Abu Dhabi, 7 July 2023: As part of efforts to protect natural rangelands and promote sustainable traditional grazing practices, the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) has begun issuing licenses to owners and breeders of livestock to regulate grazing and all related activities in Abu Dhabi.

The licensing policy has been introduced to ensure the recovery of vegetation cover and to promote the sustainability of biodiversity. It also gives the rangelands an opportunity for natural regeneration and ensures their continuity for future generations.

The issuance of licenses is conducted in accordance with the executive regulations of Law No. (11) of 2020 regarding the regulation of grazing in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, which was recently issued by EAD under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in Al Dhafra Region and Chairman of the Board of Directors of EAD, being the competent authority for environmental affairs in Abu Dhabi. The Agency is responsible for implementing this law, which aims to regulate grazing to protect natural ranfgelandsand promote sustainable traditional practices in coordination with the concerned authorities to promote management measures of protected areas and provide balance to critical natural habitats, while protecting plants from overgrazing.

To obtain a grazing license, the applicant must be over 21 years’ old, be a citizen of the United Arab Emirates, and hold a valid animal log wealth certificate approved by the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA).

Owners and breeders of livestock can apply to EAD for a license in accordance with the procedures and requirements specified by the Agency and after paying the prescribed fees. They must also attach a copy of the applicant’s identity card, and a copy of an approved and valid animal log wealth certificate stating that the applicant owns livestock and that it is registered in the Animal Identification and Registration System by the concerned authorities. The license applicant must identify the persons who will accompany and care for the livestock and provide a copy of their Emirates ID.

Licensees will be allowed to graze their livestock in open wild areas and should stay away at least 2km from protected areas, forests, residential, military, petroleum and private areas, and all roads and places with restricted access. Livestock are prohibited from grazing unaccompanied and the license is valid for one grazing season only.

Licensees must adhere to a number of environmental conditions, which include not introducing exotic plants, animals, or any harmful substances into the grazing areas. They must also not uproot, burn, transport, cut, destroy, log, remove, or collect plants or any part thereof in grazing areas, nor damage or harm the biodiversity or cause any damage to the local environment in the grazing areas.

They must also adhere to the permitted grazing seasons. The licensee must also consider the periods of suspension of grazing determined by EAD in coordination with the concerned authorities to ensure the sustainability of grazing areas. It is also prohibited to use bicycles, cars, or any type of vehicle or mechanism in grazing areas that affects the vegetation cover, and to transfer the grazing license to another person.

It is possible to apply for a grazing license through the website of the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi: www.ead.gov.ae, via the “Knowledge Hub” section. Applicants should select the “Resources” page and then download the “Grazing license application form”. Once the application is completed, please attach the required documents and send them to the e-mail: Customerhappiness@ead.gov.ae. Upon completion of the application, a link will be sent to the applicant to pay an amount of 250 dirhams, and upon receipt, an electronic copy of the grazing license will be issued and sent via e-mail to the applicant.

The Agency is appreciative of the contribution by livestock owners and their cooperation in implementing the grazing law and its executive regulations, as they are a key and strategic partner in supporting the efforts made by Abu Dhabi government (represented by EAD) in its capacity as the competent authority. The law enhances the Agency’s role in monitoring rangeland resources and rehabilitating vegetation in grazing areas to preserve grazing as a traditional inherited practice, documenting and preserving it according to scientific criteria.

The implementation of the decision also helps ensure the preservation of natural and cultural heritage through the sustainable use of resources, the preservation of natural wild desert plants and the reduction of soil degradation, thus supporting food security in the long term. It also helps ensure that sustainable traditional grazingand the unique relationship that humans have with the desert and its natural resources are preserved and protected for future generations.

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