Newsgate360 – Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi’s plans to set up an Advanced Environment Research Centre by 2024 as part of its strategy for addressing key sustainability challenges were among the topics explored by Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary-General, Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, in an in-depth filmed interview she gave recently to Oxford Business Group’s online broadcasting channel, Global Platform.
OBG interviewed Dr Shaikha Al Dhaheri just weeks after the emirate announced the launch of its first environmental observatory, which will tackle a range of green issues, including those relating to water, soil and air quality, through an eight-pillar strategy.
In the video, the secretary-general gave details of the emirate’s first single-use plastics policy, which advocates both the reduction of single-use plastics consumption and making sustainable alternatives widely available.
Dr Shaikha also shared the agency’s plans to extend protected areas by up to 40% within the next two years and develop an advanced gene bank with a functional geonomics facility.
“We already have native plant nurseries producing nearly 400 plants a year and we are hoping to expand it to reach up to one million saplings a year,” she noted.
Turning to another topical issue, Dr Shaikha Al Dhaheri said the agency had taken important steps to tackle the overharvesting of local fish stocks. “We hope to have sustainably used fisheries by 2030,” she added. “We are also at the stage of procuring a state-of-the-art marine vessel which will enable us to carry out fish stock assessment more frequently.”
Dr Al Dhaheri was confident that cutting-edge technologies will lead the way in the drive to protect the environment and biodiversity, but cautioned that they’d need to be backed up by behavioural change and a commitment from the business world. “We are ahead of the curve and we will continue to make a bigger push in coming years so that species, habitats, ecosystems, functions and environmental sustainability remain relevant at the local and global level,” she said.
Marc-André de Blois, OBG’s Director of PR and Video Content, said the video interview with Dr Shaikha Al Dhaheri offered licence holders an opportunity to learn more about Abu Dhabi’s commitment to environmental sustainability and also the new technologies it expects to adopt to take its plans forward.
“Dr Shaikha provides us with an insight into Abu Dhabi’s plans to use big data, artificial intelligence and robotics in its drive to protect species, habitats and ecosystems,” he said. “Given that the environmental challenges we face today are global and will necessitate partnerships with both the private sector and NGOs, I’m sure our licence holders will derive plenty of food for thought from her comments.”
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