As a rapidly developing country, the UAE experienced extraordinary economic growth and with that came the increased demand for energy and resources. Since the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) Living Planet Report 2006, the UAE has been ranked with one of the highest per capita Ecological Footprints in the world.

To address this, the UAE Ecological Footprint Initiative (EFI) was launched – an initiative that AGEDI supported in addition to others partners.

The Process:

In year one, the EFI focused on evaluating the usefulness of the EF indicator and its representativeness of the UAE context. This was done through data and methodology reviews with special focus on the population, the carbon Footprint, and the fisheries land type. The EFI concluded that the Footprint is in fact a useful representative tool for the UAE and can be used to derive relevant scientific insights.

In year two, the EFI developed significant relevant scientific knowledge, including identifying the major Footprint-driving sectors. Analysis found that UAE households are the greatest contributors to the UAE’s EF, comprising 57%, followed by the business/industry and government sectors with 30% and 12% respectively.

In year three, the EFI continued its research through the development of an electricity and water scenario model designed to show how the development of the power and water sector might affect the UAE’s EF up to 2030, and to help build lower-Footprint alternative scenarios.

Main Achievements:

The initiative has made the UAE the third country in the world, after Japan and Switzerland, to embark on such in-depth research to understand and manage its footprint.

The UAE Lighting Standard was introduced in December 2013, preventing low-quality indoor light bulbs from entering the market, and instead ensuring that light bulbs available are energy-efficient, high quality, safe, have limited hazardous chemicals and can be safely disposed of.

The initiative has also focused on developing science-based environmental policies to help reduce the UAE’s carbon dioxide emissions and per capita ecological footprint by:

  • Conducting a socio-economic assessment of the policies outlined in the scenario model created in Phase 1, targeting the energy and water sector of the UAE
  • Verifying the UAE’s Ecological Footprint and communicating the results to policymakers

Learn more about the Initiative here.