The UAE and Pursuit of Global Development

  • 26 April 2014

Ambition and objectives are always given top priority in the UAE. They underline the country’s plans and its comprehensive vision at various levels. The UAE’s recent accomplishments, which include top global rankings on several development indices, highlight the fact that the country’s ambition is not a mere slogan or empty words. It is something the country pays a lot of attention to. More importantly, the UAE continues to work to realize its ambitions. Environment protection and sustainability are significant objectives that the UAE is pursuing in its march to the future. The country is aware that economic progress in any era cannot be at the expense of the environment, which is the prerequisite of sustainable development.

This awareness has been rooted in the State of the Union since its inception at the hands of Founder of the UAE, the Late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (may God bless his soul), who once said: “We give environment most of our attention because it is an inherent part of our country, our history and our heritage. Our forefathers lived on this earth and coexisted with its environment, on land and sea. They instinctively realized and sensed the delicate need to maintain it, and to take from it as much as they need only, and leave what the next generations would find a source of goodness and giving. And like our forefathers, we – who now live on this blessed land – are responsible for taking care of our environment and wildlife. We have a duty: to be loyal to our forefathers and grandchildren alike.”

The announcement made recently by H.E. Dr. Rashid Ahmad bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water, about the UAE being ranked on top in the 2014 Index of Marine Protected Areas, in a report released by Yale University and Columbia University in the US, doubles the country’s achievements in this domain. With this, the UAE has not only realized its ambition of reaching the top on one of the most important parameters of development but also relates directly to environment protection. This also makes it closer toward meeting the terms of sustainable development, which is evident when we take into account its top rankings in the Index of Marine Protected Areas. This was the reason behind the UAE moving up to the 25th place globally in the more comprehensive Environmental Performance Index issued by two universities. This was a leap of 52 places compared to its rank in 2013.

The UAE’s development achievements are manifest in the reality of its daily living. They benefit all segments of the society and are the result of concerted efforts and careful planning by the country’s wise leadership, which is aware that development is everyone’s right and a responsibility that rests on everyone’s shoulder as well. This has been the approach of the leadership historically since the establishment of the federation. The country’s initiatives on environment is a clear example of the country following the Late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (may God bless his soul). This approach ensures that protection of environment is not seen as an issue related just to the government and public authorities but as a matter of concern for us all. This is the responsibility of every individual in our society, both citizens and residents.