ABU DHABI, President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has said that promoting environmental protection requires achieving a balance between economic and social growth, protecting the environment and ensuring the sustainability of its natural resources, noting that the leadership will stay the course laid by the nation's Founding Father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan to ensure a better future for the present and coming generations.
In a speech marking the 23rd National Environment Day, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa said, "Today we celebrate National Environment Day as an important occasion to renew our national and ethical commitment to preserving our national resources.
"This is to be achieved by building on the previous milestones and doubling our efforts to realise sustainable development goals as per the UAE Vision 2021 and to ensure a clean and safe environment that contributes to providing prosperity and happiness for us and for future generations."
Sheikh Khalifa noted that this year's celebration coincides with "2020: Towards the next 50," a year that will witness the biggest national strategy to prepare for the coming 50 years in all sectors, most important of which is the environment.
His Highness stated that - over the past three years - the country marked the occasion under the theme "Sustainable Production and Consumption" to continue efforts to stimulate the move towards sustainable production and consumption patterns in the UAE, adding that this year's celebrations falls under the theme "Nature-based Solutions" that builds on what has been achieved over the past years to promote environmental protection and ensure the sustainability of its natural resources through the adoption of future solutions, plans and strategies that put environmental sustainability at the top of its priorities.
Efforts to preserve the environment and protect its natural resources have never stopped in the UAE, His Highness added, "but the process of economic and social growth along with the increase in population numbers requires more work that unites all segments of society."
The UAE President noted, "Over the past years, we have made significant efforts to preserve the environment and its natural resources by issuing several legislations that ensure the sustainability of these resources and developed a number of ambitious national strategies to build a green economy that prioritises the protection of the environment and the preservation of natural resources.
"We have developed the water sector to protect the country's underground water reserves and the agricultural sector by encouraging farmers to develop and adopt modern approaches that are relevant to and match the country's climatic conditions.
"We have established a number of natural reserves and programmes to protect endangered species inside and outside the country and issued clear directives to develop all necessary measures conducive to preserving our fishing and agricultural resources."
Sheikh Khalifa further explained that the country's nature-based solutions effort to protect the environment included enhancing the energy transformation process through the expansion of the use of renewable energy solutions, noting that the production capacity of solar energy projects has now reached 1,800 MW and will exceed 8,400 MW by 2030, and we have strengthened the process of relying on more environmentally-friendly resources to generate energy.
"We urge all government institutions to boost their efforts to achieve our national goals and to promote awareness of community members of their national, environmental and humanitarian responsibilities and roles," President Khalifa added.
He also called on the private sector to assume an effective role in meeting its CSR obligations, calling upon all segments of society to develop sound environmental patterns that ensure sustainability of the country's natural resources.
In conclusion, Sheikh Khalifa hailed the efforts being made by individuals, entities and institutions to contribute effectively in shouldering responsibility towards the protection, development and conservation of the environment.
In 1997, the UAE Cabinet issued a Resolution naming February 4th UAE's 'National Environment Day'. The annual celebration acknowledges the country's growing attention and commitment to the environment.
Source: Emirates News Agency