09. December 2023 — Press Release
09.12.2023 — خبر صحفى

Government of Umm Al Quwain, Ministry of Economy and Emirates Nature-WWF officially announce initiatives supporting the Sustainable Blue Economy in Umm Al Quwain at COP28

SBE Event

Dubai, 9 December 2023: The Government of Umm Al Quwain (UAQ), in close partnership with the UAE Ministry of Economy and Emirates Nature-WWF, has announced the launch of an initiative to develop a set of robust Sustainable Blue Economy (SBE) guidelines spanning key sectors such as Tourism and Recreation, Built Environment, and Blue Food, among others.

H.H. Sheikh Majid bin Saud Al Mualla

The initiative was officially announced at a high-level ministerial event at COP28 by H.H. Sheikh Majid bin Saud Al Mualla, Chairman of UAQ Tourism and Archaeology, H.E. Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy,  and Laila Mostafa Abdullatif, Director General of Emirates Nature-WWF joined by Mr. Mohamed Al Marzooqi, CEO of HSBC UAE who discussed the role of public-private partnerships in unlocking innovative financial mechanisms towards SBE.

The event “Building a Sustainable Blue Economy in the UAE'' was held at the UAE Pavilion and showcased Umm Al Quwain as an emerging SBE model, not only within the UAE but also in the MENA region, demonstrating the milestones achieved by the emirate as it implements its ambitious Sustainable Blue Economy Strategy 2031. Development of guidelines is a key step in this process of establishing a sustainable marine-based economy that protects, restores, and maintains the diversity, productivity, and resilience of marine ecosystems, to ensure social and economic benefits for current and future generations.

The Ministry of Economy supports the development of the emirate’s SBE strategy as part of its efforts to diversify the country’s economy and enhance UAE’s competitiveness and attractiveness for investments. Emirates Nature-WWF has been supporting these efforts through the implementation of the “Nature-based Solutions (NbS) for Climate, Biodiversity and People” project in the UAE, which is made possible through philanthropic funding from HSBC and co-financing contributions from Accenture. The project’s remit includes the implementation of pilot NbS projects to develop eco-trails that support eco-tourism, as well as innovative food production practices such as the cultivation of salt-tolerant plants to support UAQ’s SBE strategy.

The UAQ Sustainable Blue Economy Office calls upon stakeholders and partners in all sectors to adopt and apply the upcoming guidelines to drive sustainable solutions and opportunities that protect the environment and ensure prosperous economic progress.

SBE Panel Discussion

H.H. Sheikh Majid bin Saud Al Mualla, Chairman of UAQ Tourism and Archaeology commented: “Today's announcement aligns seamlessly with the UAE's leadership, and climate ​and nature ​aspirations, establishing a firm foundation for the sustainable management of our invaluable marine and coastal ecosystems. We aspire to position Umm Al Quwain as a sustainable ecotourism hub that helps tackle climate, and safeguard biodiversity and nature. The initiative underscores our commitment to innovating pathways that advance sustainable and resilient economic development, and preserving our cultural heritage, while also laying the foundation for sustainable management of UAQ’s natural assets.”

H.E. Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy commented: “As we take concrete steps to fulfill the UAE’s commitments under the Paris Agreement and the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, we strive to build a future-focused economy that is founded on innovation and enterprises. The public-private partnership we witnessed at this event today exemplifies the spirit of collaboration required to build a nature-positive and climate-resilient economy.”

Laila Mostafa Abdullatif, Director General of Emirates Nature-WWF: “Emirates Nature-WWF is committed to advance Umm Al Quwain’s Sustainable Blue Economy Strategy 2031, which is underpinned by the conservation and sustainable management of the emirate’s natural ecosystems. Our work in Umm Al Quwain has yielded a wealth of insights into the emirate’s biodiversity-rich and pristine coastal areas, and aims to propel a new model for sustainable economic development that supports the long-term resilience of coastal and marine ecosystems. Scientific insight and sustained engagement with key sectors and local communities will form the cornerstone of testing NbS projects and designing guidelines that can help balance economic ambition with nature-positive outcomes.”

Mohamed Al Marzooqi, Chief Executive Officer of HSBC UAE: “We support the initiative by the Government of Umm Al Quwain, the UAE Ministry of Economy and Emirates Nature-WWF to develop common industry standards and guidelines that will encourage climate tech investment in Umm Al Quwain’s marine economy. In addition to the energy transition, halting nature loss is key to achieving net zero and at HSBC our aim is to remove barriers to help accelerate private capital into nature related projects. In 2021, we committed $100 million globally through our 5-year philanthropic Climate Solutions Partnership programme to scale up nature-based solutions and support innovations that protect and restore nature.”