UAE tops MENA, global rankings in environmental indicators in 2020

UAE ranks first in the MENA region in wastewater treatment, marine protected areas, and ISO 14001 environmental certificates

UAE tops MENA, global 2020 rankings in environmental indicators [representative image]
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UAE tops MENA, global 2020 rankings in environmental indicators [representative image]

The UAE has topped the MENA region in 19 environmental indicators for 2020, and has dominated the global competitiveness rankings in eight environmental indicators, according to recent findings.

The IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2020 – which is issued by the Institute for Management Development’s (IMD) World Competitiveness Centre – has placed the UAE first globally in the Environmental Laws index, two places ahead of its position in 2019.

The indicator measures the proactive initiatives undertaken by countries in devising new laws related to the environment and climate change, as well as in updating existing laws, and executing them.

According to a Gallup poll, the UAE has placed first in the Satisfaction with Preservation Efforts category of The Legatum Prosperity Index. This indicator measures public satisfaction with the country’s efforts to preserve its environment for future generations.

Meanwhile, the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) has ranked the UAE first globally in SO2 Emissions Intensity. This indicator measures the rate of reduction in SO2 emissions over several years.

According to EPI, the UAE also tops the category of Household Solid Fuels globally. The country has registered a marked reduction in the use of solid fuels for heating and cooking by households over the past two years. This is a significant win on the environmental front in the context of the high emissions of air pollutants that household solid fuels generate.

The UAE has maintained its global leadership in the Marine Protected Areas category with 16 marine protected areas now included. The total protected area cover in the country has increased from 15.07% of the territory in 2019 to 15.53% in 2020, accounting for 18.4% of its terrestrial territory and 12.01% of its marine territory.

According to EPI, the UAE leads the global Wetlands indicator that measures the loss of wetlands over a 10-year period. The country pays great attention to its wetlands that are hotspots for biodiversity under the threat of extinction.

EPI also ranked the UAE first in the Grasslands indicator that calculates the moving average of lost pastures and grassy areas over a five-year period. The UAE works relentlessly to cultivate local flora species that can tolerate the country’s desert climate.

Notably, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MoCCAE) calculates the change in the green cover using satellites, according to the state-run news agency, Wam.

Meanwhile, the UAE’s winning run continued with the country placing first in Ecosystem Services, according to EPI. The recognition can be attributed to the country’s efforts in preserving and enhancing local species. Ecosystem services are the varied benefits to humanity as gifts of the natural environment and healthy ecosystems.

EPI noted that the other indicators include Ecosystems Vitality and Biodiversity and Habitat.

In addition, the Legatum Prosperity Index ranks the UAE first in the MENA region in the Wastewater Treatment, Pesticide Regulation, Marine Protected Areas, and ISO 14001 Environmental Certificates categories.

According to the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2020, the UAE is a regional leader in the Environmental Balance and Pollution Problems, as well as the Exposure to Fine Particulate Matter indicators that measure the level of emissions to which the country’s population is exposed, and assess the impact of this exposure on the quality of life.

The UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, Dr Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, said that the UAE’s prominent standing in global environmental rankings is the direct outcome of the continuing support and guidance of the country’s wise leadership, its effective cooperation with federal and local government entities, as well as the productive partnerships with the private sector and with international organisations specialising in environmental work.

Al Nuaimi said: “Protecting our environment, ensuring the sustainability of our natural resources, and conserving our biodiversity are among the strategic goals of the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MoCCAE). To address these priorities, the Ministry has implemented an integrated framework including in its scope environmental legislation, as well as projects and programmes that align with the highest international standards.”

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