Statement-His Excellency Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi
Dubai, UAE, February 05, 2018: The United Arab Emirates celebrates the 21st National Environment Day, observed annually on February 4th, under the theme “Sustainable Production and Consumption” for the second consecutive year to continue efforts to promote sustainable production and consumption patterns in the UAE.
In a statement marking the occasion, His Excellency Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, expressed his deepest gratitude to the UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan for his patronage of the National Environment Day, and his continued support for environmental protection and sustainable development in the UAE.
His Excellency also thanked His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Members of the Federal Supreme Council, Their Highnesses the Rulers of the Emirates, for their special interest in the country's efforts to preserve the environment.
“Celebrating the National Environment Day in the Year of Zayed adds considerable value to the occasion. The UAE founding father and visionary leader had always considered the environment part and parcel of his philosophy and day to day practices. Sustaining the environment for generations to come was among the top priorities in his endeavors to build the country, paving the way for the country's sustainable development”, Dr. Al Zeyoudi said.
“Sheikh Zayed's widely-acclaimed contribution to the local, regional and international efforts to achieve sustainable development was acknowledged worldwide, as he received numerous prestigious accolades, including the Gold Panda, UNEP Champion of the Earth, Man of Environment and Development, among many more”, he added.
Dr. Al Zeyoudi indicated that population growth and a surge in income levels due to the economic boom the UAE witnessed in the past four decades have given rise to non-sustainable production and consumption patterns. These are among the main challenges we face in our efforts to conserve our resources and ecosystems today. Their negative impact is apparent in many areas, such as high ecological footprint per capita, high water, energy and food consumption rates, as well as high waste production and carbon emissions rate.
“To address these challenges, the UAE has implemented a wide variety of policies and measures to promote sustainability of production and consumption to maximize our contribution to the global efforts to achieve sustainable development. The most prominent among them is the UAE Energy Strategy for 2050 that aims to diversify the country's energy sources. Its objectives involve bringing the share of clean energy in the national energy mix up to 27% by 2021 and 50% by 2050”, His Excellency explained.
“Other policies include the UAE Green Growth Strategy that focuses on transforming our national economy into a low-carbon green economy. This includes adopting a sustainable approach to architecture and transport, enhancing the efficiency of resource consumption, especially energy and water. And raising awareness on the economic, social and environmental risks of non-sustainable production and consumption is also an integral part of the strategy”, he added.
The Minister stressed that although it is too soon for us to see the full impact of the policies and measures, there are many signs that testify to their efficiency, especially at the production level.
“There is a significant decrease in per capita waste generation rate, from 2.06 to 1.8 kg per person per day, and the country's ecological footprint per capita also decreased from about 12 global hectares in 2006 to less than 8 global hectares in 2014. In the UAE, we believe that sustainable production and consumption is an essential part of national responsibility for institutions and individuals alike. The consumer society is increasingly gaining importance in this regard, as it dictates production trends and influences producer responsibility. Ultimately, consumption is an individual choice that depends on a combination of factors, such as desire – often influenced by advertising, purchasing power and awareness”, His Excellency elaborated.
“As a government, we continue to work relentlessly towards reducing the negative effects of production and consumption patterns and transforming them to sustainable ones that contribute to realizing sustainable development in the country, in line with UAE Vision 2021.”
“I urge you to consider our natural resources as a national heritage that we live with today and later pass on to future generations. We are confident that the collaboration of the government and the community will have a substantial influence on stimulating more sustainable production and consumption patterns”, Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi concluded.