UAE, Abu Dhabi, 28 March 2023, The EU Ambassador to the UAE, HE Andrea Matteo Fontana, and a delegation of Ambassadors and representatives from 16 EU member states visited Jubail Mangrove Park in Abu Dhabi on Monday to take a stand against climate change by planting mangroves and raising awareness about the importance of these ecosystems.
The visit was organised by the EU Delegation to the UAE to highlight the crucial role of mangroves as a nature-based solution for mitigating climate change and support the UAE's ambitious initiative to plant 100 million mangroves by 2030. Additionally, the visit contributes to the efforts of the UAE led Mangrove Alliance for Climate. The visit also saw the participation of youth from the Arab Youth Center and the UAE Youth Climate Delegates.
The delegation was welcomed by HE Ahmed Al Hashmi, Executive Director - Terrestrial & Marine Biodiversity, Terrestrial & Marine Biodiversity of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD). The delegation was also joined by representatives from Jubail Island, including Eng. Abdullah Al Shamsi, Corporate Director, and Mohamed Hafez, Adventure Director.
The event came in line with the Abu Dhabi Mangrove Initiative that was launched in February 2022 during a meeting of His Highness Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, member of the Executive Council of Abu Dhabi and Head of the Abu Dhabi Executive Office, and His Royal Highness Prince William, at Jubail Island in Abu Dhabi. The Abu Dhabi Mangrove Initiative was established to provide a platform for the development of innovative mangrove planting solutions, while helping mitigate the effects of climate change, and raising awareness of mangroves’ importance and the need to restore them.
During the visit, the delegation were given a guided tour of Jubail Mangrove Park, where they learned more about the important role of mangroves in mitigating climate change. They also had the opportunity to plant several mangrove trees alongside youth participants.
"Mangroves have a carbon-storing superpower," said HE Andrea Matteo Fontana. "They absorb up to 10 times more carbon than a tropical rainforest. Mangroves are vital for our planet, and we are proud to support the UAE's efforts to protect and restore these crucial ecosystems."
The EU is committed to working with global partners to find sustainable solutions to climate change. The European Green Deal sets ambitious targets to make Europe climate neutral by 2050, while the EU's biodiversity strategy for 2030 aims to protect nature and reverse the degradation of ecosystems. The EU has also committed to planting at least 3 billion additional trees in the EU by 2030, in full respect of ecological principles.
As COP28 approaches, the EU is determined to work with the Emirati COP Presidency, the Youth Climate Champion, and global partners to find sustainable solutions to climate change. "Working together with international partners and youth is essential if we are to emerge from this climate crisis stronger," continued HE Andrea Matteo Fontana.
The visit to Jubail Mangrove Park highlights the importance of collective efforts in protecting and restoring mangrove ecosystems to mitigate climate change and achieve a sustainable future.
Ambassadors and representatives from EU member states included, HE Etienne Berchtold, Ambassador of the Republic of Austria, HE Jaan Reinhold, Ambassador of Estonia, HE Nicolas Niemtchinow, Ambassador of France, HE Osama Ibrahim Naffa, Ambassador of Hungary, HE Alison Milton, Ambassador of Ireland, HE Lorenzo Fanara, Ambassador of Italy, HE Atis Sjantis, Ambassador of Latvia, HE Robert Lauer, Ambassador of Luxembourg, HE Maria Camilleri Calleja, Ambassador of the Republic of Malta, HE Jakub Slawek, Ambassador of the Republic of Poland, HE Bogdan Octavian Badica, Ambassador of Romania, HE Natalia Al Mansour, Ambassador of the Republic of Slovenia, HE Liselott Andersson, Ambassador of Sweden, Mr. Douwe Buzeman, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Netherlands, Ms Katja Decker, Head of Press and Economic Affairs, Embassy of Germany, and Mr. Michal Florus, Commercial Counsellor, Embassy of the Czech Republic.