As part of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi’s (EAD) cooperation with its strategic partners to accelerate sustainable economic and industrial development in Abu Dhabi, while enhancing the emirate’s position as an attractive centre for global industrial investments, EAD has launched the X71 automated licensing service for industrial facilities.

The service will facilitate the licensing process of the industrial facilities in specific and environmentally studied areas and will enable investors to receive the environmental license, by reducing the environmental studies requirements and enable investors to receive the environmental license in six minutes. It will also help attract international industrial investments while increasing Abu Dhabi’s competitiveness without compromising the environment or the emirate’s resources.

The X71 automated licensing service will contribute to preserving the environment as the specified industrial areas, which includes KEZAD, are already located in studied areas with less environmental sensitivity than others. This will encourage the applicant to choose these locations due to the ease of requirements compared to other unstudied areas which require environmental surveys to ensure that their impact does not result in negative elements entering the environment and residential areas.

The agency also signed two agreements with the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) and AD Ports Group to create incentives for EAD’s Green Industries Labelling Programme. The joint cooperation will facilitate environmental licensing procedures and knowledge exchange, while helping to organise mutually-beneficial joint projects and promote investment opportunities.

The agreements were signed by Her Excellency Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary-General of EAD, His Excellency Rashed Abdulkarim Al Blooshi, Undersecretary of ADDED, and His Excellency Mohamed Al Khadar Al Ahmed, CEO of the Khalifa Economic Zones Abu Dhabi (KEZAD) Group.

The signing coincides with the UAE’s preparations to host COP28, as the agency works to unify its efforts in the field of climate action with its strategic partners to achieve a balance between economic development and leadership in the field of environmental protection.

The agreements will aim to attract anchoring industries that support the circular economy, encourage the use of renewable energies and advanced technology in various industries to reduce carbon emissions, and develop incentive programmes aimed at adopting best environmental practices in the industrial sector.

Her Excellency Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, said: “The launch of the Auto Permit X71 licensing service and the signing of the two MoUs are in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, who emphasised the importance of consolidating sustainability and protecting environmental and natural systems in the country, reflecting his declaration that 2023 is the Year of Sustainability. It also highlights our legacy in adopting sustainable practices and enhances awareness on the importance of protecting the environment and its resources and preserving them for future generations.”

Her Excellency Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri added the partnerships will help to achieve economic growth while preserving the natural heritage of Abu Dhabi. Protecting the environment and achieving sustainable development through these agreements will enhance the joint efforts to achieve the wise leadership's vision in building a more sustainable future for generations, and to enhance Abu Dhabi's leading role globally in protecting the environment and achieving sustainable development.

Highlighting the importance of working with partners, His Excellency Rashed Abdulkarim Al Blooshi said: “ADDED cooperates with all its partners to develop practical and innovative solutions to facilitate business and attract more investments as part of a sustainable economic development framework, as well as to comply with Abu Dhabi's climate change commitments.

“Moreover, ADDED supports the industrial sector in order to enhance the national economy’s competitiveness and diversification now and in the future. This can be achieved through the Abu Dhabi Industrial Strategy (ADIS) besides other efforts.

“ADDED’s cooperation in launching the automated licensing service (X71) with the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), and Abu Dhabi Ports, serves all these objectives and anchors a sustainable investment and economic strategy in the emirate.

“As the Year of Sustainability [continues] and with the launch of the Conference of the Parties (COP28) in the UAE in November, the X71 service contributes to highlighting Abu Dhabi’s efforts to adopt smart and environment-friendly ecosystems, particularly in the industrial sector, which is one of the most important sectors through which UAE hopes to achieve Net Zero emissions by 2050.

“It also promotes Green Economy concepts, by aligning with environmental standards in locating industrial facilities, in a way that attracts major international investments that adopt the same approach. For us and for the next generations, we will provide everything necessary to ensure the success of this service.”

His Excellency Mohamed Al Khadar Al Ahmed said: “One of the pillars on which KEZAD relies in its business model is providing full support to investors. There is no doubt that developing and facilitating the environmental licensing procedures for industrial facilities would enhance the chances of attracting industrial investments and increasing competitiveness in a way that contributes to achieving the Abu Dhabi's industrial strategy.

"Stimulating environmentally friendly practices in the industrial sector confirms KEZAD's commitment to promoting environmental initiatives, adopting sustainable policies and supporting industrial investment without risking the environment or its resources, which comes in line with the vision and directives of the wise leadership to protect the environment and natural resources and achieve the sustainable development."

In the future, EAD seeks to cooperate with its strategic partners to facilitate environmental licensing procedures to include areas of development and commercial projects, in order to achieve economic growth and accelerate development in the emirate of Abu Dhabi and the UAE.