ABU DHABI - Dr. Amna bint Abdullah Al Dahak, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, underscored the pivotal role of enhancing biodiversity in the restoration of Mother Nature and the natural ecosystems of the planet. This strengthens the role of the UAE's initiatives in combating climate change through nature-based solutions, environmental conservation, and fostering sustainable development across all sectors.

In a statement marking the International Day for Biological Diversity, marked 22nd May, Al Dahak said that this year's Day is held under the theme 'Be Part of the Plan,' inviting all stakeholders to join in curbing biodiversity loss. This theme resonates with the UAE's approach of involving all relevant entities, including the private sector, in exerting concerted efforts and empowering every member of society to become a part of the action.

This, in turn, would drive transformation and steer the course towards reconnecting with the nurturing embrace of natural heritage.

She emphasised, "Nature stands as the primary defence line for achieving economic and social development in the UAE and globally. Its profound significance lies in preserving natural resources, maintaining environmental equilibrium, and addressing the impacts of climate change. Biodiversity loss poses a genuine threat to humanity and our planet."

The minister stated that the the world has witnessed a staggering 69% decline in wildlife populations over the past 50 years, primarily due to deforestation and desertification. Human activities have altered more than 70% of non-ice-covered land on Earth, endangering further loss of wildlife and pushing more species towards extinction.

She elaborated that promoting biodiversity is a paramount priority for the UAE, with the nation embracing 49 protected areas, teeming with biodiversity and endangered species. Moreover, the UAE places special emphasis on expanding mangrove forests for their crucial role as natural carbon reservoirs and their contribution to safeguarding coastal ecosystems. This commitment is exemplified through the UAE's pledge to plant 100 million mangroves by 2030.

Minister Al Dahak reiterated that biodiversity took centre stage in the COP28 agenda, culminating in the historic UAE Consensus, which underscored the pivotal role of nature and natural ecosystems in the global strategy to address climate change. This was reflected in the COP28 response, which emphasised the importance of integrating nature and biodiversity in addressing climate challenges.

Additionally, COP28 endorsed the 'Joint Statement on Climate, Nature and People,' garnering support from 18 countries and leading to 11 biodiversity partnerships. Financial contributions during the significant event reached $2.6 billion towards nature conservation.