The UAE Ecological Footprint Initiative takes new steps towards a greener economy for the UAE
Unique public-private partnership to develop policies for a more sustainable future
21 May 2012, Dubai, UAE: The UAE is taking another step towards a greener economy by announcing the new phase of the Ecological Footprint Initiative. Over a three year period the Initiative will develop science-based environmental policies to help reduce the UAE’s carbon dioxide emissions and per capita ecological footprint through a two track process; the development of energy efficiency standards for residential lighting in the UAE, and a socio-economic assessment of the policies assessed in the ecological footprint scenario model, targeting the energy and water sector of the UAE.
To achieve its mission, the Initiative pools together experts in a unique public-private partnership between the Ministry of Environment and Water, Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi, Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (ESMA), Emirates Wildlife Society in association with WWF (EWS-WWF), and the Global Footprint Network.
HE. Dr. Rashid Bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water and the Chairman of the Initiative’s steering committee stated: “The first phase of the Ecological Footprint Initiative (2007 – 2011) has proven the importance of working partnership and collaboration with different sectors. The first phase of the partnership saw an effective collaboration between government sector, private sector and NGOs in order to manage the UAE´s Ecological Footprint in a sustainable manner, and this has been crucial in meeting the objectives of the initiative. With the success of the first phase, we are committed to continue working in partnership, as this is one of the strategic goals of the UAE.
With regard to the scope of work in the initiative Bin Fahad said, the initiative will begin to develop efficiency standards for lighting at the residential level, this would include the development of national obligatory standards and policies that will contribute to reducing the Ecological Footprint by reducing the use of energy in indoor lighting. The next step will focus on conducting a socio-economic assessment of policies targeted towards the energy and water sector of the UAE to help build local capacity on how the UAE can develop a greener economy. By developing this capacity, the Initiative will be able to support and provide advice to policy makers on critical issues related to energy security, climate change and ecological footprint, emphasizing that the anticipated success of this phase of the initiative will directly contribute to the UAE’s “Green Economy Initiative” which was announced in January by H.H Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Ida Tillisch, Acting Director-General of EWS-WWF, commented on the next steps of the initiative: “A study from Abu Dhabi indicates that using more energy efficient lighting has a significant potential to reduce electricity consumption in the residential sector, and subsequent footprint reductions. Given this, EWS-WWF will conduct science-based research to support the partners as they develop a robust national lighting standard and policy and regulatory framework.”
Eng Mohammad Saleh Badri, Director General, ESMA stated: “As the federal standardisation body responsible for the development of efficiency standards in the UAE, we look forward to working with all stakeholders to develop a robust, relevant and useful lighting standard labelling system, supporting policy and regulatory framework to reduce the UAE’s energy consumption and Footprint.”
Speaking in support of the next phase of the UAE Ecological Footprint Initiative, HE. Razan Al Mubarak, Secretary General, EAD stated: ‘’Abu Dhabi is committed to improving its environmental performance, and EAD is excited to work with the partners of this innovative initiative to ensure that science-based policy recommendations are incorporated into the overall vision of the emirate.’’
*In addition to the partners, the Initiative is also governed by a federal steering committee, which had its inaugural meeting on 25 January 2012 to approve the new scope of work. The Initiative will also be reviewing and verifying the UAE’s Ecological Footprint accounts in advance of the biennial publication of the Living Planet Report.