ABU DHABI, As the world prepares for the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, to be held in Glasgow, Scotland in November, it is important that the United Arab Emirates continues to devote attention to the protection of its biodiversity, according to Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the Minister of Tolerance and Co-Existence.

"As our world faces the challenges of climate change, it is increasingly important that we encourage the study of our biodiversity, here in the UAE and on a global scale," he says.

"This helps us to gain a better understanding of the natural world. It is a key to sustainable development. It equips us to take action to ensure that we plan now, and for the future, to utilise natural resources in a sustainable way," the Minister adds.

Sheikh Nahyan was speaking on the occasion of the announcement of the winner of the annual Sheikh Mubarak bin Mohammed Prize for Natural History.

"I recall the words of our Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed, on the occasion of the UAE’s first Environment Day, over 20 years ago," the Minister said.

"Sheikh Zayed told us: ‘We cherish our environment because it is an integral part of our country, our history and our heritage, If we fail to protect it, our children, rightly, will reproach us for squandering an essential part of their inheritance.’ "

"His message remains relevant for us all today," Sheikh Nahyan said.

The winner of the Sheikh Mubarak bin Mohammed Prize for 2021 is Dr. Anitha Saji, a scientist working with the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, who has carried out detailed studies of insect life in the Emirates. She has discovered several species of insect new to science at the Wathba Wetland Reserve, just outside Abu Dhabi.

"Dr. Saji’s discoveries show us, once again, that there is much we still have to learn about the UAE’s biodiversity," Sheikh Nahyan said. "She and her fellow naturalists deserve encouragement for their dedication to the study of our environment."

The Sheikh Mubarak bin Mohammed Prize, established by Sheikh Nahyan nearly thirty years ago, is awarded every year by the Abu Dhabi-based Emirates Natural History Group, ENHG, to an individual who has made an original contribution to the knowledge of the UAE’s natural history and history.

Another award, the Bish Brown Award, named after the ENHG’s founder, is presented to an individual who has dedicated themselves to the promotion of public awareness and engagement with the environment. This year’s winner is Al Ain-based naturalist Roxanne Whelan.

Source: Emirates News Agency