Besides the ecological footprint and natural resource development, bio-security is among the top issues on the UAE's environment agenda, the Minister of Environment and Water said yesterday, according to Wam, the news state agency.
"These issues are tightly linked to the UAE's vision for the future and to the government's strategic plan," Dr Rashid bin Fahad said in his first formal media briefing, as part of a new government drive to have ministers regularly update the news media on their projects.
In June, the Cabinet approved a four-year national strategy and action plan for bio-security, to ensure that the UAE is protected against biological hazards, including infectious animal diseases, that might threaten its inhabitants or its animal and vegetal resources, the minister said.
"Bio-security is one of the fundamental issues that have risen to the surface due to the level of economic openness in today's world and to the increasing cross-border commercial traffic," he noted, citing the incidence of mad cow disease and bird flu in recent years as examples of hazards that bio-security planning is meant to thwart.
The first phase of the bio-security strategy will focus on updating a batch of existing plans and legislation, the minister noted, while the second and last phases will see all relevant government entities linked together, equipped with the human and logistical capital to pre-empt and counter bio-security threats.