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EAD official hails the united support of the UAE people for Bu Tinah

posted on 13/11/2011: 2611 views



Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary General of the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) has congratulated the residents of the UAE on their united support for the Bu Tinah campaign, calling it a resounding success in its bringing-together of the nation to champion local biodiversity protection and raise the UAE's environmental profile on the international stage. Bu Tinah was voted by people around the world into the top 14 of the global competition.

The campaign, which concluded yesterday (11th November) garnered unprecedented support from members of the ruling families, ministers from the UAE Federal Cabinet, local celebrities and sportspeople, marine enthusiasts, motorcycle clubs, students, school children and more, unifying residents from all walks of life across the nation During the campaign, the Bu Tinah campaign, led by EAD, visited universities, schools, public exhibitions and events. Hundreds of thousands of UAE residents came together to show their support with an estimated 70,000 members of the public flocking to the Bu Tinah Experience on the Abu Dhabi Corniche, to experience the beauty of the island via a modern interactive exhibition.

Highlights of the campaign included visits to the Bu Tinah Experience visitor centre by a number of members of the Ruling Families from across the UAE and senior government leaders, including the entire UAE Federal Cabinet. Earlier this month, motorcycle enthusiasts organised a tour of the UAE and selected malls, designed to raise awareness of Bu Tinah and encourage members of the community to vote. Al Jazira FC and Al Wasl FC players voted for Bu Tinah at a match played on November 2nd to show their support. A number of children organised Bu Tinah Days in their schools.

The campaign also flourished online, with 60,000 individuals registering as fans on the Bu Tinah Facebook page. Bu Tinah was also regularly featured as one of the top 10 subjects being discussed on Twitter in the UAE.

A survey of UAE residents has revealed that the overwhelming majority believe it has helped raise awareness of the country's natural heritage, and that it has also motivated them to lead more environmentally-friendly lifestyles. 94% say the campaign has educated them about the environment. 88% reported that the Bu Tinah campaign has helped them think about the environment and what they can do to help it, while 93% say they will now do more to look after it.

Commenting on the 20-month long campaign, Al Mubarak said: "It is fitting that, as we approach the 40th anniversary of our beloved nation, that Bu Tinah has served to unite the residents of the UAE and beyond in appreciation of our nation's natural heritage and its importance on the global stage".

Al Mubarak continued: "More than 13 million people across the region have been touched by this campaign, which has succeeded in creating a groundswell of public interest in, and support for the protection of, our unique and important environment".

She praised President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces and Honorary Chairman of EAD His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and the Ruler's Representative in the Western Region and Chairman of EAD H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan for their unlimited and unwavering support for the Bu Tinah campaign.

The N7W competition was created to celebrate the planet's natural beauty and foster greater appreciation of the earth's fragile environment. Bu Tinah Island was announced as one of 28 global finalists in the contest in March 2010, shortlisted from an original list of 447 natural sites around the world.

Bu Tinah, located around 130 km west of Abu Dhabi, is a unique island and a core area of the Marawah Marine Biosphere Reserve - the first marine biosphere reserve in the region. Being a protected area, it is not open for public visits. This helps its inhabitants live and flourish in peace. In spite of the harsh temperatures and salinity, its habitats and species, including mangroves, dolphins and the Socotra Cormorant bird, continue to thrive, making the island an important location and living lab for climate change studies. The Island is also home to one of the world's densest populations of dugongs, a gentle seal-like mammal that grazes on seagrass.

The Vote Bu Tinah campaign was launched under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler's Representative in the Western Region and Chairman of EAD. - Emirates News Agency, WAM

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