Under the patronage and attendance of H.E. Saeed Ahmed Ghobash, Chancellor of the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), the UAEU organized during 5-7 November 2018 the 3rd International Conference on Managing the Health of the Gulf Ecosystem. The three-day conference was held at the UAEU campus in Al Ain in the presence of H.E. Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, H.E. Mohammed Albaili, UAEU Vice Chancellor, and a number of researchers, faculty members and students with the participation of 60 scholars from more than 15 countries.
H.E. Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi stressed that the impact of climate change is one of the world’s most pressing concerns. This issue has caused increasingly negative effects including global warming, causing massive forest fires in California, and the worst floods in Kerala.
He added: "The impact of climate change and global warming is stronger on seas and oceans and their diverse ecological environment. One of the major effects of this problem is its negative impact on the major coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass areas as marine organisms are vital to ensure the sustainability of these ecosystems".
H.E. Dr. Al Zeyoudi said, "Thanks to its wise leadership, the UAE has realized these negative impacts and worked with all UAE institutions to launch initiatives and implement projects that protect the environment in general and the marine life in particular and ensure the sustainability of its biological diversity and natural resources. During the 13th Conference of The Parties of Ramsar Convention on Wetlands hosted by the UAE, the first map of the marine and coastal habitats covering 780 km2 along the UAE’s coastline and identifying 17 types of marine habitats was announced.
He added, "The ministry in coordination with local entities launched several initiatives to support marine habitats and develop coastal areas, including growing 30000 mangroves and the expanding coral gardens".
He praised the role the UAEU plays in the aspects of academic and research with the aim of preserving the marine ecosystem of the Gulf region.
H.E. Prof. Albaili explained, "UAEU, the National University and the UAE Flagship University, has a distinguished international research position as it works with its partners to provide innovative solutions on areas of interest to face regional and international challenges. This conference is the result of the 12-year collaboration between the UAEU and the Aquatic Ecosystem Health and Management Society (AEHMS). These efforts by the UAEU reflect the UAE's keenness to address the major environmental problems facing the Gulf ecosystem through sharing scientific knowledge among international and regional experts".
"The future vision adopted by UAEU stems from the UAE leadership’s vision to ensure environmental sustainability by protecting it, in accordance with the UAE vision of 2021 to achieve sustainable environment in terms of air quality, conservation of water resources, increased reliance on clean energy and implementation of green development”, added Prof. Albaili.
"The efforts we make to address environmental challenges demonstrate our commitment to our responsibilities, and our actions will play an important role in improving the future generations’ life. This conference enhances our role in addressing environmental challenges and contributing to establishing developmental plans and actions."
The conference, organized by the Biology Department of the College of Science at UAEU in collaboration AEHMS, addressed a number of topics including the challenges the Gulf region ecosystem faces such as climate change, invasive species and coastal alterations, examining water quality and its conformity with global environmental standards, the red tide phenomenon and harmful algae, the sources and impacts of pollution, fisheries and fish farming.
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