Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi Launches ‘Ghars Al Emarat’ (UAE Planting Initiative) for COP28

Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi Launches ‘Ghars Al Emarat’ (UAE Planting Initiative) for COP28

The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) has introduced a groundbreaking initiative called “Ghars Al Emarat” (UAE Planting Initiative), as part of its commitment to sustainability and the Abu Dhabi Climate Change Strategy. This initiative, under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, aims to plant ten mangrove trees for every conference visitor attending the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28).

The project will employ innovative planting methods, including drone dispersal, to cultivate mangroves. Approximately ten mangrove trees will be planted for each conference attendee, fostering environmental conservation and restoration.

The planting will occur in the last quarter of the year, the optimal time for mangrove cultivation. Key coastal areas like the Marawah Marine Biosphere Reserve, Al Mirfa City, and Jubail Island will be chosen due to their suitability for mangrove growth and their existing natural mangrove populations.

“Ghars Al Emarat” aligns with the UAE’s ambitious environmental goals, including the UAE Net Zero by 2050 climate neutrality initiative, which aims to plant 100 million mangroves by 2030. Additionally, it supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 13 on climate action, emphasizing the urgent need to address climate change and its consequences.

Mangroves play a crucial role in mitigating climate change, as they absorb greenhouse gases and can sequester carbon. In Abu Dhabi, these ecosystems support biodiversity, improve water quality, and protect habitats like seagrass beds and coral reefs.

Dr. Sheikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary-General of EAD, noted, “This initiative also highlights the UAE’s commitment to achieving climate neutrality and promoting nature-based solutions to reduce the effects and adapt to climate change and reduce the environmental footprint of conference visitors, at the rate of absorbing one tonne of carbon for every 5,000 mangrove trees.”

Razan Al Mubarak, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28, praised the initiative for its efforts to restore and protect mangroves in the UAE. She emphasized the importance of nature-based solutions, like mangroves, in addressing climate change and building resilience.

Abu Dhabi is home to 85 percent of the UAE’s mangroves, and EAD has been actively involved in afforestation programs to study and preserve these critical coastal habitats. These efforts date back to the 1970s when the late Sheikh Zayed initiated large-scale mangrove afforestation programs.

Since then, EAD has collaborated with partners to plant 40 million mangroves on various islands and regions, contributing to the expansion of mangrove areas in Abu Dhabi. The “Ghars Al Emarat” initiative represents a significant step forward in the preservation and restoration of these valuable coastal ecosystems.

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