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HomeZayed Foundation participates in the 27th session of UNEP’s GC27/GMEF in Nairobi, Kenya

The Zayed International Foundation for the Environment, a key participant at UNEP’s 27th session of the Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum in Nairobi, spares no effort in promoting sustainable development locally, regionally and at the global level.

The Zayed International Foundation for the Environment was a key participant at the 27th session of the Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC27/GMEF) of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) that opened on 18th February at the United Nations Office at Nairobi, Kenya.

The meeting was the first Universal Session of the Governing Council following the decision of the United Nations General Assembly to strengthen and upgrade UNEP.

At the forum, ministerial level consultations addressed “Rio+20: from outcome to implementation,” in the context of strengthening and upgrading UNEP as set out in the Rio+20 outcome document, “The Future We Want.” The meeting also considered “implementing a green economy as an important tool for achieving sustainable development.” Other issues that were addressed include: sustainable consumption and production patterns and the post- 2015 Development Agenda; financing options for chemicals and wastes; and system-wide coordination on Rio+20 follow-up.

This session, which convened eight months after the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), held in Rio De Jeneiro, Brazil, in June 2012, served as an opportunity for the Zayed Foundation to outline its achievements and programs and projects that it has undertaken to embody the UAE’s mandate on the protection of the environment and culture of green development with a vision to achieve the highest levels of development and prosperity across the country.

Following the adoption of the UN General Assembly Resolution in December last year, it provided for the implementation of paragraph 88 in the Rio+20 outcome document in relation to the “strengthening and upgrading” of the role of UNEP as the leading global environmental authority, and establishment of universal membership of its governing body. This landmark decision allows full participation of all 193 UN member states at the UNEP Governing Council.Despite the fact that the UAE is currently not on the membership list, Dr. Mohammed Ahmed Bin Fahad, Chairman of the Higher Committee of the Zayed Foundation and Head of Delegation, said: “The membership of 21 countries will expire by the end of 2013. This would give the UAE an opportunity to compete strongly for membership.”“The UAE follows an aggressive and ambitious policy of achieving sustainable development for the nation.

The Zayed International Foundation for the Environment, through participation in this event and in its role in sensitizing, educating and creating awareness on issues of environmental protection, has spared no effort in promoting sustainable development locally, regionally and at the global level.

The UAE is indebted to our wise leadership for the relentless efforts to conserve, develop and invest the environment in a sustainable way and for introducing environmental factors in development projects,” he said. “The Zayed International Foundation for the Environment was founded by HH Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid more than a decade ago and it is now one of the most important contributions of the United Arab Emirates towards achieving environmental sustainability at the regional and global levels.”

“This Foundation is named after the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who relentlessly pursued peace and worked hard to ensure that the environment in the United Arab Emirates, the Gulf region and around the world is safeguarded for future generations.” At the side events held at the forum, Dr. Bin Fahad drew attention to the fact that a balanced and comprehensive attention should be given to both projects of afforestation and increasing the green areas in order to achieve sustainable growth, because of their predominant role in protecting the environment, soil, agriculture and construction. “In the UAE, we have achieved a significant milestone in this regard through a new initiative to plant one million trees in Dubai,” he said. “This initiative, launched in 2010 by HH Sheikh Mohammed, clearly indicates the Government’s endeavors for a greener and more sustainable country.

Through the ‘One million Tree’ campaign and other green initiatives such as the Afforestation Project, both Dubai Police and the Zayed International Foundation for the Environment are addressing important environmental issues, predominantly pollution, as we believe that spreading green areas supports our desire for a cleaner and healthier country.” Such initiatives are also in line with the vision of the strategic objectives of the Government of Dubai in the areas related to infrastructure and the environment and it further helps to bring about a strategic partnership with local departments in environmental work and community service, he added. Building national green economy strategies will not only generate new jobs and skills or promote clean technologies and reduce environmental risks, it will also serve as a vehicle for sustainable development and poverty eradication, pointed out Dr. Bin Fahad.

A comprehensive suite of green economy services are required to enable countries to transform their national economic structures to meet the growing demands and challenges of the 21st century, he added. He applauded the efforts of Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Hasnaa, President of the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection in Morocco, who has called for the establishment of a new roadmap for the implementation and commitment to sustainable development in the coming years.

The country’s National Charter for Environment and Sustainable Development legal framework enshrines the principles of environmental protection and sustainable development and recognizes the ability of NGOs to participate the development, implementation and evaluation of development policies in the context of participatory democracy, he said. In conclusion, Dr. Mohammed Ahmed Bin Fahad said that he is proud of the UAE’s commitment to “build a diversified economy based on knowledge and innovation, through which it seeks to protect the nation’s natural and environmental resources, and strengthen its competitive position in global markets, especially in the areas of renewable energy products and technologies on the green economy.

The UAE has entered a new phase of growth and our aim is to become a successful model of the new green economy so as to enhance the country’s competitiveness and sustainability of its development and preserve its environment for future generations.” Other members of the delegation of the Zayed International Foundation for the Environment accompanying Dr. Bin Fahad to the GC27/GMEF in Nairobi included Ahmad Mohamed Rafi, Vice-Chairman of the Higher Committee, Dr. Abdul Rahman Al Sharhan, member of the Higher Committee, and Fahad Jassem Al Ghuss, director of public relations. They attended several workshops and seminars that enabled them to exchange experiences with representatives of environmental organizations around the world.

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