Sustainable Development in UAE
Sustainability referred to the ability to sustain and support environment as well as preserve the natural resources. Several countries have adopted the sustainability project in which they are aiming to improve natural, economic and social stability. United Arab Emirates (UAE) has also been taking the national and regional initiative to improve the sustainability of the country (Shihab, 2001). For the sustainable future of the country, UAE has envisioned 2030 economic vision which aims at sustainable development. In next 20 years, the country aims to build a sustainable, diverse and high-value economy by providing the opportunities for the citizen of the country. The focus will be on all possible sectors such as construction, finance, retail, tourism, health, and trade. The three main pillars of the sustainability are economic development, social development, and environmental protection. Environmental protection is the baseline on which the sustainable social developments occur, and if both pillars work fine then, the economic development will automatically occur. In layman terms, the without environmental protection social and economic development is not feasible. Tourism is an essential aspect of Abu Dhabi, and the country needs tourism for the diversity and sustainable development. Sustainability is important because if the primary focus of tourism is on revenue generation, then it will impact negatively on country resources and local culture. The Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA) is working on the sustainable development of the tourism industry.
To achieve the environmentally sustaining, enhance economic growth and the social needs of the tourism industry the clear aims with logistics are defined. For economic growth, the department will ensure that the tourism industry is rewarding and is developed in a way that this industry would become long-term growth contributor to the country (Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development, 2014). It will also provide economic benefits to all the stakeholders. To meet the social needs and protection of cultural heritage, the department will involve the local Emirati people in the sector of tourism; engage the local community in the industry, as well as following all the regulations (Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development, 2014). For the sustainability of environmental resources, the sector will showcase the natural beauty to the tourists but also protect the natural environment and resources. All these aspects are interconnected and interdependent as one cannot separate economic growth from the natural environment or social sustainability.
Greener economy is a broad concept in which the economy of a country is aimed at reducing the environmental risk and resource scarcity for the sustainable development. UAE has moved towards the concept of the greener economy, and the first example is the solar-power flight in the year 2015. This solar-powered flight has the ability to fly without fuel. This shows that UAE is the third most advanced countries in the concentrated solar power (CSP). UAE is also continuously working toward more sources of renewable energy generation for the safe energy process. Even though UAE has the largest resources of hydrocarbons but the government of UAE is looking into future and sustainable development because safe energy is the heart of sustainable development (Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development, 2014). This will also facilitate the states not to be fully dependent on the hydrocarbon resources (Nader, 2009). The solar energy process is more common because the region has the sun as the vital energy source. Therefore, for all the domestic consumption of energy, the UAE has planned to rely more on solar powers which will benefit both the country and the environment. Another big step for the purpose of the green economy is green print which is about cities dealing with the rapid urbanization processes which will also impact the natural resources such as energy and water (Shihab, 2001).
Water crises are one of the main energy source crises, and 8 Arab countries have the lowest water availability, and the water usage is growing every year. However, even when the users cut down on their water, another issue remains which is the salinated water. The demand for desalination will increase, and it is estimated that it will double in next 15 years. According to a consultancy firm, 15 percent CO2 emission in the Abu Dhabi can be attributed to the desalination (Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development, 2014). The country has already made efforts to desalinate water using renewable energy resources. For the long term, the country is planning to use the nuclear reactor for the desalination process. Private sectors and management of several hotels are also playing their role in water conservation and environmental-friendly way to desalinate water.
The concept of sustainable economic development and green economy has related as economic development significantly depends on the natural resources a country has. A green economy can drive economic growth, poverty eradication, increased employment, and all these elements are the part of the sustainable economic development of a country. Along with economic benefits, green economy also balances the functioning of the ecosystem as well as increasing the natural resources. UAE has launched a national initiative to bring sustainable development in the country through a green economy. Renewable energy resources and managing the natural resources are the way in which country is aiming to achieve the goal of the initiative. Environmental Agency Abu-Dhabi (EAD) is in the process of developing the legal and technical framework for the country which will lead to enhanced economic growth along with preservation and conservation of the natural resources (Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development, 2014).
Even though the country is aiming for renewable energies and resources to achieve the sustainable economic development. However, the focus on developing eco-friendly resources will also require new resources, but if the shift occurs to recycle the most of the products as well as reduce the waste produced in all department, then this initiative will help achieve the sustainability for the long term. The eco-sustainable waste management would lead the sustainable economic growth of the country. The resources are not increasing, but the quantity of waste is increasing every day (Lenkiewicz, 2016). Therefore, the sustainable development goals cannot be achieved until and unless the waste management has been implemented properly. For example, using the nuclear reactor or renewable energy resources, the country might be able to clean the water, but if the waste is not handled, it can mix in the clear water leading to more health issues and environmental issues. As a result, the economy will be disturbed.
To conclude, UAE has been putting efforts to improve the sustainability of the country along with growth. Having great hydrocarbon resources, the country is still planning for the renewable resources for the environmental protection and economic sustainability. Social and economic development greatly depends on environmental sustainability, and the government of UAE and private sectors are playing their role to help the country to achieve economic vision 2030.
Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development. (2014). The Economic Review (No. 19). Retrieved from https://psv4.userapi.com/c609528/u755235/docs/389e0b4e9eee/T_E_R_I19_2014_vk_com_englishmagazines.pdf?extra=kzQGlm6ByoR1hINAU3XCcRSkQUcqTCmoK2UNvnsxZShD_JPdAi335MtG5rCmwC_JGENL0iD34SWuDX888PiJOOo4lDRvwx952MQuwxuY_b1Y3MErCmEqvm76NA
Lenkiewicz, Z. (2016, May 11). Waste and the Sustainable Development Goals. Retrieved April 20, 2018, from https://wasteaid.org.uk/waste-sustainable-development-goals/
Nader, S. (2009). Paths to a low-carbon economy—The Masdar example. Energy Procedia, 1(1), 3951–3958.
Shihab, M. (2001). Economic development in the UAE. United Arab Emirates: A New Perspective, 249–259.