x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

UAE plans to cut environmental toll of progress

Progress UAE: From establishing clean energy targets to setting up protected areas, Government authorities are working hard to reduce the environmental toll of economic development.

From establishing clean-energy targets to setting up protected areas, the Government is working hard to reduce the environmental toll of fast economic development.

"The UAE has grown rapidly in the last decade, both economically and in population, resulting in a significant increase in resource consumption as well as natural habitat degradation," said Ida Tillisch, the director general of the Emirates Wildlife Society - World Wide Fund for Nature.

"The country has a high per capita ecological footprint which is driven by carbon emissions and, according to the fund's Living Planet Report 2012, the UAE has the third largest per capita ecological footprint in the world." Authorities are addressing this by focusing on the energy sector.

Abu Dhabi and Dubai have set renewable-energy targets and the Government is developing a green-growth strategy for the country, Ms Tillisch said. "These initiatives are good steps for the country and effective implementation across all the emirates is critical to reduce the country's ecological footprint."

Efforts are also being made to conserve biodiversity. Ms Tillisch highlighted the formation of the Wadi Wurayah National Park in Fujairah.

Some UAE initiatives have impact not only here, but also abroad. The Mohammed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund has given US$9.25million (Dh33.9m) to projects across the world since 2008.

vtodorova@thenational.ae