AGEDI joins worldwide experts at UNEP/GEF Blue Forests Project workshop in Berlin

Berlin, Germany – The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and GRID – Arendal hosted a workshop on blue carbon pathways to sustainable development on 25-27 July 2016 in Berlin.

The main objectives of the joint meeting of the UNEP/GEF Blue Forests Project Advisory Panels on Policy and Ecosystem Services included identifying priority policy options for each of the Small Scale Interventions (SSIs), of which the Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI) is one of the representatives, towards sustainable development of blue forests as well as identifying technical support to be provided by the Advisory Panels on Policy and Ecosystem Services over the remaining course of the project.

These advisory panels give recommendations to the SSIs on blue carbon science, ecosystem services and policy to support the effective implementation of the SSIs activities. Specifically on climate and marine and costal management, AGEDI helped facilitate the sharing of experiences, success and challenges of the SSIs to find ways of overcoming them as well as identify new opportunities for intervention.

Finally the participants, who included world renowned experts from international organisations, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), governments, academia, the private sector and research organisations, drafted a National Policy Assessment Framework, to ensure uptake and up scaling in other countries.

Water-Energy Nexus Modelling Seminar held by AGEDI to introduce WEAP and LEAP

Abu Dhabi, UAE – The Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI) hosted a 3 hour seminar on 26 May to introduce and discuss the modelling tools used in the Local, National, Regional Climate Change Program’s (LNRCCP) Regional and National Water-Energy Nexus Projects. The seminar was conducted by Dr. David Yates, who gave a high-level presentation on the uses of the Water Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) and the Long range Energy Alternatives Planning (LEAP) systems. Attendees of the seminar included representatives from the federal and local government, non-governmental organisations, academia and research centers as well as the private sector.

AGEDI holds workshop on Coastal Vulnerability and Climate Change

Abu Dhabi, UAE – The Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI), in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE), held a coastal vulnerability assessment workshop from 9 to 12 May 2016 to introduce stakeholders to the “Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Service and Trade-offs” (InVEST) tool being used in the study. Preliminary results were presented for feedback to the participants, who consisted of representatives from the Ministry, local government and municipalities, academia, private sector and international organisations.

Activities included the validation of the methodology and data as well as the prioritisation of the indicators used in the tool. Participants were given the opportunity to visit the most vulnerable coastal zones in five Emirates across the UAE during a two day field trip. A follow up webinar is anticipated to take place in August to present the refined results

AGEDI presents research findings to support Ecosystem Based Management Strategy workshop

Dubai, UAE – The Regional Organization for the Protection of the Marine Environment (ROPME), together with the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) and the United Nations Environment Programme – Regional Office in West Asia (UNEP-ROWA) organised a four-day workshop in Dubai to work towards the development of a regional Ecosystem Based Management (EBM) Strategy in the ROPME Sea Area. AGEDI gave an insightful presentation about bridging the data gap to support ecosystems services. The workshop welcomed country representatives from across the region, as well as academic institutions and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).

During the workshop, a set of recommendations were adopted to facilitate the development of the EBM Strategy;  these include the establishment of a working group to develop the strategy, the need to recognise the current level of understanding of the marine and coastal ecosystems in the ROPME Sea Area as a key part of the strategy as well as the utilisation of an inventory of policies, legislation, organisations, projects and initiatives at the national and regional level.

Local, National and Regional Biodiversity Report set as basis for UNEP-WCMC Aichi Targets

As part of the United Nations Environment Programme’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre’s (UNEP-WCMC) efforts to achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, recent revisions have taken place on the existing system of terrestrial ecoregions of the world. To capture a more relevant and updated outlook on the ecoregions of the Arabian Peninsula, UNEP-WCMC collaborated with AGEDI to incorporate the latest Geographical Information Systems (GIS) data on hand. As a result, AGEDI’s Local, National and Regional Biodiversity Rapid Assessment data has been set as a standard tool for the region to monitor the progress towards achieving the Aichi Targets.

AGEDI highlights Blue Carbon at COP 21

The AGEDI team leveraged its Blue Carbon knowledge to contribute to climate change discussions at the Conference of Parties (COP), COP 21, in Paris, France.

The team highlighted Blue Carbon in panel discussions in the IUCN Pavilion, Taking Implementation of Policy, Programmes and Projects of Blue Carbon Ecosystems to Scale: Identifying the Priority Next Steps and during a speaking opportunity at the GCC Pavilion on GCC regional efforts in their adaptation actions through: water conservation, marine protection, urban planning and desertification; including their mitigation co-benefits.

The GCC Blue Carbon workshop was also discussed at the UNFCCC and UNEP Lima Adaptation Knowledge Initiative (LAKI) session, and the team also ensured a Blue Carbon contribution to a side event showcasing the Arabian Gulf and Red Sea regions’ efforts in their adaptation actions through water conservation, marine protection, urban planning and desertification, including their mitigation co-benefits. Learn more about AGEDI’s Blue Carbon work here.

