During Sharjah World Championship Week 2019
December 19, 2019: The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) along with the EPAA has organized an environmental initiative in Sharjah aimed at afforesting the desert in the emirate’s El Mentether area. The initiative forms part of SCTDA’s efforts to support activities that protect national environmental resources and maintain their sustainability. These initiatives are in line with the vision of UAE’s leadership and the directives of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.
The initiative was launched in partnership with the Environment and Protected Areas Authority and UIM F1H2O, in cooperation with Al Batayeh Municipality and Sharjah Police. This initiative was launched on the sidelines of Sharjah World Championship Week, and in support of the global afforestation program adopted by Union International Motonautique (UIM) aimed at protecting the environment and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
It was held in the presence of His Excellency Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of SCTDA; H.E. Hana Saif Al Suwaidi, Chairperson of the Environment and Protected Areas Authority; H.E. Ali Salem Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Airport Authority and Chairman of Sharjah International Marine Sports Club; senior officials and organizers of the Sharjah Championship Week, managers of the participating teams, administrators, and several international competitors participating in the event, and several members of official delegations from Thailand and China who are visiting the emirate. 120 trees were planted of types well known in the region, the Ghaf tree, the Arak and the Sidr.
His Excellency Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of SCTDA said: “The initiative aims to restore the environmental balance in desert areas in the UAE in a way that enhances the preservation of the whole ecosystem. The afforestation scheme also plays a valuable part in counteracting the negative effects of carbon emissions while reducing desertification and contributing to the preservation of wildlife, especially rare and endangered animals and plants, thereby restoring some part of an ecological balance. Moreover, the initiative aims to strengthen the culture of environmental awareness among segments of society and encourage people to adopt initiatives that improve other aspects of the environment through programs related to afforestation and agriculture as purposeful social actions to protect natural resources as well as various communities. The emirate’s natural environment is a key component of the our tourism strategy, attracting visitors from around the world and is known for offering diverse landscapes and experiences through adventures and entertainment, making Sharjah an ideal destination for a wide range of leisure activities, whether it is in the desert, mountains or sea”.
He noted: 'Such initiatives are organized by Sharjah as it increases awareness about the environment and about the value of afforestation of deserts as protecting and maintaining the sustainability of the environment is a national priority.' He further emphasized that “SCTDA adopts such measures as part of the Authority’s CSR programme and will continue to support social, and environmental initiatives and promote sustainable growth through effective partnership and collaboration among government and private sectors in Sharjah and the UAE which support these campaigns and national initiatives which has a long term social, cultural, economic and environmental impact.”
Commenting on the initiative, H.E. Hana Saif Al Suwaidi, Chairperson of the Environment and Protected Areas Authority, noted: “We commend the F1 Team and the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority for their initiative to implement an afforestation campaign in El Mentether area. In the reserve, following the vision and directives of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, it complements the operations and afforestation campaigns being implemented by the Environment and Protected Areas, including a campaign which targets to raise awareness among students in Sharjah’s schools, employees in public and private institutions, as well as charitable agencies.”
She added: 'Such campaigns contribute to achieving the vision and directives of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah concerning preservation of desert areas and in strengthening the culture of environmental protection. The campaign further spreads awareness about protecting Sharjah’s environment as well as about developing the El Mentether area, which was discovered in 2007. It features a natural desert, inhabited by lots of trees, grass and wild plants and is an appropriate environment for camels and livestock and some wild animals such as the oryx among others, extending over nine square kilometers and accommodating about a million and a quarter of a million of Ghaf and Sidr trees, respectively. It is also considered as an integrated natural reserve, home to trees and wild plants.”
SCTDA’s initiative serves to emphasize the need to preserve the natural environment including the desert which is the largest area in the emirate, increase of environmental awareness, develop partnerships with various segments of society to hasten environmental action, and promote sustainable eco-tourism and enhance the elements supporting its growth and sustainability.”
Al Suwaidi concluded: “The desert is a tourism hotspot in the UAE popular among citizens, residents and tourists as a great place to visit for recreation. It promotes environmental tourism which is a key element in the growth of a green economy based on environmental protection, resource sustainability, and the preservation of natural and cultural heritage. It also opens opportunities to promote environmental education and increase awareness among the general population about their environment.”