UAE population is around 4.1 million

ABU DHABI — The UAE’s Al Basama Al Beeiya (Ecological Footprint) has presented its first interim report, comprising population and energy data, to the Global Footprint Network (GFN), the country’s international partner for the initiative.


Silvia Radan

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Published: Sun 20 Apr 2008, 9:36 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 4:51 PM

According to Razan Al Mubarak, managing director of Emirates Wildlife Society — World Wide Fund for Nature (EWS-WWF), collecting data proved to be one of the biggest challenges of the Footprint so far.

“The fact that there is not a federal statistic bureau makes our work a lot harder and we have to collect all the information from many government and private institutions that have done data gathering for their own purpose,” said Mubarak, adding that, in turn, this initiative might trigger the establishment of necessary organisations such as a federal statistic office.

She also explained that all the data collected on the consumption of energy, water and all products related to the UAE environment such as fishery and greenery, is compared to the statistics done by international organisations and the most updated and accurate one will be used for the final report.

“For example, we found that the UAE population, both nationals and residents, was around 4.1 million, which is closer to the truth than a United Nation report that stated only 3 million,” Mubarak told Khaleej Times.

“Even this report, which was compiled in 2005, needs updating, specially since it doesn’t take into account tourists, who also consume,” she pointed out.

For this reason, EWS-WWF is planning to cooperate with countries like France and Switzerland “to see how they calculated the energy and water consumption of their tourists”.

“From a trade perspective, we also found out that about 80 per cent of the UAE’s imports are being re-exported and our major ports are acting as a stopover for products that are sent elsewhere in the Gulf or beyond. This important fact has never been recorded before and if the books showed, for example, that UAE imported one million cotton shirts, it meant that we consumed this much, when, in fact, about 800,000 shirts were re-exported elsewhere,” explained Mubarak.

The UAE is only the third country in the world to calculate its Ecological Footprint, after Japan and Switzerland.

The initiative was launched in October 18, 2007 and it is meant to be finalised by September this year, in order to be included in the international Living Planet Report.

The main institutions working with the project are the Ministry of Environment and Water, the Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative, EWS-WWF and GFN.

“This project is hugely important for the UAE not only because it will help us understand our consumption patterns, but we will also contribute, as a nation, to an international research in a field as vital as the environment,” stressed Mubarak.

Once the report is completed, EWS-WWF and its partners will come up with a set of solutions meant to reduce the human impact on the environment and contribute to the reverse of climate change.

”Our final aim is that these solutions will be adopted by the UAE authorities and implemented at the federal level,” concluded Mubarak.

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