• Nature-based Solutions

    for Climate, Biodiversity & People
    Enhancing resilience of Blue Carbon coastal ecosystems in the UAE

What is the
Nature-based Solutions
project in the UAE?

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© Daniel Mateos Molina– ENWWF

The "Nature-based Solutions (NbS) for Climate, Biodiversity & People” project in the UAE is funded by HSBC, and is a partnership between the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE), the Minister of Economy (MoEc), the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), the Government of Umm Al Quwain, Emirates Nature-WWF and the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA).

The project is part of HSBC’s Climate Solutions Partnership, a global philanthropic initiative in partnership with the World Resources Institute (WRI) and WWF, to help scale up high-impact NbS to capture carbon dioxide and protect natural ecosystems.

The project - which follows the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Global Standard for NbS - focuses on the protection, restoration and management of coastal ecosystems, including mangroves, seagrasses and saltmarshes, as a key NbS to strengthen climate change mitigation, enhance biodiversity, and open up benefits for society through opportunities that unlock blended finance to support ecosystem protection, Blue Carbon, ecotourism and food security, among other goals. These are critical national issues as the UAE gears up to host COP28 in 2023.

More About the Project
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The power of Halophytes

One of the goals of the project is to advance innovation and sustainability of local food production. Together with ICBA, the project is testing the feasibility of Salicornia and Arthocaulon – halophytes that are present along the UAE coastline which act as strong carbon sinks – and can be harvested as a new food and feed commodity and sold in the market.

The cultivation of Salicornia sinus-persica and Arthocaulon macrostachyum is currently being piloted in the Umm Al Quwain coastal lagoon, and a proof of concept is under development, with nutritional analyses and market feasibility studies planned this year.

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What are we doing?

To understand the value of natural capital in coastal seascapes in the UAE, the project includes the collection of on-the-ground scientific information in at least one priority Blue Carbon site to demonstrate the links between biodiversity, coastal ecosystem services, climate mitigation and socio-economic co-benefits.
We will be testing different restoration approaches suitable for various coastal habitat types (mangroves, seagrass, halophytes) following a holistic seascape philosophy; the results measured will help guide future rehabilitation plans in the UAE and the wider region.
The project will identify innovative and sustainable small-scale business opportunities arising from effectively managed coastal ecosystems, to co-create concepts for bankable projects for implementation in the priority pilot site(s).
Scientific data gathered during the project will be used to guide government and private funding into blended finance models which increase investment in NbS, while showcasing the benefits of Blue Carbon seascapes and a Sustainable Blue Economy to policy and business targets.
As well as an assessment of the current policy landscape to identify opportunities, barriers, gaps and policy integration needs for enhanced participation in NbS projects, the project will provide recommendations to support the UAE in meeting its international commitments (Net Zero 2050, 30x30, NDCs, etc.)
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Our approach:
Science & Dialogue

The partnership will collaborate closely with local and national stakeholders to implement conservation solutions founded on robust science, improved policies and greater public awareness, to ensure that healthy marine ecosystems are at the heart of policy goals and actions to achieve environmental, economic and societal benefits for all. The project will embrace a holistic ecosystem-based approach at a seascape level which recognizes that the value and provisioning of ecosystem services is influenced by connectivity across multiple ecosystems.

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© Daniel Mateos Molina– ENWWF

News and Updates

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09 DEC

The Government of Umm Al Quwain (UAQ), in close partnership with the UAE Ministry of Economy and Emirates Nature-WWF, has announced the launch of an initiative to develop a set of robust Sustainable Blue Economy (SBE) guidelines at COP28.

New initiative to spur Sustainable Blue Economy in Umm Al Quwain
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27 SEP

By Sheikh Majid Bin Saoud Bin Rashid Al Mualla, The UAE pays great attention to ecotourism as it is one of the types of sustainable tourism that contributes to the preservation of natural and cultural heritage.

The promise of nature-positive tourism in Umm Al Quwain
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26 AUG

By Laila Mostafa Abdullatif, Women-led organizations in the UAE are paving the path towards a sustainable future, by catalyzing the implementation of Nature-based Solutions and unlocking multiple benefits for climate, biodiversity and people.

Women Play a Leading Role in Sustainability