Policy was approved by UAE Cabinet in late November
The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) has launched the UAE’s Environmental Policy, which has been approved by the UAE Cabinet in late November.
The policy aims to enhance the quality of life, support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), promote economic diversity and prosperity, and preserve ecosystems and ecological goods and services.
Dr. Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment said: “Over the past 49 years, environmental protection has been at the forefront of the UAE’s priorities and an integral part of its cultural heritage. In line with the forward-thinking visions and directives of its leadership, the country’s environmental efforts have included establishing a comprehensive legislative and regulatory framework, and launching multiple initiatives, programmes and projects aimed at protecting the environment, preserving natural resources, and ensuring the sustainability of biological diversity.”
“To build a better future for current and future generations while keeping pace with local and global developments, the UAE Cabinet has adopted the policy that will create a platform for building on our achievements in the field of environmental sustainability,” he added.
Dr Al Nuaimi also noted that the MOCCAE drafted the policy, in cooperation with its strategic partners, following a detailed study on the current environmental situation in the country and expected future challenges, in line with the UAE Vision 2021 and the UAE Centennial 2071.
He explained that the policy comprises eight pillars, which are climate change, environmental protection, air quality, food safety and security, sustainable local crop production, sustainable local livestock production, integrated waste management, and environmentally-sound chemical management.
The policy, which aims to maintain environmental sustainability and support long-term economic growth, is an essential tool for determining the UAE’s future direction in the areas of climate action and environmental protection.
As the leading challenge and the biggest threat to the future of humankind, and due to its negative effects on all sectors, climate change is the first pillar of the policy. The priorities under this pillar include managing emissions with a focus on reducing carbon emissions, as well as drafting flexible programmes and plans to enhance the capabilities of ecosystems and diverse sectors to adapt to climate change.
This priority defines a set of targets and indicators, such as increasing the share of clean energy in the total domestic energy mix to 50 percent by 2050.
The environmental protection pillar aims to build on the country’s achievements in protecting the environment, preserving its natural resources, and ensuring the sustainability of its biodiversity.
Targets include protecting 22 percent of inland water areas and 20 percent of biodiversity-rich coastal and marine areas, as well as rehabilitating 80 percent of degraded land by 2030.
The air quality pillar is in line with the objective of the National Agenda of the UAE Vision 2021 to raise the National Air Quality Index score to 90 percent by 2021.
Targets include increasing the National Air Quality Index score to 100 percent by 2040.
Food Safety and Security
The food safety and security pillar focusses on developing the country’s food safety regulatory and legislative framework to match the systems in place in developed countries.
It also aims to implement the latest global technologies and systems, raise preparedness for food safety accidents, and clearly define responsibilities in emergencies.
Targets include reaching a score of 100 percent on the Food Safety Index by 2040, monitoring the levels of residue in food products of animal origin by 2026, developing the National Food Accreditation and Registration System (Zad) and the National Rapid Alert System for Food, and standardising regulatory procedures.
Sustainable Local Crop and Animal Production
The sustainable local crop and animal production pillars focus on strengthening the capacities of the local agricultural sector, by adopting sustainable and climate-smart agricultural methods and expanding their use.
They also aim to advance research on salt-tolerant and drought-tolerant species and adopt artificial intelligence (AI) and other state-of-the-art technologies in agriculture.
Targets under the sustainable local crop production pillar include raising crop productivity per land area and volume of irrigation water by 2026 and increasing urban farming by 60 percent by 2050.
Meanwhile, the sustainable local animal production pillar aims to position the country as a global hub for camel breeding research by 2040.
Integrated Waste Management
The integrated waste management pillar focusses on reducing waste generation at source and mitigating the economic, health, and environmental risks resulting from unsustainable waste treatment and disposal. It also aims to make the UAE a pioneering model of a circular economy.
Targets include treating 75 percent of municipal solid waste by 2025 and 85 percent by 2035 and reducing municipal solid waste generation to 1.4 kilogrammes per person per day by 2025.
Environmentally-Sound Chemical Management
The environmentally sound chemical management pillar focusses on supporting legislative and regulatory frameworks that ensure the safe use of chemicals throughout their life cycle.
Targets include increasing the use of environmentally-safe refrigerants to eliminate ozone-depleting substances by 2040.