The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) has announced that the grazing season will take place from 15 May – 15 October 2024, as part of its efforts to regulate grazing activity. The grazing mandates aim to support the recovery of vegetation, enhance biodiversity and promote sustainable practices.

The mandated grazing season was introduced to provide the pastures an opportunity for natural regeneration and ensure their continuity for future generations. The announcement is part of the Executive Regulations of Law No. (11) of 2020 framework regarding the regulation of grazing in Abu Dhabi. The regulations were 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, with EAD being the competent authority for environmental affairs in Abu Dhabi.

EAD is responsible for implementing the mandate, which aims to regulate grazing to protect natural pastures and promote sustainable traditional practices in coordination with the concerned authorities. The law will secure protected areas and critical and sensitive natural habitats.

Based on the regulation, EAD is issuing licences to owners and breeders of livestock to regulate grazing activity and all related activities in Abu Dhabi. To obtain a grazing licence, the applicant must be a UAE National and must be above the age of 21. The applicant must also have a valid livestock inventory certificate approved by the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA).

Once the application fees have been paid, livestock owners and breeders who meet the requirements can apply for a licence to EAD. They must also submit a copy of their ID card, and an approved and valid animal wealth inventory certificate which proves their ownership of the livestock. The applicant must also be registered in the emirate’s animal identification and registration system by the relevant authorities. The applicant must identify the individuals who will accompany and care for the livestock and provide a copy of their Emirates ID cards.

Licence holders will be allowed to graze in open wild areas and should stay two kilometres away from reserves, forests, residential, military, petroleum and private areas, and all prohibited roads and places. They will also be required not to leave grazing livestock unaccompanied, and to adhere to the period specified for grazing in this licence.

Those licenced to graze must comply with various environmental requirements, 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 pasture plants or any part thereof in grazing areas. They should also not damage or harm the biodiversity or cause any damage to the local environment in the grazing areas and adhere to the permitted grazing seasons.

Licensees must also consider the periods of suspension of grazing determined by the 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 machinery in grazing areas in a way that affects the vegetation cover. It is also prohibited to transfer their grazing licence to another person.

The licence can be applied through the website of EAD: