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Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi plants one million mangrove seeds by drone

ABU DHABI, 12th January, 2023 (WAM) — The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) has successfully planted one million mangrove seeds using drones as part of the first phase of a drone mangrove plantation project supporting the Abu Dhabi Mangrove Initiative.

The Abu Dhabi Mangrove Initiative was announced in February 2021 during Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge’s landmark visit to the UAE, where he met with H.H. Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed, Member of Abu Dhabi Executive Council and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Office, at Jubail Mangrove Park.

This initiative, which is implemented by EAD with a series of local, regional and international partners, supports Abu Dhabi’s ambitious plans to establish the emirate as a global hub for research and innovation in support of the conservation of mangroves and focuses on the importance of mangroves for carbon sequestration to combat climate change.

The initiative supports the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment’s target, announced during COP26 in Glasgow in 2021, which unveiled a nationwide plan to plant 100 million mangroves by 2030. Following this, the Abu Dhabi Mangrove Initiative was launched in February of this year.

EAD is the first organisation to utilise and plant mangroves at a large-scale utilising ecological principles enhanced by drones. The planting of one million seeds follows a successful initial phase implemented by EAD in partnership with ENGIE, the global energy company, and Distant Imagery, a drone engineering solutions company.

This initial phase focused on planting mangroves via drone in 2020, with up to a 48 percent success rate. EAD then scaled up the project, with one million mangroves planted via drones at different locations around Al Mirfa, in Al Dhafra Region.

The use of drone technology to plant mangroves has several advantages, as the environmental footprint of the methodology is low since it removes the need for intense labour and sapling transportation. It is also cost-effective as it reduces the overall price of mangrove planting, eliminates the need for mangrove nurseries and associated costs, and facilitates reaching remote and difficult areas. The project is also running a trial on incorporating machine learning for future monitoring phases.

Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary-General of EAD, said that the UAE began mangrove plantation in the 1970s under the guidance of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Founder of the UAE and also known as the First Environmentalist. He commenced mangrove plantation along the coasts of the islands and mainland of the emirate of Abu Dhabi. The Eastern Mangrove plantation was the inception of the first mangrove plantation programme in Abu Dhabi.

She added, “Even though the world’s mangroves are declining due to natural and human challenges they are facing, Abu Dhabi has a different story to tell as the plantation of mangroves has continued in the UAE at large and in Abu Dhabi in particular, in a slow but steady manner. A prime example is our latest project of planting one million mangrove seeds via innovative drone technology. This project is one of several programmes run by the Abu Dhabi Mangrove Initiative to support the UAE’s pledge to plant 100 million mangroves in 2030.

With each planting round, EAD has been evolving not only its methodology for seed germination and site planting patterns, but also seed dispersal mechanisms and drones so they can fly longer. The drone is self-designed and engineered to drop seedlings from the air, monitor the growth of mangrove saplings, map the habitat and create 3D imaging.

The Agency plans to further evolve its methodologies and technology. Data has shown that the growth of the seed in-situ using drones has a success rate that remains stable over three years.

In Abu Dhabi, plantation programmes have helped increase the range of mangroves. The increase of mangrove areas in Abu Dhabi was more than 35 percent, and is the result of plantation and restoration programmes and protection laws and regulations that ensure the sustainability of environmental ecosystems.

In the past 10 years, EAD and its key stakeholders, from both the government and private sector, have planted more than 15 million mangroves along the coast of Abu Dhabi.

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Emirates

UAE President directs launch of ‘Gallant Knight / 2’ operation to Syria and Türkiye

ABU DHABI, 6th February, 2023 (WAM) — In implementation of the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Joint Operations Command of the Ministry of Defence announced the launch of “Gallant Knight / 2” operation to provide assistance for the peoples of Syria and Türkiye.

The operation includes the participation of the Armed Forces, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation; and the Emirates Red Crescent.

The humanitarian and medical aid comes within the framework of the urgent response to mitigate the repercussions of the earthquake that struck Syria and Türkiye.

Meanwhile, the first aid plane took off from Abu Dhabi to Adana Airport, southern Türkiye, carrying search and rescue teams, crews, and medical equipment.

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Emirates

‘Cooperation 3’ joint military exercise begins in Oman

ABU DHABI, 6th February, 2023 (WAM) — The joint military training exercise, titled, “Cooperation 3,” began in Oman, as part of the cooperation, coordination and exchange of expertise between the involving the UAE and the Sultanate.

The exercise, which will end on 16th February, 2023, is being held under the framework of joint Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) action and aims to improve the military capacities of its participants.

It also underscores the historical ties between the UAE and Oman, which embody the cohesion of the GCC, and aims to capitalise on their expertise, as well as unify concepts in modern military theories and tactics, and enhance the individual and collective skills of its participants.

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Emirates

UAE foreign trade achieved AED2.233 trillion in 2022 with growth rate of 17%: Mohammed bin Rashid

ABU DHABI, 6th February, 2023 (WAM) — His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, chaired the UAE Cabinet meeting at Qasr Al Watan Abu Dhabi, in the presence of H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance; H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior; and H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Presidential Court.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said, "Today, I chaired the UAE cabinet meeting in Abu Dhabi. We expressed our sincere condolences and sympathy to Syrian and Turkish people, as well as the families of victims. Based on the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, all disaster relief work teams have been directed to coordinate with the two brotherly countries to provide all kinds of aid.”

