As part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), which will run concurrently to the 2016 edition of the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) from 18 – 21 January, Sharjah’s Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA) has announced that it will be using its participation to showcase its eco-tourism destination – the Wasit Wetland Centre.
The EPAA is Sharjah’s dedicated authority for legislating on and upholding environmental directives and policies, and has oversight on all related activities in the UAE’s northern emirate.
The Wasit Wetland Centre was recently inaugurated by HH Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, as part of His Highness’ directive to develop and invigorate eco-tourism in the emirate.
During WFES 2016, EPAA officials will meet with visitors to promote its activities in the protected areas of the emirate and highlight the essential role it plays in biodiversity conservation.
As part of its participation, the authority will also screen informative films about the role it has been playing in protecting endangered animals and plants.
Speaking ahead of the summit, HE Hana Saif Al Suwaidi, Chairperson of the Sharjah EPAA, said: “The World Future Energy Summit is one of the world’s most important events for discussing issues related to renewable energy, clean technology and energy efficiency industries. We look forward to taking full advantage of our participation by presenting the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, for preserving the emirate’s natural resources and supporting the principles of sustainable development.”
Al Suwaidi further noted that “WFES 2016 will serve as a platform for bringing together the major players in the environment industry to share their experiences in the field of biodiversity and to understand how they can help support shared principles for better environmental conservation.”
While the directives of the EPAA are clearly outlined, public awareness among citizens, residents and visitors to the UAE will also be crucial in enabling the authority’s regulations to be upheld.
In 2015, for example, the EPAA was working closely to engage communities and promote regulations regarding the prohibition of drawing, inscribing and engraving on rocks, mountains and natural formations in the mountain areas.
“The prohibition of any damage or movement of rocks and mountain plants is a not simply an arbitrary regulation, but is one that has a significant role to play in protecting finely balanced eco-systems,” Al Suwaidi said.
In terms of Sharjah’s eco-tourism drive, lovers of camping and sand dune bashing will be pleased to note that the EPAA has allocated the Al Kahif area as a camping site, with plots soon to be made available for renting from September to May every year.
“When we specify limited areas for desert sports activities, we do so by seeking to minimise any possibility for wildlife destruction, thereby protecting areas of flora and fauna and their symbiotically important ecological roles in preserving a sustained natural environment,” concluded Al Suwaidi.
While the EPAA prefers to set out an engaging communications agenda, since 2012 the authority has acted by fining more than 4,000 persons in relation to acts of environmental degradation in wildlife areas.
The World Future Energy Summit (WFES) has become an internationally recognised platform for the discussion of sustainable development and a pillar of the renewable energy industry.
Bringing together more than 32,000 experts and representatives from renowned international organisations and companies in the sustainable energy industry, manufacturers of environmental technology, academics and industry experts are eager to address the commonly interconnected challenges of economic development, energy and climate change.