ABU DHABI, 10th February, 2022 (WAM) — H.H. Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Office, today met Prince William at Jubail Mangrove Park in Abu Dhabi.
During the meeting, Sheikh Khaled and Prince William discussed their work on globally impactful sustainability initiatives. Their Highnesses were briefed on Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi’s (EAD’s) ongoing work to protect the environment and enhance biodiversity and the Abu Dhabi Mangrove Initiative. The initiative marks Prince William’s visit, aiming to establish the emirate as a leading global centre for research and innovation on mangrove conservation and resilience.
The initiative, which will be implemented by EAD and has formed its first partnership with conservation charity the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) – of which Queen Elizabeth II is patron – will provide a platform for innovation in mangrove research, climate change mitigation, and community engagement. It will also see a state-of-the-art mangrove nursery established in Abu Dhabi as a research, learning, and outreach centre.
The initiative will enable the mass scaling of mangrove recovery as a key nature-based solution to biodiversity and climate crises through research and innovation. These areas will provide sources of connection to nature, carbon stores, havens for biodiversity and sustainable incomes for local communities.
The partners will also build a joint programme of research support on the assessment of blue carbon storage in different regional ecosystems and support the translation of science into policy practice, as well as collaborate on developing standardised assessment methods across habitats (mangroves, reefs, seagrasses) that allow comparison of datasets.
The Abu Dhabi Mangrove Initiative’s efforts to enhance mangrove resilience include developing cutting edge genetic and planting methods to breed resilient strains. ZSL will support these endeavours by field testing different approaches. Using the Abu Dhabi Mangrove Initiative as the centre, ZSL will work with nurseries developed within regions and foster the direct exchange of expertise between centres to build knowledge and expertise.
The programme will also develop outreach, training, and advocacy for mangrove restoration in local contexts and global networks.
While at the park, Their Highnesses spent time with several school students, with whom they planted mangrove saplings, and discussed the importance of young people’s commitment to sustainability efforts, now and in the future.
Jubail Mangrove Park opened in January 2020 to help protect biodiversity, raise awareness of the emirate’s rich mangrove ecosystem, and showcase its natural heritage.
The park is home to various birds, land, and marine wildlife. It features two kilometres of the boardwalk, where visitors can learn about the important ecological function of mangrove habitats in protecting and supporting biodiversity.
Mangroves are coastal, intertidal forests that play a vital role in protecting coasts from storms and floods. They also provide a habitat for wildlife and regulate climate change, capturing more than four times the carbon of tropical forests.