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UAE’s Statement on the launch of the "International Decade for Action: Water for Sustainable Development 2018-2028"

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Mr. President, at the beginning, we would like to thank His Excellency the President of the General Assembly for convening this important meeting. We would like also to express our gratitude for the efforts of His Excellency the President Emam Ule Rahman, and for the efforts of the Member States and the United Nations agencies in strengthening the water portfolio at the international level. I would like also I would also like to associate myself with the statement made by the Group of 77 countries, and China.

Mr. the President,

The UAE government attaches great importance to providing the foundations for a decent life for its citizens. Water is one of the pillars of development. The importance of this is due to the occurrence of UAE within the belt of countries suffering from water scarcity and rain. To illustrate this, yesterday, about 300 millimeters of snow fell on the city New York, while the average rainfall in the UAE over the past year was only about 100 millimeters.

To address this situation, my government has invested in desalination plants as an alternative source of drinking water for the UAE population. As the population increases, the need for water sources increased. Therefore, UAE has become the second largest producer of desalinated water in the world. While desalination is a successful solution, it does not solve the fundamental problem of water scarcity.

Mr. The President,

Water is one of the priorities of my government. This is not only because of providing it to its people, but also to contribute to the international efforts in providing water to those in need. I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the four main themes my country has taken to deal with the water issue:

First: Looking ahead

In January 2018, my government adopted the 2036 Water Security Strategy, which is based on a number of initiatives to sustain water supply during normal and extraordinary times through an integrated system based on 3 programs: Water Demand Management, Supply Management, Production and Distribution during normal times and extraordinary conditions. Strategy 4 also includes four enablers including capacity building, national and legislative policies, research and development and consumer awareness. The strategy also included a number of performance indicators to follow up implementation.

Second: Innovation

The UAE believes in innovation and modern technologies to address water scarcity, that is why the country has invested in the National Rainfall Program and encouraged research and development in this field. In 2015, an annual $ 5 million annual Rain Research Award was launched to contribute to the scientific progress in the field of rainmaking research around the world to be more effective.

Third: the interrelationships between water, energy, food and climate change

It is not possible to deal with the water issue independently of the energy, food and climate change. This interconnection between the four files requires government coordination to achieve a balance between them. The UAE has promoted hydroponics as a means of reducing energy and water consumption, and has adopted reverse osmosis techniques in desalination for decoupling of water production and power production.

Fourth: Development and humanitarian aid

The UAE is committed to integrating humanitarian action into its efforts to address the challenges facing humanity. In this spirit, Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives Foundation has launched the $ 1 million UAE-based “Sukia” initiative to provide drinking water to the needy around the world.

In conclusion, Mr. President,

These measures are consistent with the sixth objective of the sustainable development of providing clean water, and we look forward to completing our discussions with Member States of “the International Decade for Action, Water for Sustainable Development 2018-2028", and supporting the Secretary-General's efforts in this regard.

Thank you ...

H.E Dr. Matar Neyadi

Undersecretary of the Ministry of Energy and Industry - United Arab Emirates

 

* Source: United Nations - translated by MOEI

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