OPN UAE Sustainability
Image Credit: Gulf News

For centuries, sustainability and the protection of the environment have been deeply woven into the fabric of the UAE society, becoming an integral aspect of our way of life. Practised by the community and passed down through generations, these values continue to be crucial for the Emirati community and inform the way they live.

Our wise leadership has drawn inspiration from our ancestors’ practices, developing laws and implementing strategies that promote sustainability, preserve the environment, and protect our natural resources.

The UAE’s commitment to sustainability is especially evident in its strong bond with palm trees. Considered a source of life, palm trees are cherished throughout the land. They provide abundant date fruit for sustenance, offer shelter from the scorching sun under their shady canopies, and even serve as the building material for traditional (Al-Areesh) dwellings, protecting people from heatwaves and sandstorms.

The trees provide further uses through the palm fronds, offering versatile applications such as preserving dates in (Al-Khassafah), serving as floor spreads for food (Al-Hasir), and facilitating date collection (Al-Mikharfa). Even the date stalks, known as (Al-Aadj) or (Al-Arjun), are utilised for cleaning houses.

Along the coast, palm fronds are used to construct small fishing boats called (Al-Shahshah). The fibres from the palm leaves are also taken advantage of to produce ropes for handicrafts and ship sails.

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Expanding greenery

The ability of our ancestors to utilise every part of the palm tree without harming the environment exemplifies sustainable practices at their best. In some areas, these trees were even interconnected with traditional irrigation systems (Al-falaj). These practices affirm that sustainability is deeply rooted in Emirati traditions and the way of life.

Since its foundation, the UAE has been a leading voice for sustainability and environmental conservation, implementing initiatives that position it as a sustainability model for countries worldwide. Now, the responsibility rests upon us to continue this legacy, fulfilling our national and international obligations.


We strive to establish a robust knowledge base on greenhouse emissions, sources, and measures through research, analysis, data-driven creativity, and comprehensive inventories. Our goal is to protect the environment and preserve its natural resources, just as our ancestors did for us. By expanding greenery and reducing desert land, we can mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change in the UAE, safeguarding our resources for generations to come.

Every member of the UAE community should contribute to the nation’s various sustainability initiatives, a notable example being ‘Baadr’ — an environmentally-friendly application designed to inspire citizens and residents to become leaders of positive change by altering their environmental behaviours.

‘Mission to Zero’

Other initiatives like ‘Mission to Zero’ focus on raising environmental awareness and reducing the use of single-use plastic materials. We should also support ‘Zero Carbon’ and other worthy endeavours that dedicate their time and talent to providing accurate data and sharing knowledge with society.

The capital has approved several projects aimed at achieving sustainability, with the ‘UAE Environmental Centennial 2071’ being the most prominent. This comprehensive environmental vision for the next 50 years is influenced by the ‘UAE Centennial 2071’, which aspires to make the UAE the world’s leading country by its 100th anniversary.

Another noteworthy project is the ‘UAE Environmental Identity’, which utilises a smart system to measure the environmental footprint per capita, providing policymakers with crucial data to make informed decisions.

All these initiatives and visionary strategies serve the people of this land and their future generations. Our leadership’s determination to pioneer sustainability serves as motivation for every resident, making it crucial for us to spread awareness, innovate solutions, and actively contribute to shaping a better future for all of humanity.

Abdulla Belajer Alremeithi is an active member in several national initiatives, including the Sustainability Experts Network to support the UAE Year of Sustainability team in inspiring sustainable acts and promoting collective action