Abu Dhabi, UAE – In the run-up to the 11th edition of the Ecocity World Summit on 15 October, 2015, the longest-running conference series on urban sustainability, AGEDI hosted the Making Better Cities special event in Abu Dhabi with more than 100 attendees. Following welcoming remarks by H.E. Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary General of Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, a panel discussion commenced and was moderated by Anthony Mallows, Director of Masdar City. Panelists included Richard Register, Founder of Ecocity Builders; Dieter Salomon, Mayor of Freiburg City, Germany; Ng Lang, CEO of URA, Singapore; and Arab Hoballah, Chief of Sustainable Consumption and Production at the UNEP/DTIE. Discussion topics included smart growth, liveability, innovation in and financing of ‘going green’ schemes, obstacles to further improvement in urban sustainability, and moving to fully green city systems from present test zones.
Abu Dhabi, UAE – AGEDI joined a UAE delegation to the third session of the plenary of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), which was held from 12 to 17 January, 2015, in Bonn, Germany. IPBES aims to be the leading intergovernmental body for assessing the state of the planet’s biodiversity and its ecosystems. Discussions focused on communications and stakeholder engagement strategies, budget, strategic partnerships, rules of procedure, and on institutional arrangements for the UN collaborative partnership. Four regional sessions on regional assessments were also held.
Abu Dhabi, UAE – AGEDI, in association with Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, recently hosted a four-day workshop on the National Reporting Toolkit (NRT). Led by the Centre for Environment and Development for the Arab Region and Europe (CEDARE), the team presented the latest NRT developments to the Ministry of Environment and Water, and to environment and statistics authorities from each of the Emirates. The team also collated feedback about the NRT from each stakeholder group, to be incorporated into the Toolkit’s functionality as it undergoes further development.
Abu Dhabi, UAE – The Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) Blue Forests Project had its inaugural meeting in Abu Dhabi in November, hosted by AGEDI. The Project helps develop Blue Carbon science and data management through the production of tools and the testing of methodologies that can be utilised and scaled up to the international arena, and will enhance blue carbon cooperation and training. AGEDI is a key partner of GEF’s efforts, with its local work in Blue Carbon having already helped guide the Project and its international members through knowledge-sharing and capacity-building.
Abu Dhabi, UAE – The Ecosystems Services Assessment project commenced this month with a participatory modelling workshop. The participatory modelling process combines available data and expert knowledge from key stakeholders to analyse the relative supply and demand of ecosystem services. The project is part of the extension work from Phase I of the Abu Dhabi Blue Carbon Demonstration Project. This work aims to investigate the Phase I results – completed in April 2014 – and to assess the full range of ecosystem benefits that, together with carbon sequestration, should be taken account of in complex, land-use decision-making.
UAE – Work on Phase II of the Blue Carbon Project will begin in September, expanding the science to the Northern and Eastern Emirates and to the GCC region, and extending the understanding and valuation aspects of coastal blue carbon ecosystem services. Phase II sees the incorporation of findings into policy creation as well, including the proposed compensation fund. AGEDI’s recommendations from Phase II will then be incorporated into local, national, regional and international programmes.
The UAE published its 5th National Report for Biodiversity on the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) website in June. The report, which incorporates AGEDI’s outcomes from AGEDI’s Local, National and Regional Biodiversity Rapid Assessment Project, reflects the status and trends of biodiversity, as well as the UAE’s efforts conserve it.
Read the report here.
Gouna, Egypt – This June, AGEDI attended the International World Environment Day (WED) in Gouna, Egypt, an event sponsored by the Ministry of Environmental Affairs. Dr. Laila Iskendar, Minister of Environment, and Mr. Amro Al Samak, Executive Director for Environmental Affairs were among the guests that participated in the event.
This event was held right after the Arab Environmental Ministers meetings on 14-15 June which was attended by Arab Ministers, Ambassadors as well as Diplomats from around the world.
The city of Gouna was chosen as the place to celebrate this two-day event because of its reputation for being an extremely environmental friendly city, thus the perfect backdrop for world leaders and organizations to meet and support environmental sustainability.
The central theme of World Environment Day 2014 was climate change; the event included an exhibition on environmental investment, where organizations had the ability to share information on sustainable development and environmental protection. Amongst the technology showcased was green technology to promote cleaner environments, the latest solar energy expertise and equipment, as well as the promotion of a green economy for future generations to come.
AGEDI’s attendance to WED was very successful and fruitful. In this event dedicated to increased knowledge on environmental protection and finding ways to improve policy making towards a sustainable future, AGEDI continued its efforts in promoting data sharing across regional networks such as the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. AGEDI looks forward to working closely with global leaders and local communities towards addressing climate change issues, achieving environmental sustainability, increasing awareness and responsibility, and ultimately building a better future for the people of the globe.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) launched the SIDS Foresight Report on priority issues for small island developing states (SIDS) this June. The report identified climate change impacts and related sea-level rise as the chief concern among 20 emerging issues impacting the environmental resilience and sustainable development prospects of SIDS. The findings from the recommendations of the 2011 UN-OHRLLS (UN Office of The High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States) report were reiterated, among which was calling for SIDS to “establish and strengthen national administrative and legislative capacity for developing and implementing integrated coastal zone management plans and strategies.” AGEDI’s blue carbon demonstration project was referenced as a prime benchmark for SIDS in pursuing similar projects.
Read the report.
Bonn, Germany – At the Sustainability in the Water-Energy-Food Nexus conference (WEF Nexus), AGEDI underlined the organisation’s timely and unique role in data collection and sharing in the region. The links between water, food and energy for policy development were also discussed, all within a session titled the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) Nexus Initiative for a Green Economy, Human Security, and Stability.