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UAE calls for peace and security in the Gulf region and the Middle East

posted on 04/09/2002: 1858 views

Johannesburg - The UAE yesterday called upon the international community to play an active role in achieving world security and peace, particularly in the Gulf region and the Middle East, according to international and UN resolutions. Delivering the UAE speech at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, WSSD, H.H. Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Fujairah and head of the country's delegation to the summit, asserted the importance of putting an end to all forms of occupation and illegal settlements as well as concentrating efforts towards preventing the use of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction and to declare the Middle East and the Gulf as an area free of such weapons.

He said that the past ten years since the Rio Summit had clearly showed that conservation of natural resources and achievement of sustainable development, which was agreed upon in Rio, called for concerted efforts in all countries of the world as well as all countries' commitment to the issue. He added that despite the commitments made in Rio, still there was poverty, desertification, drought, social problems, unemployment and debts in many developing countries. In addition to the occupation, aggression, and crimes committed against humans as was happening now in occupied Palestine. "All these are the main obstacles faced in the implementation on Agenda for the 21st century and the creation of a fair and just international socio-economic environment that supports the participation of developing countries and their integration in the implementation of strategies for sustainable development," he said.

Turning to the UAE's policies on sustainable development, Sheikh Hamad said the country had always recognised the importance of conserving the environmental resources, something that became one of the important bases in its environmental policies for the present and future generations. During the past three decades, he noted, the UAE has achieved major steps in sustainable development covering economic, social and environmental fields. The country sought to promote investments and diversify the sources of its national income to reduce dependency on oil industry as its only source of income. It also promoted environment-friendly industries.

Sheikh Hamad added that the UAE has devoted great interest to the development of health services and education at all levels. It has also given special attention to women's development in order to encourage their active participation in the process. He further pointed out that the UAE has provided financial and humanitarian aid to many countries of the world, especially the developing countries, thus contributing around 4 % of its GDP in form of loans and grants, of which 80 % were the form of grants for sustainable development.

In the field of environment, Sheikh Hamad said the UAE, under the leadership of President H.H Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, exerted enormous efforts towards developing many establishments concerned with environmental issues. "Special attention was given to promoting agriculture and combating desertification despite the hard climatic conditions and the scarcity of water resources, which considerably increased the area of cultivated land in the UAE,” said Sheikh Hamad. In order to emphasise its commitment to the principle of protection of the environment and achievement of sustainable development, the UAE finalised its National Environmental Strategy and the National Environmental Action Plan in accordance with agenda for the 21st century, he said. In line with this trend, many environmental initiatives were adopted at the international level such as the Zayed Environment Prize and the Abu Dhabi International Initiative for Collection of Environmental Data.

The UAE also signed many regional and international conventions that are concerned with climate, protection of the environment from pollution, and combating desertification. Underlining the commitment of countries towards environmental protection, Sheikh Hamad said that it was essential not to exert pressure on developing countries or enforce new commitments on them, as well as not to use the concepts of consumption patterns, production, globalisation and other concepts as reasons for interference with the sovereignty of these countries. "It is important not to use environmental considerations as reasons to prevent the entry of developing countries' products to the international market” said Sheikh Hamad, adding that it is also important to avoid the setting of timetables for alternative energy sources before looking into this matter carefully in order to prevent any failures that could cause hindrance to the world development. Sheikh Hamad also emphasised, in his speech, the right of all people to outer space and the right of every country to have its own programmes and scientific and peaceful research in outer space and to avoid any military control. (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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