In the ECSSR Lecture No. (749), Thani Al Zeyoudi: The UAE Will Continue Its Efforts to Preserve Biodiversity Post COVID-19

Within the framework of its knowledge and cultural activities, the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) organized its online lecture No. (749) under the title: The Importance of Preserving Biodiversity Post COVID-19. The lecture was delivered by H.E. Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, on Wednesday June 10, 2020. The ECSSR broadcasted the lecture on its YouTube channel, which attracted a diverse audience with interests in environmental and scientific issues, including thinkers, writers and journalists.


H.E. Dr. Al Zeyoudi began his lecture by expressing his thanks and appreciation to the ECSSR and H.E. Prof. Jamal Sanad Al-Suwaidi, ECSSR Director General, for raising such important and vital issues. He also appreciated the efforts exerted by H.E. Prof. Al-Suwaidi in leading the Center, making it a renowned academic and research organization as well as a cultural and intellectual beacon. He pointed out that the lecture coincides with the World Environment Day, which the world celebrates on June 5 of each year. This year’s celebration came under the motto of “Biodiversity”.


His Excellency explained that biodiversity can be defined as the interaction among all living organisms in a given environmental medium, from microorganisms to large organisms such as whales, trees, etc. It spans all areas across the surface of the earth, including deserts, oceans, rivers and forests. His Excellency also indicated that the UAE enjoys, with gratitude to God, a unique biodiversity, as it hosts a group of ecosystems that include terrestrial and aquatic natural habitats.


H.E. Dr. Al Zeyoudi said that the UAE has paid great attention to protecting the biodiversity. It has established several natural reserves that serve as habitats for several organisms, the most important of which is Sir Bani Yas Island, a home to thousands of endangered wild animals. He added that the wise leadership pays the utmost attention to natural reserves where there are now 49 natural reserves in the UAE.


He pointed out that the protection of the environment, its sustainability and biodiversity are the focus of the UAE’s leadership and its various entities post Covid-19, emphasizing that the UAE’s leadership and all its institutions are working hard to confront this crisis and transform these challenges into opportunities. He stressed that the protection of local biodiversity and ensuring its sustainability are among the top priorities of the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, as well as the federal government in general. This takes place in coordination with all concerned local authorities.


Furthermore, H.E. Dr. Al Zeyoudi confirmed that the economic and humanitarian disruptions that the world is currently witnessing due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, Covid-19, is driving the world towards uniting all efforts to reverse the effects of climate change and preserve biodiversity.


At the conclusion of his lecture, H.E. Dr. Al Zeyoudi highlighted the UAE’s efforts aimed at supporting and enhancing biodiversity globally. He said that building on the UAE’s role and its contributions towards protecting wildlife through local and global initiatives as well as programs and projects, there have been several international programs launched such as the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, which is one of the most significant philanthropic initiatives that provides grants to preserve the world’s most threatened and endangered species.