The event, which kicked off on Saturday, was organised by the Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Department (DNRD) in cooperation with the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep), Emirates Diving Association and BP, under the patronage of General Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Minister of Defence.
"Organising such activities is part of the prime concerns of the UAE under the leadership of the President, His Highness Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. It is with his vision and dedication to preserving the environment that this country was transformed from a desert land to green areas and oasis," said Colonel Saeed Mattar bin Bleilah, Director of DNRD, in his welcome address to the participants on Saturday night.
Citing examples of the achievements of the UAE in the field of environment protection, Col. Bin Bleilah spoke about the Sir Bani Yas Island, the Western Area forests and also the institution of the Zayed International Award for Environment.
The Director of DNRD observed that the conference was part of the department's activities during the Dubai Shopping Festival 2004. "It is one of the several events we have planned to materialise the theme of the DSF One World, One Family," he said. Speaking on behalf of the participants at the gathering, Ibrahim Al Zu'bi from the Emirates Diving Association, said: "The small group of international friends who met four years ago realised that they shared the same dream and vision. Our common vision was to promote our youth and the needs of our fragile mother nature. Now, I can see that the dream has been realised, as we have delegates from all over the world and old friends are here to give continuous support."
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