The UAE Ministry of Environment and Water, in cooperation with organizers of the Desert Protection Campaign, recently organised a press conference at Meridian Hotel to announce the launch of the annual four-month-long campaign. To be held from January 2016 until April, it will see the participation of environment-specialized entities, school and university students, and nationals and residents of the UAE. In line with its efforts to protect the environment and ensure higher environmental awareness, the Ministry sponsored the campaign to underline its importance and contribute towards building a sustainable environment for the coming generations. All environment-related entities participated in the event, including the Department of Economic Development (DED), DP World, AlBaddad International, and National Paints.
Eng. Aisha Mohammed Al Abdooli, Director of the Ministry of Environment and Water’s Education and Awareness Department, said that the launch of the 8th Desert Protection Campaign is a testimony of its tremendous success which reflects people’s care for the UAE’s environment and their dedication to conserve it. This is especially true for the deserts which holds an important place in the mind of Emirati people and is an integral part of the country’s natural environments, heritage and style of living in the past, present and future.
Eng. Al Abdooli added that the Ministry is committed to support all ecological initiatives aimed at increasing environmental awareness in line with the requirements to implement
the National Environmental Education and Awareness Strategy. She pointed out that education and awareness are the two key pillars of environmental conservation and development policies which highly rely on one’s education, awareness, choices and actions as individuals and groups towards the environment and natural resources.
Eng. Al Abdooli stated that the efforts to protect the environment would be complete only through joint efforts and engagement of all members of the society because the conservation of wild areas is considered a common national responsibility. She emphasized on the need to strengthen cooperation amongst specialized entities in the UAE to develop the desert environment through various means such as educational awareness, cleaning programs, and campaigns.
Arif Ali Al Abbar, Chairman of the campaign, said, "The campaign comes in response to the directives of H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and his Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to preserve the environment, especially our deserts as they hold treasures and history reflective of our culture. Through this campaign, we aim to enhance and make people more aware of UAE culture—educating them on the importance of keeping our environment clean and free from any harmful materials to humans or animals in the desert. "
The Desert Protection Campaign will feature a series of seminars, workshops and educational discussion panels through recreational activities such as horseback and motorcycle rides. In addition, it will organize tours on cars and cycles to visit various camps and other tourist destinations across the country to increase awareness.
The Campaign will take part in desert-based events and activities being held in the UAE, such as the Dubai Crown Prince Endurance Festival in Dubai International Endurance City, Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan International Endurance Festival in the Bou Theib Endurance Village, Al Marmoum Camel Racing in Dubai, UAE Awafi Festival, and Liwa International Festival in Moreeb Dune. It will also visit schools and universities
as part of its activities aimed at instilling environmental awareness in the younger members of the community.