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Sharjah serves as model in environmental leadership
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 05 - 06 - 2021

Guided by the vision and directives of Dr. Sheikh Sultan Bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council member and ruler of Sharjah, the Emirate of Sharjah has been taking relentless and extraordinary steps, to cement its global reputation in the field of environmental conservation and preservation of biological diversity.
The emirate has become a role model in environmental innovation and sustainability and has several achievements to its credit, thanks to the constant attention and personal involvement of the ruler of Sharjah.
On June 5 each year, the United Nations celebrates World Environment Day, to spread the culture of environmental preservation among all inhabitants of the planet and making them aware of their responsibility to check wrong ecological practices.
Under the directives and guidelines of the ruler of Sharjah, the emirate has made qualitative leaps in the field of the environment, through the establishment of natural reserves, the launch of various environmental projects and initiatives, and the support of studies that suggest ways of preserving environmental diversity and finding radical solutions to protect the animal and plant cover.
Represented by the Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA), Sharjah has developed an infrastructure partnership at the national and regional levels.
This is exemplified by a set of joint scientific and field plans and studies that have been adopted to preserve endangered species and exchange information on empirical methods for establishing natural reserves, and rehabilitating, developing and preserving ecosystems.
Hana Al Suwaidi, chairperson of EPAA, said, "Under the directives of Dr. Sheikh Sultan Bin Muhammad Al Qasimi the emirate has played a pivotal role in preserving the environmental cover and preserving its biological diversity by giving the environment the highest attention and by creating natural reserves and benefitting from the experiences of top experts and researchers in this field."
She added, "Sharjah has registered many achievements in the field of protecting biological diversity, and has launched many research studies and projects to preserve its ecosystems. The ruler of Sharjah has been keen to protect and preserve the emirate's environment, biodiversity and wildlife and check its erosion."
The EPAA chairperson stressed, "The celebration of World Environment Day promotes global awareness of the need to preserve the environment by checking wrong and harmful ecological practices such as the use of toxic chemicals, and unhealthy waste disposal."
The EPAA chief pointed out that during the past few years, the emirate has taken huge in environmental protection and preservation of its biological diversity. A number of projects have been launched and many research studies have been conducted over the past few years.
Over the past few years, Sharjah has succeeded in the first experiment to breed the Arabian Kingfisher bird, and to explore the first nesting of Olive Ridley sea turtles in the mangrove reserve of Kalba, which is the first nesting of this species in the UAE. The emirate has also initiated the study of the nesting of hawksbill turtles in the Sir Bu Na'ir Island. The emirate has also completed work on the coral reef cultivation project on Sir Bu Nair Island and Hamriyah Coast.
Sharjah has also been keen to protect and breed the traditional wildlife of the Arabian Peninsula region, including the Arabian leopard, the Arabian Oryx, the Reem gazelle, the Arab tahr, the Egyptian eagle and other endangered animals. Sharjah is home to as many as 15 nature reserves, including two marine reserves and 13 land reserves.
The emirate has also successfully helped the reproduction of many endangered organisms. Dr. Sheikh Sultan inaugurated the Khor Kalba Mangrove Center earlier this year. Al Buhais Geological Park and Al Dhaid Wildlife Centre were opened in 2020.
Al Suwaidi pointed out that the EPAA has undertaken several community environment awareness programs, including the Afforestation of Al-Muntather Reserve campaign, which is held annually to increase the green areas cover and emphasize the importance of indigenous plants and achieve sustainability in wildlife areas.
The EPAA has also undertaken campaigns to raise awareness about the mountain environment and the need to preserve it.
The authority also organizes cleaning campaigns in various areas in the Emirate such as beaches, desert and mountain areas, in addition to organizing various educational workshops and lectures for school students and visitors, and educational programs such as the "Together for a Beautiful Summer" and the "Desert Spring Park."
The EPAA participates in various exhibitions and events held in the UAE to spread awareness, in addition to participating in global environmental celebrations such as Earth Hour and World Animal Day and other events that address the most important environmental issues to educate the community.
The EPAA also hosts the Sharjah Sustainability Prize, which is an annual environmental award conferred on creative individuals and students from schools and universities for their contribution to distinguished projects providing sustainable environmental solutions to environmental challenges.
Sharjah is working to offer guidance and leadership in environmental protection work and build a system of effective partnerships, to achieve sustainable development and to increase efforts to protect the environment, wildlife and biological diversity in their natural environment and habitats. — WAM

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