Also present on the occasion were His Highness Eng. Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Head of the Tourism Development Department of Abu Dhabi, and other dignitaries.
Abdul Rehman Al Midfa, UAE – Minister of Health, said that the UAE has become a role model for all countries in the region in the field of environmental protection and this progress has been made thanks to the efforts of Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Late President of the UAE through his endeavours to enhance the environmental conditions for wildlife while enabling the UAE to emerge as one of the leading countries as regards environmental protection. Al Midfa also emphasised the parallel support provided by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE who has undertaken to further build on the massive infrastructure projects initiated by Sheikh Zayed decades ago.
Al Midfa said “Sustainable transportation remains the main focus of this conference and is considered one of the main issues that is facing the countries of the region as per the UN Report for 2002”. Al Midfa noted that the UAE has always considered environmental protection as the main pillar of its future policies and holding events such as ENVIRONMENT 2005 will enhance and strengthen co-operation between governmental and private sectors in the region.
Al Midfa said that most of the western countries have worked steadily to bridge the gap between sustainable development and protection of the environment by maintaining stability between the needs of the current and future generations. Nevertheless environmental concerns are rising due to the massive levels of development the industry is witnessing as a whole. Al Midfa stressed that developed countries have a responsibility towards developing and under0developed countries and are required to transfer the latest technologies and exchange expertise and models to enable developing countries to utilise new developments in a proactive manner.
Midfah explained that the UAE has been able to in the last few years develop a sustainable model, which is focussed on delivering to the expectations of the leaders of the UAE in becoming the region’s hub for business, transportation and environmental leadership. The UAE has managed to so away with doing away with leaded fuel. The UAE also strives to establish international cooperation with all related parties and managed to launch the international summit on Sustainable Development in 2002.
Dr. Klaus Toepfer, United National Under Secretary General and Executive Director of UNEP said that the UN is determined to develop co-operation between all regions and considered the exhibition in Abu Dhabi as a prime opportunity to highlight the most pressing issues that the region is being affected by as well as a great venue to exchange points of view. He added that the UAE, thanks to the policies of Sheikh Zayed, has managed to sustain the massive development.
Ambassador Anwarul Chowdhury, UN Under – Secretary General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States commended the UAE’s efforts at reducing environmental risks in the region and in particular the role that His Highness Sheikh Khalifa has played in this regard through his patronage of this event.
He affirmed that the conference holds a great deal of importance because it tackles a sensitive issue linked to massive development, trade and economic growth that the world has witnessed lately. Ambassador Chowdhury considered 2005 to be a focal point that will introduce many regional and international programmes aimed at reducing the side-effects environmental pollution including the UN memorandum on Sustainable Transportation.
H. E. Margaret Wolf, Vice Minister and Parliamentary State Secretary from Germany expressed her amazement at the massive development that the UAE has seen lately saying that the UAE is a great model for modern urban development and environmental harmony. She remarked that Abu Dhabi was like an oasis in the desert despite the harsh and challenging weather. She added that she would invite international organisations and specialised interest groups to visit the UAE so they can learn from Abu Dhabi, which has emerged as a role model for all new cities of the world.
Mr. Adrian Loader, Director Strategic Planning, Sustainable Development and External Affairs at Shell International said that Shell is planning to invest between US$ 5 and US$ 6 billion to establish special production facility in Qatar that will introduce new types of fuel that have low percentages of lead carbon content. He added that Shell and other international companies possess the know-how and technology that can provide better solutions that reduce environmental risks especially in the transportation sectors where it is expected that by 2030 international consumption of auto fuel will reach around 18 million barrels per day.
ENVIRONMENT 2005 is organised by the General Exhibitions Corporation (GEC) and Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency (ERWDA). The international organising partner for ENVIRONMENT 2005 is Messe IMAG. Running in parallel with the exhibition, a scientific conference is also taking place under the theme “Sustainable Transportation in Developing Countries”.
Monday, January 31- 2005 @ 17:21 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.