As part of efforts to protect natural rangelands and promote sustainable traditional grazing practices, Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) has begun issuing licences to owners and breeders of livestock to regulate grazing and all related activities in Abu Dhabi.
The licensing policy has been introduced to ensure the recovery of vegetation cover and to promote the sustainability of biodiversity. It also gives rangelands an opportunity for natural regeneration and ensures their continuity for future generations.
The issuance of licences is conducted in accordance with Executive Regulations of Law No. (11) of 2020, regarding the regulation of grazing in Abu Dhabi, recently issued by EAD, under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in Al Dhafra Region, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of EAD, being the competent authority for environmental affairs in Abu Dhabi. EAD is responsible for implementing this law, which aims to regulate grazing to protect natural rangelands and promote sustainable traditional practices, in coordination with the concerned authorities, to promote management measures of protected areas and provide balance to critical natural habitats, while protecting plants from overgrazing.
To obtain a grazing licence, the applicant must be aged 21 years and above, be a citizen of the UAE, and hold a valid animal log wealth certificate approved by the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA).
Owners and breeders of livestock can apply to EAD for a licence in accordance with the procedures and requirements specified by the agency, and after paying the prescribed fees. They must also attach a copy of the applicant’s identity card, and a copy of an approved and valid animal log wealth certificate stating that the applicant owns livestock and that it is registered in the Animal Identification and Registration System by the concerned authorities. The licence applicant must identify the persons who will accompany and care for the livestock and provide a copy of their Emirates ID.
Licensees will be allowed to graze their livestock in open wild areas and should stay at least 2km away from protected areas, forests, residential, military, petroleum and private areas, and all roads and places with restricted access. Livestock are prohibited from grazing unaccompanied and the licence is valid for one grazing season only.
Licensees must adhere to several environmental conditions, which include not introducing exotic plants, animals, or any harmful substances into the grazing areas. They must also not uproot, burn, transport, cut, destroy, log, remove, or collect plants or any part thereof in grazing areas, nor damage or harm the biodiversity or cause any damage to the local environment within grazing areas.
Licensees must also adhere to the permitted grazing seasons, as well as consider the periods of suspension of grazing determined by EAD in coordination with the concerned authorities to ensure the sustainability of grazing areas. It is also prohibited to use bicycles, cars, or any type of vehicle or mechanism in grazing areas that affects the vegetation cover, and to transfer the grazing licence to another person.
It is possible to apply for a grazing licence by visiting the EAD website: www.ead.gov.ae, and accessing the Knowledge Hub section. Applicants should select the Resources page, then download the Grazing Licence application form. Once the application is completed, attach the required documents and email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Upon completion of the application, a link will be sent to the applicant to pay the fee of AED250, and upon receipt, an electronic copy of the grazing licence will be issued via email to the applicant.
EAD has extended its appreciation of the contribution and cooperation of livestock owners in the implementation of the grazing law and its executive regulations, as they are a key strategic partner supporting the efforts made by Abu Dhabi Government, represented by EAD in its capacity as the competent authority. The law enhances EAD’s role in monitoring rangeland resources and rehabilitating vegetation in grazing areas to preserve grazing as a traditional inherited practice, documenting and preserving it according to scientific criteria.
The implementation of the decision also helps ensure the preservation of natural and cultural heritage through the sustainable use of resources, the preservation of natural wild desert plants and the reduction of soil degradation, supporting food security in the long term. It also helps ensure that sustainable traditional grazing, and the unique relationship that humans have with the desert and its natural resources, are preserved and protected for future generations.