As a rapidly developing country, the UAE has experienced extraordinary economic growth and with that has come increased demand for energy and resources. Since the WWF Living Planet Report 2006, the UAE has been ranked amongst countries with the highest per capita Ecological Footprint in the world. 

The Ecological Footprint Initiative (EFI) was launched in 2007 through a partnership between the then Ministry of Environment and Water (now called Ministry of Climate Change and Environment), Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, Emirates Wildlife Society in association with WWF, and the Global Footprint Network, transforming the UAE from a country with one of the highest per capita Ecological Footprint per capita the world, to one with some of the most advanced Ecological Footprint science. In 2012, the partnership welcomed the Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology. 

EFI's mission

EFI’s mission is to develop science-based policies that will cause a measurable reduction in the UAE’s carbon footprint, and address climate change. Carbon forms over 80 percent of the country’s footprint.

Key principles of EFI

The principles followed in EFI engagements include:
  • Science-based policy analysis
  • Capacity building
  • Multi-sector collaboration across public, private and civil society actors
  • Open and transparent consultation

Governance of the initiative

Emirates Wildlife Society – WWF is the Secretariat of the EFI. The EFI is governed by a Steering Committee, which provides strategic guidance, brings to the Initiative knowledge on relevant developments taking place in the country, and provides feedback on its activities. Current Steering Committee members include representatives of the following government organisations:
  • Ministry of Climate Change and Environment
  • Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi
  • Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology
  • Global Footprint Network
  • Emirates Wildlife Society – WWF
  • Department of Transport – Abu Dhabi
  • Dubai Electricity and Water Authority
  • Dubai Supreme Council of Energy
  • Executive Affairs Authority
  • Federal Electricity and Water Authority
  • Federal Transport Authority – Land and Maritime
  • Ministry of Energy
  • Regulation and Supervision Bureau – Abu Dhabi
  • Roads and Transport Authority – Dubai

Key achievements:

Since 2007, the EFI has contributed significantly to an enhanced understanding of consumption patterns and to low-carbon growth in the UAE. Achievements of special note include:
  • UAE vehicle fuel economy technical assessment undertaken (2015-16), followed by development of regulation (ongoing); the proposal to develop a Corporate Average Fuel Economy regulation (based on study findings) having been approved by EFI SC 
  • UAE Indoor Lighting Standard, now under implementation, developed in partnership with ESMA (2013-14); with the regulation estimated to reduce energy consumption by 500MW/year, reduce CO2 emissions by 940,000 tonnes/year, and result in savings of AED 668 million/year 
  • First of a kind scenario modelling tool developed (2012) to track the impact of power and water policies on Abu Dhabi’s carbon footprint (40% reduction possible by 2030)
  • Review and verification of UAE’s NFA (since 2008), leading to increased confidence in UAE Footprint value reported in the Living Planet Report. This has been facilitated and strengthened by the Data Organisation and Management Report 2014, which laid down recommendations for improved data management in the country 
  • Climate change and energy efficiency awareness (2009-12): Heroes of the UAE campaign, Ecological Footprint Animation
  • Footprint broken down by sector (2008): Households 57%, Business 30%, Government 12%



  • Deepti Mahajan Mittal

    Programme Leader - Climate and Energy

    WWF United Arab Emirates,
    WWF UAE / Emirates Wildlife Society,

The Ecological Footprint measures a nation’s impact on Earth to highlight whether a country and its people are living within the limits of our one planet. It is calculated by comparing consumption of natural resources with nature’s ability to renew those resources.

    • Ministry of Climate Change and Environment
    • Environment Agency Abu Dhabi
    • Global Footprint Network
    • Emirates Authority for Standardization & Metrology (ESMA)
    • Emirates Wildlife Society in association with WWF