x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

UAE pledges to fight against desertification

The UAE is 80 per cent desert but remains committed to international efforts to combat desertification, said Dr Rashid bin Fahad, the Minister of Environment and Water yesterday.

DUBAI // The UAE is 80 per cent desert but remains committed to international efforts to combat desertification, said Dr Rashid bin Fahad, the Minister of Environment and Water yesterday.

"The UAE joins the rest of the world in celebrating the World Day to Combat Desertification on June 17, and reiterates its commitment to its theme, 'Don't let our future dry up'," he said.

The UAE follows a policy to conserve its desert environment and resources, considered an integral part of its history and heritage, and to combat the causes of desertification, Dr bin Fahad said.

This includes reclamation and afforestation of large desert areas and green belts using local flora and salt-tolerant trees and shrubs.

The ministry will continue its efforts to improve the protection of fragile habitats, manage desert lands using integrated management methods and survey underground water reservoirs under its 2014-2016 strategy, he said.

To face the challenges of desertification, the UAE has increased its desalination capacity to meet the increasing water demand.

The Government has been working towards making the UAE, historically a dry land, an economic and tourist destination, Dr bin Fahad added.

The UAE is committed to the goals of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification established in 1994, "to forge a global partnership to reverse and prevent desertification and land degradation, and to mitigate the effects of drought in affected areas to support poverty reduction and environmental sustainability".

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