Her Excellency Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary General of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), has been honoured with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Award for Environmental Management in the Islamic World.

Her Excellency Dr Al Dhaheri received the Women’s Leadership Award in Private or Government Sector Institutions for her pioneering role in supporting the Abu Dhabi Government’s efforts in the fields of environmental protection, species conservation and net zero goals.

The award was collected on behalf of Her Excellency Dr Al Dhaheri by Huda Almazrouei, EAD’s External Relations Section Head, during the ceremony, which was supervised by the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture in Saudi Arabia. The event took place on 19 October 2023 during the opening session of the 9th Conference of Environment Ministers of the Islamic World in Jeddah.

During her career, Her Excellency Dr Al Dhaheri has contributed to introducing innovative initiatives and solutions to protect the environment and preserve species, while addressing climate action challenges. Her Excellency has supervised the implementation of several programmes related to biodiversity policies, monitoring of protected areas and nature reserves and threatened species and fisheries, including programmes for the resettlement of species at national and global levels.

Her Excellency has supervised the development of a number of initiatives and legislative frameworks to preserve groundwater, improve air and marine water quality, and soil in Abu Dhabi. Her Excellency has also supported investment and innovation in the environmental field, contributing to mitigating the effects of climate change, and developed a plan to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. These efforts include implementing the National Blue Carbon Project and developing innovative solutions for planting mangroves, in addition to launching programmes aimed at changing community behaviour towards more sustainable practices. This includes the launch of the Single-Use Plastics Policy to reach zero waste from single-use plastics, which have served to strengthen the global environmental role of the UAE and Abu Dhabi.

Her Excellency Dr Al Dhaheri said: “With all pride, this award is a testament highlighting the pioneering role efforts and support of the UAE’s wise leadership in maintaining a healthy and sustainable environment. This award was bestowed thanks to efforts in implementing the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, who declared 2023 to be the Year of Sustainability, and this year represents the culmination of the UAE’s rich journey in the field of sustainability and environmental preservation. It is also the starting point for broader horizons of progress and prosperity in protecting the environment and its natural resources, to ensure a better and more sustainable tomorrow for future generations. Undoubtedly, this recognition will inspire us to work towards achieving greater goals, ambitions, and unprecedented achievements at the national and global levels.”

Her Excellency said that the nation’s leadership empowered and helped her in the field of environmental protection and enhanced her passion and strong desire to preserve species inside and outside the UAE. They constantly encouraged and supported her during her professional development journey – all the way up to her appointment as Secretary General of EAD under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Al Dhafra Region and Chairman of the agency’s Board of Directors. Her Excellency said that His Highness’s vision, directives and continuous support were the most important factors in winning the award.

The award is also recognition for Her Excellency’s performance in the field of environmental work and the dissemination of successful environmental practices among institutions, as well as her work in mentoring and empowering female professionals and activities in protecting the environment and overall management of the environmental sector. The award acknowledges her efforts in scientific research, civil society, environmental education and field work for NGOs, private sector institutions and government organisations.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Award for Environmental Management in the Islamic World aims to encourage leaders in the environmental sector and acts as a motivating framework to enhance interest in joint environmental work in the Islamic world. The awards also support openness to global experiences in the environmental field and its protection, in accordance with the Islamic perspective based on the concept of succession and sustainable reconstruction of the planet.

The award also appreciates the efforts of individuals and institutions concerned with the management of natural resources to achieve environmental security and the rights of present and future generations to enjoy a clean and healthy environment.

The scope of the award includes scientific or practical activity conducted by individuals in the fields of environmental preservation and sustainable development. It focuses on how this activity has preserved environmental diversity and balance, while furthering human development.

The award’s goals are to consolidate the concepts of sustainable development in the Islamic world, including the proper use and development of natural resources and their preservation from depletion or pollution. It also aims to encourage the principles and methods of environmental governance in the region’s institutions and agencies in public, private and civil development sectors.

Its objectives also include encouraging Islamic countries to improve the level of management between the environment and development. The awards also aim to enhance scientific and legal interaction regarding global environmental issues and sustainable development and ways to implement them in the Islamic world.

The award has four categories: Best Individual or Collective Research; Achievement or Practice in NGOs; Islamic Green City Excellence Award, and the Women’s Leadership Award.

Her Excellency Dr Al Dhaheri holds a doctorate in the Conservation and Protection of Wildlife in the UAE, which she attained from the University of Aberdeen in the UK. She also holds a master’s degree with distinction in Environmental Science from UAE University (UAEU), and another in Biological Conservation from the University of Kent in the UK. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Species from UAEU.

Her Excellency began her career at EAD as a Research Assistant in the agency’s Terrestrial Environment Research Division in 2000 and was later appointed as Executive Director of the Terrestrial and Marine Biodiversity Sector in 2012. Since 2018, she has held the position of Secretary General of the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi. Her Excellency Dr Al Dhaheri won the Abu Dhabi Award for Excellence in Government Performance in 2015, and she is also an active member of many international organisations. In 2021, she was elected for the second time as a Regional Councillor to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Western Asia and she is also a member of the Advisory Board of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

For more informations about Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Award for Environmental Management in the Islamic World, visit: www.ksaaem.org.