Environment in Vision 2021
Creating and maintaining a sustainable environment and infrastructure is a pillar of National Agenda in line with Vision 2021. The UAE Government wants to ensure sustainable development while preserving the environment, and to achieve a perfect balance between economic and social development.
The UAE has set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure its performance against its targets of 2021. They are:
- Improving the air quality index
- Improving the percentage of treated waste of total waste generated
- Improving the share of clean energy contribution
- Decreasing the water scarcity index
- Improving the Networked Readiness Index (telecommunication and IT sectors)
- Improving the quality of air transport infrastructure
- Improving the quality of port infrastructure
- Improving the logistics performance index
- Improving the quality of overall infrastructure (such as transportation, electricity and telephone lines)
- Improving the online services index
- Decreasing the time taken to obtain a loan/house from the government for UAE citizens
In line with Vision 2021 and National Agenda, the UAE needs to generate 27 percent of the energy requirements from clean energy sources, reduce its per capita greenhouse gas emissions and achieve average oil consumption of 5 tonnes per person by 2021.
According to National Agenda, the share of power generation from gas will drop from 98 per cent in 2012 to less than 76 per cent in 2021 as clean energy - mainly renewable and nuclear energy - enter the mix, along with intensifying energy-efficiency efforts.
The vision sets five national targets related to clean energy, water availability and productivity, reduction of carbon emissions and energy intensity.
In October 2014, H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai launched a National Innovation Strategy with the aim of making the UAE one of the most innovative nations in the world within seven years. The strategy will stimulate innovation in seven sectors where innovation is key to excellence. Two of the sectors are renewable energy and transportation.
Its first phase includes 30 national initiatives to be completed within three years. These include new legislation, innovation incubators, investment in specialised skills, private sector incentives, international research partnerships and an innovation drive within government.
Ministry of Climate Change and Environment
During the structural change in February 2016, Sheikh Mohammed renamed Ministry of Environment and Water to Ministry of Climate Change and Environment; thus, officially bringing management of climate change within the scope of the ministry.
Sheikh Mohammed had tweeted that the goal of enhancing the portfolio of the ministry is to develop programmes, legislations and policies and oversee the maintenance of a clean environment for future Emirati generations.
Even before this structural change was made, the UAE was anyway taking many steps to conserve and preserve the environment. Passing legislations and holding awareness drives are one part of it. In the real sense, the UAE has done a lot more to develop a sustainable environment.
Ministry of Climate Change and Environment is the federal authority for environmental planning and action in UAE.
The ministry, in collaboration with the competent local authorities concerned with environment, work on developing environmental programmes and initiatives that aim to contribute to the sustainability of water, enhance food security, raise the rates of bio-security and enhance environmental security. The action plans of the ministry emerge from its vision to ensure sustainable environment for life.
The ministry also launched its National Environmental Education and Awareness Strategy 2015-2021. The strategy is based on six key objectives that were developed according to international standards and the expectations of the parties concerned. It is aimed at educating the youth of the UAE towards a sustainable future and strengthening the community's commitment to sustainability and environmental protection. The strategy also encourages the active participation of enterprises and economic sectors in moving towards environmental sustainability and educates governments and key stakeholders on environmental issues.
The ministry also launched National Climate Change Plan of the UAE 2017–2050 (PDF) which serves as a roadmap to bolster nationwide actions for climate mitigation. Through this plan, the UAE will further strive to be at the frontline of global efforts to prove that climate action can go hand in hand with continuous economic development. The document serves as a complementary plan of action that specifically addresses climate change.
In addition to the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, there is a competent authority for environmental protection in each emirate. They are:
Ministry of Energy & Industry
The UAE's Ministry of Energy & Industry is the federal entity that supervises the achievement of the security of energy supplies, in a sustainable manner. It also works on building up a strong foundation of regulations to govern the energy sector and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
There are four authorities that deal with water and electricity matters in the UAE. These are: