Abu Dhabi: Encouraging the UAE’s youth to go outdoors and explore the UAE’s natural heritage is the focus of a new effort by three environmental groups that are teaming up to preserve the future ecology of the country for next generations.
The organisations — Environment Agency — Abu Dhabi (EAD), Emirates Nature-WWF as well as International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC) — said in a joint statement issued on Thursday they are working on a new “interactive environmental education and awareness programme” dubbed Connect with Nature.
The programme will encourage youth and young adults from ages 15-24 to explore the country’s natural heritage.
To get the ball rolling, a new agreement was inked by Dr Shaikha Salem Al Daheri, acting secretary general of EAD; Laila Mustafa Abdul Latif, director general at Emirates Nature-WWF, and Mohammad Saleh Al Baidani, director general of IFHC.
“Connect with Nature will be rolled out at a federal level starting January 12, 2019, with the ultimate goal of equipping young Emiratis with the particular experiences, knowledge and skills that will enable them to become the next generation of changemakers and environmental leaders,” the groups said in a joint statement.
Connect with Nature has built three distinct pillars to pave the way for positive behavioural change: Explore, where youth can unlock the mysteries of the natural world through experiences in nature, both on and offline across 30 select locations in the UAE, including Al Wathba Wetland Reserve, Saadiyat Marine National Park and Al Qudra Lake; Empower, where they can increase their knowledge of the environment through advanced learning opportunities; and Engage, where informed, confident youth are provided opportunities to inspire action and change and become future leaders.
Al Daheri said the new effort “will prompt more young people to discover our nation’s hidden treasures off the beaten track, as well motivate them to contribute towards proactive efforts in the protection and preservation of our environment. The programme will also build on our collective efforts to instill a profound respect for the environment among the younger generations, who will ultimately be responsible for driving the sustainable growth of our nation, and beyond.”
Abdul Latif said, through “the programme, we aim to equip youth with the experiences, knowledge, skills, and platforms to be able to continue the environmental legacy of our late founding father, Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.”
Al Baidani noted: “By introducing the young people of today to our wondrous natural environment and the beauty it contains, we can inspire the environmental leaders of tomorrow. In coming together, we promote the best of the UAE, while also providing young Emiratis with the skills to continue the work of the late Sheikh Zayed: a very real legacy to his inspiration.”