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Emirati environmentalist joins advisory board of UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration

Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri serves as the secretary-general of the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi



Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri (Photo: Expo 2020 Dubai)
Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri (Photo: Expo 2020 Dubai)
by

A Staff Reporter

Published: Mon 21 Feb 2022, 7:48 PM

An Emirati environmentalist has joined the advisory board of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri serves as the secretary-general of the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD).

"It is such an honour to be selected to be part of the Advisory Board of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, which is renowned for having prominent environmentalists spanning across several countries globally," Dr Al Dhaheri said. "It is an opportunity to exchange ideas and share Abu Dhabi’s experience in protecting ecosystems as well as exploring best practices with a variety of organisations – all with a common goal.

"The idea of setting a timeline of a decade is vital in stressing the urgency of how we all need to unite to restore our ecosystems, which over the years, have faced several challenges and deterioration due to several reasons such as urbanisation, human activity and socio-economic development.”

Last year, the UN declared 2021-2030 the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, which is spearheaded by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN (FAO), following a proposal for action by over 70 countries across the globe.

The initiative brings together an array of international partners including hundreds of organisations who implement restoration of ecosystems.

The Advisory Board of the UN Decade is the main external body of the governance structure, which includes representatives ranging from indigenous peoples, local communities, ecosystem restoration experts, environmentalists, and scientists, to media and culture workers and public and private sector organisations.

With decades of experience in the conservation of the environment, the role of the secretary-general of EAD includes offering relevant experience and ideas in response to the challenges for implementing the UN Decade, as well as highlighting its goals through a plethora of channels and platforms.

Dr Al Dhaheri added: “The UN Decade is one of the movements that can remind us how necessary it is to achieve the UN Sustainability Goals and how the communities play a vital role in the conservation of ecosystems. As environmentalists we all need to have educational platforms to create awareness of the importance of our ecosystems because they inevitably sustain us and are home to millions of species that we need to protect.

"Through the use of media, visual arts, digital tools and viral movements, we are obliged to shed light on the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration so that we all join forces to place the environment high up in our societies. I look forward to being part of this movement as a member of the Advisory Board.”

Dr Al Dhaheri has overseen the implementation of numerous programmes on biodiversity, protected areas, threatened species and fisheries, including national and global species resettlement programmes.

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She began her career at EAD as a research assistant in the Agency’s Terrestrial and Marine Biodiversity sector in 2000, and was later appointed as executive director of the division in 2012.

Dr Al Dhaheri is also an active member of several international organisations. In 2021, she was re-elected as a Regional Councillor to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Western Asia for the second time.

The UN Decade is building a broad-based global #GenerationRestoration movement, to enhance restoration in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The UN Decade addresses the opportunity for the rehabilitation of all ecosystems, whether from the depths of marine areas to mountain summits from all around the world.


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