An Enduring Vision for Sustainability
July 1, 2018, 9:52 am
“We shall continue to work to protect our environment and our wildlife, as did our forefathers before us. It is a duty, and, if we fail, our children, rightly, will reproach us for squandering an essential part of their inheritance, and of our heritage”.
Sheikh Zayed infused in the UAE a spirit of responsibility, camaraderie and collaboration. It’s a legacy that has endured over generations, and was fueled by his long-standing vision for social, economic and environmental sustainability.
Sustainable development, which by definition requires foresight and strategic planning, touches all aspects of life, from growing populations, climate change, halting biodiversity loss, to migration and youth employment.
Meeting the current economic needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs, calls for a multifaceted approach and efficiency that can only come from a solid ideology.
After years of research into the environmental history of the Arabian Peninsula, found to have been a lush arable area tens of thousands of years ago, Sheikh Zayed’s primary motive became to offset the effects of desertification and one day restore the land back to its former green glory.
With this goal in mind, the late leader worked tirelessly to develop extensive projects in soil stabilization, agriculture, wildlife conservation and water.
Along with protecting the heritage, environment and natural resources of the UAE, he also placed great emphasis on education and empowerment, on the welfare of the less fortunate in the region and around the world.
It was this holistic approach that formed the bedrock for his vision for a sustainable future. However vision alone wouldn’t be enough, the ideology had be spread and instilled across the nation for it to be effective. While he acknowledged the responsibility that government must assume in conserving the natural environment, he also called upon individuals to play a role in ensuring the region developed sustainably.
In a speech he delivered to mark the UAE’s first Environment Day, in February 1998, Sheikh Zayed articulated his beliefs:
“With God’s will, we shall continue to work to protect our environment and our wildlife, as did our forefathers before us. It is a duty, and, if we fail, our children, rightly, will reproach us for squandering an essential part of their inheritance, and of our heritage”.
Today, these social, economic, and environmental pillars continue to form the basis for continued innovation, putting forth a massive opportunity to embed plans that provide guidance on incorporating effective sustainable strategies on a national scale.
Photo Credit – www.thenational.ae