The Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) has won the 3rd Arab Organization for Social Responsibility Award for outstanding environmental initiatives in recognition of the Authority’s remarkable development projects in environment protection, most notably the Kalba Eco-tourism Project which was launched in collaboration with the Sharjah Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPPA), and is considered as the largest ecotourism project in the UAE and the entire region.
HE Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO of Shurooq, received the golden trophy and the Certificate of Excellence from the President of Tatweej Academy for Excellence Awards 2014 in the Arab Region, Mr. Pierre Moukarzel, during the annual award ceremony which was held at Al Murooj Rotana Dubai. A number of entities and organisations were honoured in recognition of their outstanding performance in social responsibility. The ceremony was attended by VIPs, business leaders, and special guests from across the Arab countries.
The award highlights outstanding environmental initiatives launched and supported by public and private sectors in member countries of the Arab League. These initiatives include smart building concepts, the rational use of energy, green urban development, beach clean-ups, greenhouse gas reduction, and carbon emission solutions.
Launched by His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, in May 2012, the Kalba Eco-tourism Project Development was highly recognised by the judging panel, due to its outstanding contribution to preserving natural resources and protecting the environment and wildlife. The project is situated in Kalba, an exclave of the emirate of Sharjah lying along the UAE – Oman border, 15 kilometres to the south of Fujairah.
HE Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal stated that Shurooq places the environment at the forefront of its strategic objectives in its various projects under development or management. “This attention to the environment is a matter of course in all our activities in order to preserve the environment of the Emirate and the UAE and to maintain the achievements made under the leadership of His Highness Ruler of Sharjah and the directives of Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority,” he said. “As part of its corporate social responsibility and its commitment to promote the emirate’s unique tourist attractions, the Authority is striving to preserve the country’s rich environmental legacy and develop projects that serve the interests of the nation, while providing a new tourist destination,” he clarified.
He added, “The Kalba Eco-tourism Project was sure to be highly received by ecotourism enthusiasts in the world as it will offer a numerous facilities and activities and will be a destination of choice for natural beauty lovers in the region. Through this project, Shurooq aims to protect natural life in the region and contribute to sustainable development.” He continued: “This award will inspire us to pioneer more initiatives in environment protection such as utilising solar energy in power generation for lights in some of our leisure and tourist facilities. We will continue our efforts in waste recycling and using environment friendly materials in addition to the environment protection campaigns which we are planning to carry out in collaboration with our partners and visitors of our various facilities.”
The three-phase project is expected to be completed in six years. The first phase is currently under way and will see the redevelopment of Al Hafiya and Al Qurm. As part of the project, endangered animals and birds has been released in the conservation area, and archaeological sites within the area will be restored.
The second phase of the project will involve the development of Kalba Creek and the construction of a commercial complex, in addition to developing recreational spaces for visitors. The project also envisages the development of a number of islands in the creek, as well as rehabilitation of their natural environments.
The third phase of the project will focus on tourism and will witness 300 rooms spanning hotels and lodges overlooking the Gulf of Oman being built in line with eco-friendly standards. An art centre and marine hobbies and diving centre will be built, and exploration expeditions to Kalba Creek and the Mangroves will be organised for visitors.
Through this project, Shurooq aims to significantly reduce environmental degradation, save endangered species, maintain biodiversity, and develop ecotourism sector in the country, as this sector is one of the latest tourism attractions in the world. Shurooq is committed to social responsibility, towards its employees, the community, and the environment in its various projects. This commitment has been apparent through a number of initiatives aimed at improving living conditions of people, create jobs, improve services, and preserve environment for better community and sustainable future. Established in 2009, Shurooq strives to encourage investment in the emirate of Sharjah by adopting the best international standards in providing quality services that help attract investors from the region and the world.
Shurooq’s key mission is to provide facilities and incentives to help overcome obstacles facing investment activities in the Emirate, evaluate tourism and investment related infrastructure projects, and lay down the necessary plans to complete such projects. In recognition of its overall accomplishments, Shurooq has been named The Banking Awards 2013 – FDI Agency of the Year in the MENA region in The European’s Global Banking and Finance Awards.
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Yousef Al Taweel
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