DUBAI, Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, , concluded the participation of the official UAE delegation in the fifth Eastern Economic Forum,EEF, which was held from September 4th to 6th in the Russian city of Vladivostok, where he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, in the presence of Anton Kobyakov, Adviser to the President of the Russian Federation.

During his official visit to the Russian Federation, Dr. Al Zeyoudi held a number of meetings with a number of officials and decision makers, including the meeting with the Russian Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Dmitry Kubyklin, during which they discussed ways to boost cooperation between the two countries in the field of environmental protection and ensuring the sustainability of its natural resources. They also supported efforts for climate action and drew upon the most successful experiences in both countries.

He also embarked on a series of field visits on the sidelines of the EEF, where he met with officials from the Center for Rehabilitation and Reintroduction of Rare Animals.

Dr. Al-Zeyoudi's headlined a panel discussion entitled 'Housing, Utilities, and the Urban Environment: Effective Investments', where he provided an overview of the leading experience of the UAE government and private sector in developing an environment-friendly and sustainable construction sector that meets the latest standards and specifications.

Dr. Al Zeyoudi pointed out that the UAE, thanks to the vision and guidance of its wise leadership and its constant foresight for the future, has been ranked fifth globally in the efficiency and sustainability of infrastructure, according to the Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018 issued by the World Economic Forum, which monitored 137 countries.

He explained that the rapid development based on sustainable standards for the infrastructure network in the UAE stemmed from the vision of the UAE's wise leadership and its quest to create a better future for current and future generations, noting that this development will promote progress in all sectors, and accommodate future population increases.

He pointed out that targeting sustainable development and adopting it as a way of life and work spanned across housing projects and new residential complexes throughout the country.

Al Zeyoudi drew upon the industry-leading case studies of Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, The Sustainable City in Dubai, and the Sheikh Zayed Housing Programme, highlighting the sustainability standards applied in each of them and their contribution to reducing carbon rates, reliance on renewable energy solutions and achieving sustainable production and consumption.

Speaking at a panel discussion entitled "The Environment in the Far East: Current Objectives and Long-Term Prospects" during the second day of the Forum, Dr. Al Zeyoudi called upon the international community to strengthen efforts to protect the environment, its natural resources and biodiversity, noting that according to a 2019 UN report assessing global biodiversity and ecosystem services has revealed that the health of our environment is declining worldwide at rates unprecedented in human history, and the rate of species extinction is also surging.

He pointed out that the UAE has long been committed to preserving local biodiversity and constantly expanding its protected areas, while achieving economic development.

Al Zeyoudi indicated that in 2018, the UAE scored an average of 61 percent in the effectiveness of the management of protected areas, compared to the global average of 53 percent.

He pointed out that at present, the UAE has 44 protected areas that make up 15 percent of the total area of the country, and 10 designated Wetlands of International Importance, also known as Ramsar Sites.

Dr. Al Zeyoudi added that the ministry has also developed the National Blue Carbon Demonstration Project, and is currently working on the UAE Smart Map of Natural Capital.

He reviewed the UAE's proven track record of developing and implementing effective conservation initiatives to protect endangered species, such as the Arabian oryx, Arabian leopard, falcons, and Houbara bustard.

On the worsening effects of climate change globally and the efforts required to reduce their impacts, the minister said: "To protect the environment and tackle climate change, the UAE is following a holistic approach and leveraging a comprehensive set of legislations and strategies to realise mega projects on the ground. We have deployed large-scale renewable energy projects, such as the Shams 1 concentrated solar power plant in Abu Dhabi, the 5 GW Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai, and the 1 GW Noor Abu Dhabi - the world's largest single-site solar project comprising 3.2 million solar panels. Maintaining the focus on renewables, a newly announced 2 GW solar project set to outperform the record-breaking Noor Abu Dhabi plant is already in the works."

He pointed out that through its flagship company Masdar, the UAE also manages a diverse portfolio of renewable energy assets all over the world, with 11 projects in the Middle East and North Africa region alone.

"As the home of the International Renewable Energy Agency IRENA, Masdar, and the Zayed Sustainability Prize, and host of the World Future Energy Summit and Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, the UAE leads by example in exporting sustainability solutions to the rest of the world", he concluded.

Source: Emirates News Agency