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 www.eoesummit.org.

 

 

 

 

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.

Five UAE sites identified as areas of global ecological importance during EBSA workshop

Abu Dhabi, UAE – The UAE has identified five sites as areas of global biological and ecological importance during a recent regional workshop on Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs) in the North-Western Indian Ocean and the neighbouring Gulf region. The workshop was hosted by the UAE Ministry of Environment and Water with AGEDI as a collaborator, in addition to representatives from the UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Jordan, Sudan, Eritrea, Pakistan, India and various international and regional organisations. The identified sites – the Southwest Waters of Abu Dhabi and the Marawah Marine Biosphere Reserve in Abu Dhabi, Jebel Ali in Dubai and Sir Bu Na’air Island, and Khor Kalba in Sharjah – were evaluated based on the criteria established during the ninth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity.

AGEDI’s Eye on Earth Global Network of Networks (GNON) work highlighted at GIS conference 

Geneva, Switzerland – As facilitator of the Eye on Earth Summit’s GNON Special Initiative, and specialist in the field, AGEDI attended the annual GIS (Geographic Information Systems) for the United Nations and the International Community conference in May 2015. The premier invitation only event for GIS practitioners and information managers focused on technological advancement, the application of GIS to support sustainable development and humanitarian missions, and collaboration within the community. In addition to presenting an overview of progress in the Summit in the Global Initiatives session, AGEDI also co-chaired a break-out session on open data.  The GNON Special Initiative aims to join existing and emerging environmental information networks to facilitate systematic and inclusive access to, and reporting on, global environmental data, information and knowledge.

Contribute to a global snapshot of biodiversity with National Geographic’s Great Nature Project

From 15-25 May 2015, people all over the world are documenting biodiversity as part of a global snapshot for National Geographic’s Great Nature Project. Grab a camera or phone and take photos of wild plants and animals, then upload and share them on greatnatureproject.org. The goal of the global snapshot, which is repeated annually, is to document biodiversity all over the world during a specific window of time. Over time, this will provide data that can be used to answer scientific questions or provide useful information to decision-makers. Use the initiative to help keep track of what was documented, see what amazing biodiversity other people observe, and even get help identifying different species.

 

AGEDI research presented at the Third International Symposium on the Effects of Climate Change on the World’s Oceans

Santos City, Brazil – AGEDI’s regional ocean model on large-scale climate change projections on the Arabian Gulf was presented at the Third International Symposium on Effects of Climate Change on the World’s Ocean in Santos City, Brazil. The Symposium provided an opportunity for the international scientific community to share the latest information, understanding and assessments of the impacts of climate change on oceans worldwide. The event saw 12 sessions covering different but interconnected themes, from physical processes and their interaction with ecosystem dynamics, to resource provision and ocean governance. The regional ocean modelling under climate change is part of AGEDI’s four-year Climate Change Programme.

Middle East’s first Ecocity World Summit calls for abstracts

The next Ecocity World Summit (ECWS), to be hosted in the Middle East for the very first time, has called on the wider community to submit abstracts for papers or presentations at the summit, set to be held in Abu Dhabi from 11 to 13 October 2015. Authors are invited to advance the state of thinking and inspire the next generation of ideas, projects and strategies for eco and smart cities of the future. If selected, authors will be given the unique opportunity to present their work to a top-calibre audience of local and international governmental, academic, private-sector leaders and eco-experts. The deadline for abstract submissions is 15 April 2015. Visit the ECWS page for more information.

Eye on Earth Summit in Abu Dhabi to boost environmental information for decision-makers

Over 650 delegates from government, UN bodies, the non-governmental sector, private sector, academia and civil society will gather in Abu Dhabi between 6 and 8 October for the Eye on Earth (EoE) Summit 2015, to bridge the information gap policy-makers face in designing plans for sustainable development.The experts gathered will explore solutions and actions necessary for greater access to, and sharing of, environmental, social and economic data to support sustainable development. The Summit will address the profound impact that rapid economic and industrial development is having on natural resources, biodiversity and consumption patterns around the world. These global challenges require international collaborative action to find transformative solutions that span political boundaries and help secure a sustainable future for all. One of the critical first steps – and the focus of EoE Summit 2015 – is to address the need for evidence-based decision-making that can benefit from the available wealth of scientific data, information and knowledge, if they are made more accessible to all. For more information, visit the EoE website.