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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

World Summit of the Oceans 2019 to be held in Abu Dhabi

Global leaders will visit the capital to focus on major threats to marine ecosystems, pollution risks and conservation issues

A 2019 global oceans summit in Abu Dhabi will address environmental issues such as oil spills seen in Fujairah in January.
A 2019 global oceans summit in Abu Dhabi will address environmental issues such as oil spills seen in Fujairah in January.

Helping a "blue economy" to thrive will be a key objective when the sixth edition of the World Summit of the Oceans comes to Abu Dhabi in 2019.

The announcement that the capital is to host global talks to support international efforts to protect oceans and marine life was made at the close of the 2018 summit in Mexico.

Officials from the Environment Authority of Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Ports and Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development attended talks in Mexico to assess international initiatives supporting the UAE’s environmental approach to a more sustainable economy.

"Holding this summit in the UAE next year marks the culmination of the blueprint and strategies developed by the UAE for a blue economy, environmental sustainability and conservation of natural resources," said Capt Mohammed Jumaa Al Shamsi, chief executive of Abu Dhabi Ports.

“We will work to harness all the possibilities for the success of this World Summit, and inform participants about the principles and innovative solutions that we have undertaken to maintain the sustainability of the marine environment."

More than 360 global leaders in government, industry, multilateral organisations, the scientific community and civil society gathered to discuss solutions to the challenges facing the oceans.

Summit sessions included a review of initiatives aimed at achieving a sustainable economy that protects the rights of future generations to benefit from natural resources.

The Abu Dhabi delegation met with Michael Jones, head of the Maritime Alliance in San Diego, for a briefing on the alliance's initiatives and programs, and on how similar schemes could be developed in the UAE.

Key topics of the 2019 summit are expected to be how nations can adopt environmental conservation strategies to boost economic output, as well as how innovative methods can address environmental crises like high levels of salinity and depletion of fish.

An example of projects to boost marine life in the UAE is the recent coral gardens project on the coastline of Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain and Ajman.

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A new coral reef spread over 850 square metres will help rehabilitate natural marine ecosystems in the area.

It is the first phase of three new coral reefs being bedded in as part of a Ministry of Climate Change and Environment project to help boost fish stocks and several other marine species.

Further coral gardens and 30,000 mangrove trees are also being planted around the coast.

"Hosting the Oceans Summit in Abu Dhabi for the first time in the Middle East demonstrates the leadership role played by the UAE in the region to promote shared action on environmental protection, coastal governance, effective strategies and policies, such as the recently developed aquaculture policy," said Razan Khalifal Al Mubarak, the Environment Authority Secretary General.