The UAE celebrated its honourary national day – which coincided with the UNESCO International Day of the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem on 26th July – as part of its participation in the 7th edition of Floriade Expo 2022 held in the Netherlands.
The UAE Pavilion dedicated this day to celebrate the importance of mangroves, one of the most crucial halophytes to the UAE’s ecosystem, covering more than 150 sq km of the country. The pavilion also highlighted the country’s efforts to conserve mangroves and support various efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change.
Jamal Al Musharakh, UAE Ambassador to the Netherlands and Commissioner-General of the UAE Pavilion at Floriade Expo 2022, hosted a number of dignitaries, visitors, and students interested in the environmental field. He exchanged the UAE’s success stories in preserving its ecosystem and efforts to protect mangroves, in addition to its leadership in global initiatives addressing climate change.
He said, “One of the most valuable halophytes within the UAE’s natural environment is the mangrove, nicknamed the ‘Guardian of the Coast’. Mangroves sustain entire ecosystems, support plants and animals, and help them grow and develop. The protection of the mangroves is a legacy that we have been entrusted with by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who many years ago initiated a massive forestation drive to increase the number of mangrove trees in the UAE, followed by extensive campaigns to increase its planting to reach 100 million trees by 2030.”
He noted that the UAE commemorated a symbolic national day in conjunction with this global celebration, stressing that this reflects the UAE’s future aspirations and highlights its tangible efforts in mangrove preservation. The UAE, he remarked, is committed to enhancing and protecting its natural habitats, which in turn will help the country confront environmental challenges.
Anne-Marie Goeritsma, Commissioner-General of the Floriade Expo 2022, said, “The UAE and the Netherlands share fruitful historical relations, as they have partnered in many sectors, especially in environmental conservation and horticulture. In this vein, we are working to enhance our relations with the UAE and continue focusing on the world’s food and water challenges. We wanted the exhibition to play an active role in enhancing the quality of life for future cities and provide many solutions that serve to preserve green environments.
“Undoubtedly, the UAE Pavilion has contributed in a tangible way to drawing attention to its developed ecosystem, where mangroves are a major player, which enhances the UAE’s leadership in this field and helps achieve the goals and visions of the exhibition.”
As part of the celebration, the UAE Pavilion launched a special exhibit dedicated to the mangroves in the presence of a number of local officials. The exhibit, featuring the “Guardians of the Coast,” outlines their importance in protecting and preserving biodiversity worldwide. The exhibition will run until 14th August and will be held in the “Green Garden” saltwater park. The park provides visitors with valuable knowledge related to the biosaline agriculture system, the UAE’s efforts in preserving mangroves and advanced research projects undertaken by the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi.
The mangroves are one of the most important halophytic (salt-tolerant) plants featured in the UAE Pavilion at Floriade Expo 2022 for their value, importance, and conservation efforts. The exhibition also features other types of plants: salicornia, quinoa, microalgae, and seaweed.
The UAE Pavilion design, supervised by the UAE Ministry of Culture and Youth, is a creative collaboration between the UAE-based Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation and Pragma, an architecture firm, with Tellart, its Dutch partner. Tellart contributed to the design of the interior gallery and content.