CONSERVING FOR THE FUTURE
Sharjah's authorities have launched a number of initiatives to spread awareness of the need to preserve the Emirate's rich animal biodiversity, placing it at the forefront of conservation practices.
The UAE is home to an incredibly rich fauna, including 400 species of birds, 54 terrestrial species of reptiles, 23 species of mammals, and many more, mostly thanks to the country being on the crossroads of two major migratory routes. Sadly though, many of these species are in danger of extinction.
Besides a land of opportunity for business investors, Sharjah is increasingly becoming a safe haven for endangered animal species. The Emirate has long implemented a formidable environmentally friendly policy that favors biodiversity. The Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA) was established in the 90s by His Highness with the clear aim to protect wildlife and biodiversity while preserving natural resources through regulation. In this context, this year Sharjah has launched a number of animal conservation initiatives that are likely to place it in the spotlight of the environmental scene and to set an example for many to follow.
Sir Bu Nair, an island off the Coast North of Abu Dhabi but part of Sharjah, is one of the most highly protected areas of the UAE. The island, under EPAA, has also been listed as a potential UNESCO site thanks to its particularly rich biodiversity, which includes a spectacular coral reef, a treasure of marine life, and both native and migratory birds. In May 2016, Sir Bu Nair island hosted the 17th edition of its annual event, Sir Bu Nair Environmental Heritage Festival, one of the most important campaigns aimed at raising awareness of coastal and marine biodiversity conservation, and for two days the island's nature reserve was open to the public.
At the same time, Sharjah was also the protagonist of another major conservation initiative as part of the Museums Department's “Because We Care" social responsibility initiative. To mark World Turtle Day, a group of five endangered turtles were rehabilitated by marine biologists from the Sharjah Aquarium, before being released into the ocean at Hamriyah Beach. Manal Ataya, Director of Sharjah Museums Department, said these initiatives are aimed at spreading awareness among the community of the need to preserve Sharjah's extremely rich maritime heritage.
The marine environment is not the only target of the Emirate's environmental policies. This year also saw the inauguration of Al Hefaiyah Mountain Conservation Center, a 12sqkm conservation center and wildlife reserve in the Hajar Mountains, on the outskirts of Kalba City. These mountains were once home to more than 30 species that have been brought to the center, including the critically endangered Arabian Leopard, the Arabian wolf, the Striped Hyena, and the Arabian Tahr. Sadly, overgrazing by camels, aggressive hunting—now banned in the UAE—and other human-related activities have threatened the survival of these species, which are now almost extinct. However, Hana Saif Al Suwaidi, chairperson of EPAA, which led the project, explained to TBY that the aim is to offer these endangered species a safe haven to ensure their existence in the future. Trained guides are on hand to show visitors the reserve and answer questions about the wildlife. The center has golf carts to transport visitors around the large enclosures and see animals in their wild habitats.
These events, by engaging the population, especially young people, prove that Sharjah is on the right path, leading the way in raising awareness of environmental issues like biodiversity conservation. Only through suitable competency and most importantly through awareness and changing behavior will it be possible to avoid leaving future generations an inheritance of a natural environment damaged by the negligence of their forefathers.
CONSERVING FOR THE FUTURE
TABLE OF CONTENTS
HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Federal Supreme Council and Ruler, Sharjah
HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Federal Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, has been an inspiring leader of the Emirate since 1972, carefully watching over its development into the cultural capital of the Islamic world.read article
Sheikh Fahim Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Executive Chairman, Department of Government Relations
TBY talks to Sheikh Fahim Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Executive Chairman of the Department of Government Relations, on his department's role in coordinating the delivery of information to key stakeholders and the important part it plays in cultivating sustainable development.read article
HE Sultan Abdullah Bin Hadda Al Suwaidi, Chairman , Sharjah Economic Development Department
TBY talks to HE Sultan Abdullah Bin Hadda Al Suwaidi, Chairman of Sharjah Economic Development Department, on the resilience of Sharjah's economy and building on its well-diversified foundations.read article
HE Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman, Sharjah Media Corporation
TBY talks to HE Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Sharjah Media Corporation & Chairman of Sharjah Media Centre, on competitiveness in the sector, its influence on the other Emirates, and expectations for the future.read article
HE Waleed Al Sayegh, Director General , Sharjah's Finance Departmen
TBY talks to HE Waleed Al Sayegh, Director General of Sharjah's Finance Department & CEO of Sharjah Asset Management, on fiscal policy direction and initiatives being introduced to increase efficiency and transparency from the top down.read article
Dr. Rashid Al Leem, Chairman , Sharjah Energy and Water Authority (SEWA)
TBY talks to Dr. Rashid Al Leem, Chairman of Sharjah Energy and Water Authority (SEWA), on the challenges facing the Emirate's plan to reach 30% water re-use by 2020, and changing the attitudes through education.read article
Mohammed N. Al Hazzaa, Director General , Emirates Company for Industrial Cities (ECIC),
TBY talks to Mohammed N. Al Hazzaa, Director General of Emirates Company for Industrial Cities (ECIC), on the company's performance, government support of the private sector, and forecasting occupancy trends.read article
Focus: Reducing water and power consumption
Under Dr. Rashid Al Leem's stewardship, Sharjah is aiming to become the first City of Conservation. This principally encompasses supplying electricity and water through sustainable avenues with technological efficiency while raising awareness of sustainability practices.read article
Ted Young, Project Head, Al Zahia Communities Business Unit at Majid Al Futtaim Properties
TBY talks to Ted Young, Project Head of the Al Zahia Communities Business Unit at Majid Al Futtaim Properties, on the reasons behind the market's resilience and the future of housing demands in the Emirate.read article
Focus: Mixed-use Developments
Cities within Cities
Sharjah's real estate sector is undergoing important transformations, with the government and developers focusing on megaprojects to attract investors. For this purpose, mixed-use developments are increasingly preferred to purely residential or commercial developments.read article
Focus: Fighting Cardiac Disease
The UAE Ministry of Health has stated that over half of all deaths in the UAE are the result of four oft-occurring issues: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, road traffic accidents, and congenital abnormalities. A survey from the Emirates Cardiac Society showed that almost 9 in 10 Emiratis are at risk of heart disease, with one in three unaware of that fact.read article
HE Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman , Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA)
TBY talks to HE Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), on the growing tourism sector in the Emirate, its strategies to boost cruise tourism, and the incredible progress in Sharjah.read article
Manal Ataya, Director General , Sharjah Museums Department (SMD)
TBY talks to Manal Ataya, Director General of the Sharjah Museums Department (SMD), on cooperating on international exhibits, its educational festivals, and the challenge to ensure that museums are accessible to all.read article
Hanan Al Mahmoud, Director, Al Jawaher Reception & Convention Centre (JRCC)
TBY talks to Hanan Al Mahmoud, Director of Al Jawaher Reception & Convention Centre (JRCC), on the appeal of Sharjah as a MICE destination, plans for expansion, and the projected benefits of Expo 2020.read article