuels to renewable energy forms. Naturally that will affect the economy of the UAE but being the resilient nation that we are, this is an opportunity to forge a new identity for ourselves. The UAE has been one of the pioneers in its usage of innovation towards sustainable farming and renewable energy initiatives. An example is Masdar City in Abu Dhabi which is also a co-host of (ADSW). Citizens of Masdar City are part of a pilot project in which they are being encouraged to grow organic food in recycled shipping containers. This is only one such example among many that can be replicated on a large scale.
I would know.

After having fought this battle for almost three decades through my organisation, Emirates Environmental Group (EEG), I believe we are well-poised to take the role of a leader. Emirates Environmental Group has been carrying out campaigns for many years now that instil a sense of community in the people and promote the idea that this planet is our home and that we need to protect it for our future generations.

One of our recently implemented campaigns ‘For Our Emirates We Plant’, which is an annual event, we planted 1,000 indigenous Sidra trees in Sidr nature reserve in Al Minei, Ras Al Khaimah. Another strong platform is our recycling campaign, which involves thousands of companies, academic institutions and families to segregate waste at source and send for recycling. Our achievement in 2018 has succeeded in mitigating 73,393 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions.

I am a firm believer that the environmental legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan is in good hands. I am confident that the government led ably by the President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and the UAE leadership are firmly committed to ensuring a sustainable environment for future generations.

Habiba Al Mar’ashi is President and CEO of Arabia CSR Network

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