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Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi and TotalEnergies partner to conserve and restore coastal ecosystems in the emirate

Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi and TotalEnergies partner to conserve and restore coastal ecosystems in the emirate
2 July 2024 14:23

ABU DHABI (ALETIHAD)

In line with the Year of Sustainability and the Abu Dhabi Climate Change Strategy, Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) has partnered with TotalEnergies to launch a programme of conservation and restoration of coastal ecosystems to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

The agreement was signed by Her Excellency Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary-General of EAD, and Samir Oumer, President of TotalEnergies EP United Arab Emirates and Total Energies Country Chair in the UAE.

As part of this collaboration, EAD and TotalEnergies will research, monitor and evaluate Abu Dhabi’s coastal ecosystems and then develop guidelines, methodology, and cost-benefit options for restoring these habitats. The project will involve innovative technology and state-of-the-art restoration solutions, including ROOT – three-dimensional models that biomimic the root system of mangrove trees. These models aim to play a role similar to the roots of mangrove trees in mitigating currents, resisting wave action, and reducing beach erosion. In addition to attracting invertebrates and fish, the models will enhance the marine environment’s biodiversity. Drones and other technological advancements will be used to enhance the restoration’s success rates.


The outcome and achievements of the study developed as part of this partnership will form part of the reporting process for the UN Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life under water. Highlighting the importance of restoration for climate change mitigation, the preservation of biodiversity and socio-economic benefits, the outcome of the work will be shared globally, helping EAD and TotalEnergies to stand out in the international environmental community.


Under this initiative, EAD will involve key stakeholders, including its network of schools from the Sustainable Schools Initiative (SSI), to increase students' overall understanding of the importance of preserving coastal habitats and restoring Blue Carbon ecosystems and enhance their role as environmental leaders and advocates of the future.


To ensure the project resounds beyond the borders of the UAE, EAD, together with TotalEnergies, will organise an international conference on restoration and showcase the project’s achievements in a documentary film.


Her Excellency Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary-General of EAD, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with TotalEnergies as we begin implementing a pioneering programme to preserve and rehabilitate coastal ecosystems, which comes within the framework of our commitment to confronting climate change. The programme is aligned with the Abu Dhabi Climate Change Strategy, launched by EAD last year, and contributes more broadly to the strategic initiative to achieve both climate neutrality by 2050 and long-term environmental sustainability.”


Her Excellency emphasised the importance of this programme in enhancing the important role played by coastal ecosystems, such as mangroves, seaweeds and salt marshes, in mitigating climate change and their role in sequestering carbon dioxide, and supporting environmental and human well-being. They also help protect coasts, support biodiversity, and provide a range of social and economic benefits. Therefore, preserving and restoring these ecosystems is crucial, as in addition to their important role, they are also classified among the most threatened ecosystems on earth.


“Due to this importance and also as part of the Abu Dhabi Mangrove Initiative, we are honoured to partner with TotalEnergies which has shown its commitment to curbing climate change by joining forces with us on this initiative. Together, we will be able to research, monitor, conserve, restore and develop outreach and awareness campaigns to highlight the importance of these precious ecosystems.”


Samir Oumer, President of TotalEnergies EP United Arab Emirates and Total Energies Country Chair in the UAE, said: “The project will assess seasonal status and health of Abu Dhabi's costal ecosystems, analysing carbon sequestration rates and developing restoration guidelines, which will be applicable to local and regional coastal (Blue Carbon) ecosystems. This aligns with one of our foundation’s pillars, Climate, Coastal areas and Ocean. Furthermore, our commitment to the protection of our host region’s environment is illustrated by our project ROOT, an innovative and biomimetic solution for mangrove restoration.”


The project will also include details on the seasonal status and health assessments of coastal ecosystems following international best practices by sampling and analysing the carbon sequestration rate of coastal habitats in Abu Dhabi. Furthermore, restoration guidelines will be developed for stakeholders, consultants, corporate entities, and research communities, which will be applicable to local and regional coastal (Blue Carbon) ecosystems.

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