The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD) organised the First Abu Dhabi International Forum on Legal Frameworks for a Sustainable Future in Green Tourism, Therapeutic Tourism and Climate Change, in cooperation with the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi, the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) and the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi, to discuss the guidelines for green and therapeutic tourism, regulations, and national and comparative legislations to promote and support sustainable tourism.

The event was part of the strategic undertakings conducted by the UAE in connection with the Year of Sustainability 2023, and the ongoing preparations to host the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28), in accordance with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice-President, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Presidential Court, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, to pursue the efforts in support of the establishment of a pioneering legal and judicial system that contributes to the promotion of sustainable development.

The Forum, which took place remotely over two days via the platform of Abu Dhabi Judicial Academy (ADJA), was moderated by Mr. Hasan Mohamed Alhammadi, Director of the Prosecution Affairs Division in Abu Dhabi and member of the Scientific Board of the ADJA, was enlivened by the participation of a distinguished panel of speakers, consultants and national and international experts in the subject matter who reviewed the most important experiences, efforts, initiatives, legal systems and relevant legislation likely to help shape the contours of a sustainable future for therapeutic and green tourism and climate change.

The first day began with a presentation given by Mr. Saeed Obaid Al Fazari, Executive Director of the Strategy Sector at the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT), entitled "Towards the Development of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi as a Global Tourism Destination", in which he spoke of the importance of complementarity between government and private agencies in promoting the principles of sustainable development in the Emirate and highlighted the sustainability initiatives undertaken by the DCT which, he said, is striving to expand sustainability initiatives to include all tourism facilities in the Emirate.

For his part, Dr. Ahmed Abdelzaher, Legal Consultant at the Technical Office of H.E. the Undersecretary of Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, spoke about the legislation dealing with green tourism that takes into account the requirements of the environment and the means of preserving and protecting it. Dr. Abdelzaher also reviewed the best international practices in this field and suggested the introduction of tax incentives to encourage tourist establishments to apply standards that take into account the principles of environmental sustainability.

In turn, judge Oran Whiting, from the Foreign Experts Chamber of Abu Dhabi Commercial Court, discussed the concepts of ecotourism and the criteria for its classification, and presented a number of international examples of this type of tourism and the different legislations enacted in this regard. Dr. Heidi Issa Hassan, lecturer at the Department of Private International Law, Faculty of Law, Cairo University, presented a paper entitled "Towards a Law for Green Tourism: Presentation of Experiences and Best Practices" in which she tackled the importance of enacting a green tourism law with the aim of promoting tourism in its various dimensions, referring to the role of the law as a tool for achieving sustainable development and consolidating the principles and foundations of control and auditing based on the latest training methodologies in various specialised fields approved according to international best practices.

For his part, judge Fahad Al Tameemi, from Abu Dhabi Commercial Court, shed light on national legislation and international agreements dealing with sustainability and green tourism, praising the pioneering proactive measures taken by the UAE in the field of climate change and encouraging green investing activities by enacting laws and adopting initiatives to move towards a more sustainable economy.

Mrs. Sheikha Al Mazrouei, Executive Director of the Integrated Environment Policy and Planning at the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi, reviewed in a paper entitled "Enjoy Green Abu Dhabi and Natural Reserves", the Agency's experience in protecting the environment in the context of climate change; while Mr. Ahmed Abdullah Al Dhaheri, Head of the Terrestrial Protected Areas Unit at the Environment Agency, spoke about the incentives for the success of ecotourism initiatives in natural reserves, and about the activities and experiences of ecotourism that are appropriate to the wild environment in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, as well as terrestrial protected areas that can support ecotourism development.

Finally, Dr. Mohamed Hashem, expert in international law and former advisor to the Egyptian Council of State, briefed the forum participants on the pioneering global models of ecotourism and the issue of climate change, and outlined the legal framework at the international and national levels, suggesting that an international legislation be adopted to serve this sector in a way that contributes to the achievement of sustainable development.