His Highness explained, “During the Cabinet meeting, we reviewed the results of the UAE's foreign trade in 2022. Our foreign trade achieved a historical record reaching more than AED2.2 trillion, a growth of 17 precent.”

“Today, we approved the National Framework for Sustainable Development in the UAE. The goal is to preserve ecosystems and ensure the sustainability of our natural resources. We also assigned the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment to coordinate government efforts in preparation for hosting COP28," he added.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid stated, "We approved the executive decisions to establish the National Space Fund, which aims to support the implementation of ambitious national projects in the field of space, support youth capabilities and competencies, and attract the best space companies to the UAE market.”

“We assigned the competent entities to submit an urgent study to the Cabinet on how to benefit from new AI technologies in government work, examine its future effects on the educational, health, media and other sectors, and how the government will deal positively and safely with these technologies," His Highness further said.

UAE non-oil foreign trade

The non-oil foreign trade of the UAE achieved record growth rates in 2022, reaching AED2 trillion and 233 billion, with a growth rate of 17 percent compared to 2021. The country has exceeded the AED2 trillion barrier for the first time in history. This achievement comes after the country's non-oil foreign trade achieved a growth of 12 percent in 2020, recording AED1,496 trillion, and recorded a jump of 28 percent in 2021 to reach AED1,911 trillion.

The National Framework for Sustainable Development

The UAE Cabinet approved the National Framework for Sustainable Development, which represents a comprehensive framework for all approved national strategies, policies and agendas concerned with organising environmental work in the country, and maintaining a sustainable environment that supports economic growth. The framework includes 5 main pillars: nature, environmental health, climate change, living organisms, and biosecurity.

The National Framework aims to enhance the quality of life in the country, promote diversification and economic prosperity, preserve the UAE's ecosystems, sustain its ecological resources and services, and support the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

In 2022, the UAE topped the Yale University's 2022 Environmental Performance Index in six environmental indicators globally, becoming the first regionally, in the Arab world and in the Gulf.

COP28

As part of the ongoing preparation for the UAE to host the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28), the cabinet approved assigning the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment to coordinate with federal and local authorities to prepare the country's readiness plan for the event, and ensure the participation of federal government entities in organising this global event.

UAE Green Agenda 2030

The Cabinet was briefed on developments in the implementation of the UAE Green Agenda 2030, which aims to achieve the goals of sustainable development, and the objectives of the UAE Centennial 2071.

During the coming period 2023-2030, the UAE will implement initiatives and projects to support the goals of green economy, including increasing GDP by 4 percent to 5 percent by 2030, increasing exports by about AED24 to 25 billion by 2030, and reducing emissions from 430 kilowatt-hours in 2013 to less than 100 kilowatt-hours by 2030.

National Space Fund

During the meeting, a resolution regarding the establishment of the National Space Fund was adopted. The Fund which will be managed and supervised by the UAE Space Agency, aims to build national capabilities and competencies, raise the economic contribution to diversifying the national economy, and consolidate the UAE’s position in the space sector.

The Fund is set to develop the infrastructure supporting the space industry, and create an appropriate environment to attract startup companies in space. In addition, the National Space Fund aims at adopting governance systems to achieve leadership in the space sector, attracting specialised global companies, and building partnerships between national and international advanced technology companies.

National policies for Cybersecurity

The Cabinet meeting approved the National Policy for IoT security, the National Programme for Cybersecurity Accreditation, the National Policy for Cloud Security. In addition to a number of related policies aiming at providing solutions for current and future challenges related to cybersecurity.

The meeting also approved the formation of a national committee to combat cyber-attacks.

Advance Government work with AI technologies

The Cabinet approved a policy to raise the efficiency of government work through the use of artificial intelligence technologies. The policy includes standards and guidelines that guarantee safe use of AI, and the scope of its use in government work.

The policy aims at increasing the productivity and efficiency in various sectors, enhancing competitiveness and the quality of government services, and provides more training opportunities for employees.

“Made in UAE”

The Cabinet adopted a decision on updating the “Made in the UAE” unified national mark ecosystem, in order to support national products. The update includes simplifying the procedures for obtaining the mark, allowing industrial facilities in free zones to obtain it, and confirming the facility's commitment to product safety through the application of conformity standards.

Nafis

The Cabinet was briefed on the developments of Emiratisation programmes in the private sector, and issued a decision regarding the amendment of some provisions related to the goals of the “Nafis” initiatives, so that the annual target for Emiratisation is divided throughout the year by 1 percent in the first six months of the year and the other 1 percent in the second half of the year.

The UAE Cabinet meeting approved a decision regarding the issuance of executive regulations for a number of federal laws and legislations, including the federal law regarding protecting witnesses and secret sources; the Federal Law regarding accessing genetic resources and their derivatives; the federal law regarding private health facilities, in accordance with the UAE’s policy regarding foreign investor ownership; the Federal Decree-Law regarding Electronic Transactions and Trust Services.

The Cabinet approved a resolution regarding the structure of Islamic sukuk.

The meeting has approved the establishment of a number of embassies in several countries, including Copenhagen, the Kingdom of Denmark; Prague, Czech Republic; Helsinki, the Republic of Finland; Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

The Cabinet approved several international agreements with a number of friendly countries, including the Republic of Lithuania, the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the Republic of Poland, the Russian Federation and Israel.

Furthermore, during the meeting, the Cabinet reviewed a number of annual reports for the year 2022.

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