Her Excellency HE Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment addressed a packed gathering of environmentalists, ecologists, ocean explorers, researchers, marine biologists, public and private sector officials and members of the media at the Global Marine Sustainability Forum held at Abu Dhabi’s Grand Hyatt Hotel yesterday evening. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Environment for the Democratic Republic of Congo, Her Excellency Eve Bazaiba Masudi, delivered the keynote address, along with UN Under-Secretary-General, Vera Songwe.
Speaking at the event, HE Almheiri said, “The pollution of our oceans is now reaching alarming levels through the release of toxic chemicals and plastic waste. These materials stay centuries-long in the sea, and create a harmful ecocycle – from the mouth of fish to the stomach of humans. We are undertaking a series of initiatives to promote the Clean Ocean campaign in our Global Marine Sustainability Week to raise the awareness of these issues.”
HE Almheiri added that the oceans, which provide livelihoods for hundreds of millions of people worldwide and hold a great deal of biodiversity, are facing increasing threats. She underlined the significance of coordinated international efforts to develop and implement sustainable solutions to achieve Goal 14 – Life Below Water of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and embraced public-private partnerships.
Furthermore, she highlighted the various measures implemented in the UAE to protect its marine environment. These measures include regulating fishing activities, expanding the aquaculture industry, establishing marine protected areas, combating marine pollution, and rehabilitating impacted marine areas. These measures have all contributed to strengthening the resilience of the UAE’s marine environment.
HE Almheiri is leading the UAE’s drive to minimize and respond to the impact of climate change and preserve the country’s ecosystems. Additionally, she underscored the UAE’s commitment to planting 100 million mangroves by 2030 as part of its efforts to expand its mangrove cover. Originally it was agreed to plant 30 million saline-tolerant trees by 2030, in its second Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Agreement.
HE Bazaiba in her remarks said: “The DRC offers abundant natural resources, rich ecosystems, enormous expanses of vegetation and substantial water resources. The Congo Basin forest is regarded as the second green lung of the world after the Amazon in Latin America, but it is endangered by destructive human actions.”
“While we continue to be extremely worried about deforestation’s dangers, we are utilizing various methods and encouraging our next generation that has the power to make the world a better place for us all. “If we can get a majority of young people in the DRC to plant trees, we are going to stop deforestation.” HE Bazaiba stressed.
“In order to find solutions for today’s problems and move towards a more sustainable and effective future, she called on the private sector to provide solutions and participate actively in climate and environmental causes. It is our expectation that change will come from partnerships and coordinated and converted efforts,” HE Bazaiba said.
Khalid Seddiq Al Mutawa, Chairman of the Executive Committee, announced the launch of a comprehensive awareness campaign under the Global Mission theme designed to initiate a series of public-private partnerships under the Global Initiative for Marine Sustainability. From the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, we have been working closely with the United Nations. We have provided numerous solutions to meet the 17 Sustainable Development Goals through international collaboration with UN organizations and governments,” remarked Mr Al Mutawa.
Oceans and seas are vital to life on earth. They cover 70 percent of our planet, and humans rely on them for food, energy, and water. Nevertheless, we have caused enormous damage to these resources. By eradicating pollution and overfishing, we can protect all marine life around the world and begin managing it responsibly.