Here’s a video from the conference.

Happy in the Mangroves

Following the Internet phenomenon of the “Be Happy” Videos, it was decided at the inception workshop for the GEF Blue Forest project, hosted in Abu Dhabi in partnership with AGEDI, that all the Blue Carbon projects within  the programme would create their own “Be Happy” Videos.

Filmed during the National Blue Carbon Project Field Work, the video was launched at the Eye on Earth Summit 2015, creating an exciting buzz around alternative outreach methods inspiring all to create their own “Be Happy” videos.

Thanks to all the fieldwork volunteers who appear in the video and the scientists who took time out from their data collection to dance and Be Happy…

Launch of the National Blue Carbon Project Report

The Ministry of Environment and Water (MOEW) today launched the National Blue Carbon Project report, marking the first national quantification of the UAE’s Blue Carbon stocks, which will help guide decision-making in coastal ecosystem preservation and climate change mitigation. The Project was a collaborative initiative managed and facilitated by a partnership between MOEW and the Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI), and implemented in collaboration with the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD) alongside the local authorities of the other emirates.

National Blue Carbon Project – Decision-maker Summary

National Blue Carbon Project – Executive Summary

Healthy oceans critical to achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals

Abu Dhabi, [7 October 2015] 

At Eye on Earth Summit 2015 today members of the Oceans and Blue Carbon Special Initiative launched “The Oceans and Us”, a new publication that highlights the critical role healthy oceans play in achieving the recently adopted UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Co-written by the Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI), GRID-Arendal, the UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), The Nature Conservancy, the University of Western Brittany Brest (UBO), and the Marine Ecosystem Services Partnership, the publication outlines the essential nature of conserving and restoring marine and coastal ecosystems, and the related needs for data and policy actions. According to the entities, the role of healthy marine and coastal ecosystems for sustainable development is neither fully understood, nor fully integrated, into decision-making and planning.

“We found that healthy corals, mangroves and other marine and coastal ecosystems provide a myriad of benefits to sustainable development,” said Jane Glavan, AGEDI Partnerships Manager. “For Abu Dhabi this includes coastline stabilization, water purification, tourism value and, importantly, the sequestration and storage of carbon dioxide. A better understanding of marine ecosystem services is important to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals as it enables informed policy choices on conserving and restoring valuable natural assets.”

Christian Neumann, Marine Ecosystem Services Project Manager at GRID-Arendal, stated: “With 200 million people on the planet employed directly or indirectly through marine fisheries alone, we simply cannot afford the continued decline of ocean health. Healthy marine and coastal ecosystems are indispensable in our fight against poverty, to provide adequate nutrition, health and employment to the people on the planet, and to mitigate and adapt to climate change.”

The analysis undertaken by the partnership showed that the conservation and sustainable use of the ocean and its resources, an SDG in itself, supports an additional nine out of the 17 goals. Capturing the value of marine and coastal ecosystem services—the benefits people obtain from the ocean—is facilitated by strong communication between science and policy-making, ensuring reliable, objective and widely available data is provided to support informed decisions.

“There is growing global recognition among world and local leaders that healthy marine and coastal ecosystems have an essential role in our efforts to achieving a more sustainable future. This understanding has the power to bring together conservation and development communities. Only then can we harness this powerful, sustainable and global natural factory to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals we have set for the people of this planet,” said Corinne Martin, Programme Officer Marine, UNEP-WCMC.

The full report is available to download here 

More information about the Eye on Earth Summit, speakers and new project proposals can be found at





UAE to host the 13th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (COP13) in 2018

Punta del Este, Uruguay – The UAE Ministry of Environment & Water (MoEW) recently hosted a side event in the 12th Conference of the Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (COP12) – a successful side event that was attended by 120 delegates from different countries and international organisations, and saw the UAE being accepted to host the next edition, COP 13, in Dubai in 2018.  AGEDI’s work on the Blue Carbon Project in partnership with MoEW was highlighted at the dedicated side event, as well as key UAE sustainable projects and events, including the upcoming Eye on Earth Summit and Ecocity World Summit, to be held in October this year in Abu Dhabi. AGEDI’s blue carbon and ecosystem services outcomes support the UAE’s position to the Ramsar Convention; the country has been a party to the Convention since 2007, and has designated five wetland sites onto the List of Wetlands of International Importance (‘Ramsar Sites’), considered to be of high value to the country and the world because of the ecosystem services they provide. The nation’s wetland ecosystem is one of the most unique and diverse in the Arabian Peninsula, and includes marshes, vast tidal flats, fresh water aquifers, mangroves and coral reefs.