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UAE, UAE, ABU DHABI - Diplomacy

Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri

Secretary General, Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD)

Bio

Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri holds a PhD in wildlife conservation and protection from the University of Aberdeen in the UK, the first Emirati woman to earn the accolade. She also holds a master’s degree in environmental science from UAE University (UAEU) in Al Ain and another in biological conservation from the University of Kent in the UK. She earned her bachelor’s degree in environmental species from UAEU. She is a board member of Abu Dhabi Sewerage Services Company, Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort, Emirates Nature-WWF, the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority, the Advanced Technology Research Council, and the International Fund for Houbara Conservation.

"EAD is concerned about the shift in the energy mix as it impacts energy decarbonization."
The largest environmental regulator in the Middle East, EAD is responsible for protecting and preserving the Emirate’s natural resources and promoting sustainable development across the region.
EAD, in partnership with the Department of Energy (DoE), leads a fundamental shift in Abu Dhabi’s energy mix. Which regulations have been drafted toward this goal?

EAD is concerned about the shift in the energy mix as it impacts energy decarbonization. This shift is driven by policy directions that are in line with the UAE’s Pathways to Net Zero by 2050 initiative. Both organizations work closely together to reduce emissions from the energy sector, as well as enhance the sector’s resilience to the impacts of climate change. We have been engaged with DOE in defining our commitment in Abu Dhabi toward achieving net zero through tangible projects that will enhance energy efficiency and substantially reduce energy-related emissions. In 2022, I had the pleasure to participate in the DOE’s announcement of the Clean Energy Strategic Target 2035 for Electricity Production in Abu Dhabi, a regulatory framework for the region’s first legally binding clean and renewable energy target for the electricity sector. The target is to produce 60% of all electricity using clean energy sources by 2035. EAD continues to work closely with 26 Abu Dhabi entities, including DoE, as members of the Abu Dhabi Climate Change Taskforce to develop strategic plans to achieve this great shift in Abu Dhabi’s energy mix.

EAD regulates and enforces Abu Dhabi’s environmental laws. How do your operations protect biodiversity and preserve the quality of life for a sustainable future?

Our operations are aligned with our mandate to protect biodiversity and Abu Dhabi’s environment in general. Our five-year strategy and strategic priorities reflect our mandate and provide links to all our programs and operations. We undertake extensive survey and monitoring to document the presence of species and continue to monitor important species and their habitats, both within protected areas as well as outside them. This is fundamental to the understanding of our biological resources and their status and distribution. We ensure important and threatened species and their habitats are included in our protection programs, especially within our network of protected areas, another key part of our mandate. However, establishing protected areas is not enough; we must develop policies, regulations, and guidelines to further protect them. Building partnerships and engaging with key stakeholders in the development of policies and regulation ensures necessary support from the relevant government and private sectors. We also have an extensive and ongoing education and outreach program to raise awareness on biodiversity, allowing people to connect with nature and, more importantly, creating a sense of appreciation for nature and natural resources. All these help us protect Abu Dhabi’s biodiversity and go a long way in preserving the quality of life and creating a better environment for all.

EAD is the largest environmental regulator in the Middle East. What does this signify to the wider community?

Being the largest environmental regulator in the region brings added responsibilities and expectations. We are conscious of that; however, we are also conscious of our larger goals and responsibilities: to protect our biodiversity, soil, air, and water resources and mitigate and adapt to climate change impacts. We are constantly developing policies and regulations that are helping us improve our environment. A well protected environment has significant human health and wellbeing benefits besides economic development opportunities, centered around environment and biodiversity. Our efforts to protect our environment through a range of pioneering initiatives have been instrumental in our growth as an organization over the past 25 years. Being the largest is not just a reflection on the size of the organization, but more on delivery on the environmental and biodiversity fronts, not only in the region but globally as well. Our successes also ensured full support and commitment from our leadership and government. We have cemented our position in the eyes of the public, government, and community based on our performance in protecting Abu Dhabi’s environment. All of these have given the wider community greater confidence and a sense of environmental security.

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