PRESIDENTIAL COURT ABU DHABI
H.H Sheikh Hamad
Bin Mohammed al Sharqi
On behalf of H.H Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, I am honored to convey his sincere thanks and appreciation to you and to the People of South Africa for hosting this international event, which is very important due to the enormous changes in international relations. Also allow me to wish all the success to this conference and to convey our thanks for your generous hospitality.
The United Arab Emirates has always recognized the importance of conserving the environmental resources, something that became one of the important bases in its developmental policies for the present and future generations. During the past three decades, the United Arab Emirates has achieved major steps in sustainable development covering economic, social and environmental fields. In addition, the United Arab Emirates has promoted investments and diversified the sources of its national income to reduce dependency on oil industry as its only source of income. It has also promoted environment-friendly industries.
'The united Arab Emirates has devoted great interest to the devlopment of health services and education at all levels. It has also given special attention to women's development in order to encourage their active participation in the process of sustainable development. It has as well worked on the provision of a better life for its citizens through social welfare programs. The United Arab Emirates has provided financial and humanitarian aid to many countries of the world, especially the least developing countries and has thus contributed around 4% of its GDP in the form of loans and grants, of which 80% were in the form of grants for sustainable development.
In the environment field, and under the guidance of H.H Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, major efforts were directed to the development of many establishments concerned with environmental issues. Special attention was given to promoting agriculture and combating desertification despite the hard climatic conditions and the scarcity of water resources, which considerably increased the area of cultivated land in the United Arab Emirates.
In order to emphasize its commitment to the principles of protection of the environment and achievement of sustainable development, the United Arab Emirates finalized the National Environmental Strategy and the National Environmental Action Plan in accordance with agenda for the 21st century. It has adopted many environmental initiatives at international level among which are Zayed Environment Prize and Abu Dhabi International Initiative for Collection of Environmental Data. It has also declared the 4th of February as the National Environment Day in United Arab Emirates. Terrestrial and Marine Wildlife have also been a major concern in the United Arab Emirates, in addition to the protection of endangered species.
The United Arab Emirates has signed many regional and international conventions that are concerned with climate, protection of the environment from pollution and combating desertification.
The ten-years experience that the world has gone through clearly showed that conservation of natural resources and achievement of sustainable development, which was agreed upon in Rio, calls for collated efforts in all countries of the world as well as all countries' commitment to this issue. For still there is poverty, desertification, drought, social problems, unemployment and debts in many developing countries. In addition to the occupation, aggression and crimes committed against humans as is happening now in occupied Palestine. All these are the main obstacles faced in the implementation of Agenda for the 21st century and the creation of the fair and just international socio-economic environment that supports the participation of developing countries and their integration in the implementation of strategies for sustainable development.
I take this opportunity to emphasize the importance of commitment to the common but differentiated responsibilities of the countries of the world towards protecting the environment and ensuring sustainable development; taking into consideration that this was one of Rio Summit's principles. It is essential not to exert pressure on developing countries or to enforce new commitments on them as a result of industrial countries' failure to fulfill their commitments as well as not to use the concepts of consumption patterns, production, globalization and other concepts as reasons for interference with the sovereignty of these countries. It is important not to use environmental considerations as reasons to prevent the entry of developing countries' products to the international market. It is also important to avoid the setting of timetables for alternative energy sources before looking into this matter carefully in order to prevent any failures that could cause hindrance to the world development.
It is necessary to stress that the international society and the United Nations should play an active role in achieving international security and peace specially in the Gulf Region and the Middle East according to international and United Nations Resolutions and to put an end to all forms of occupation and illegal settlements, in addition to concentrating efforts towards preventing the use of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction and to declare the Middle East and the Gulf as an area free of such weapons.
Finally, I take this opportunity to present to you one of the important recommendations of the Scientific and International Conference on "The Universe and Human Fate" which was held in Abu Dhabi this year, which emphasized the right of all people to outer space and the right of every country to have its own programs and scientific research in this field. It stressed that priority should be given to scientific and peaceful research in outer space and to avoid military control of outer space as well as to avoid using it as a tool for destruction of the earth.
The convening of the World Summit represents an important step that will give the international society a historic chance to analyze the main reasons that hindered the implementation of Rio Summit Recommendations and Decisions, as well as to reach an international agreement on all issues related to the environment and sustainable development.
Thank you Mr. President.