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Abu Dhabi initiative set for South Africa launch

posted on 09/07/2002: 1626 views

The Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency (ERWDA) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) will sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to form a mechanism for the launch of Abu Dhabi Global Initiative on Environmental Data Collection at the forthcoming Earth Summit in South Africa. Dr Daniel Van R. Classen, Chief of Early Warning Branch and Deputy Director of the Division of Early Warning and Assessment at UNEP, said the draft for the MoU is ready for formal signing, according to a report in "Gulf News.”

Dr Classen, head of a four-member UNEP team, was on a three-day visit to the capital to provide technical assistance and discuss the mechanism for the launch of the Abu Dhabi Initiative at "World Summit for Sustainable Development", in Johannesburg, South Africa, from August 26 to September 4. He was accompanied by Kaveh Zahedi, Latin America Regional Coordinator at Division of Early Warning and Assessment. The UNEP official said the Abu Dhabi Initiative will prove to be a great help to many environmental agencies around the world, and key instrument for the early warning and assessment system for the country and the region. The dialogue, which was organised by the Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency (ERWDA) and attended by international and local experts in May, stressed the need to adopt this initiative to fill the widening gap in the availability, quality coherence, standardisation and accessibility to environmental data.

Dr Classen added that UAE is a good experimenting ground for environmental data collection and initiatives. He said joint initiatives by different emirates in the Federation confirm the potential partnership that could be formed at regional levels elsewhere to help decision-makers dealing with environment. "The UAE data and its Abu Dhabi Initiative will also be a great source for decision-makers dealing with environment issues in the region," the UNEP official said. The Abu Dhabi Initiative was discussed and prepared following concerns raised in the Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI) released at the World Economic Forum in February in New York by the Centre for Earth Science Information Network of Columbia University and Centre for Environmental Law and Policy of Yale University.

According to the 142-nation study released at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, Finland, leads the world in environmental sustainability, and ranks the U.S. 51st, showing that a nation's economic status does not always correspond to its ESI performance. The UAE ranked last. The participants at the Abu Dhabi meeting also discussed the Abu Dhabi Global Initiative on Environmental Data Collection, including the formulation of an Environmental Achievement Index. Referring to his experience during his first visit to Abu Dhabi, Dr Classen said he was extremely impressed by the infrastructure and greenery. (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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