Dubai, UAE, February 21, 2018: His Excellency Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said: “The annual Plantation Week reflects the nationwide commitment to changing the landscape from desert to greenery. This commitment to the environment was instilled by the founding father of the UAE, late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, in the hearts of the Emirati people. Sheikh Zayed's holistic approach to agriculture and plantation has been a major contributor to achieving the sustainability of natural resources today.”
He elaborated that over the course of the past 37 years, since the Plantation Week and other greenery initiatives commenced, millions of trees were planted and hundreds of parks were opened across the UAE, remarkably expanding the green areas and landscapes.
Dr Al Zeyoudi said: “Celebrating the Plantation Week in the Year of Zayed - the Man of the Environment – adds more value to the occasion and urges us to exert more effort to carry on his legacy and achieve the sustainable environment he aimed for.”
The Minister of Environment and Climate Change said that preserving and growing native flora has been a key goal of the Plantation Week for years. As part of this priority, various protected areas were established to primarily preserve local flora species and help them adapt to the impacts of climate change.
“The environmental initiatives launched by the UAE's leadership contribute tremendously to expanding protected areas in the country. One of these recent initiatives is Al Marmoom Reserve, one of the largest protected areas in Dubai, launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Al Marmoom spans over 10 percent of the emirate's total area. It is home to various species of flora and fauna and it welcomes varieties of migratory birds every year. Another initiative is the Sharjah Seed Bank and Herbarium, inaugurated by His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah. It is a major addition to the national efforts to preserve plants and biodiversity in the region and protect endangered plants,” he added.
Dr Al Zeyoudi stressed that Abu Dhabi's steadfast commitment to developing large-scale mangroves and palm trees plantation programs has significantly expanded the green landscapes across the UAE. Abu Dhabi is now home to over 80 percent of all mangroves and the largest number of palm date trees in the UAE. The emirate's natural protected areas help maintain balanced ecosystems in the country.
His Excellency Dr Al Zeyoudi extended his sincere gratitude to the UAE's visionary leaders for their environmental advocacy that has paved the way towards a sustainable future. He also thanked all municipalities, government entities and private sector partners who observed the 38thPlantation Week, in particular the Sharjah Municipality that is hosting the celebration this year.