Environment Agency Abu Dhabi

The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) is a governmental agency established in 1996 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), committed to protecting and managing biodiversity, providing a clean environment and promoting sustainable development in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

EAD is also committed to ensuring that environmental protection, regulation and natural resources conservation are a high priority on the UAE's national agenda. As such, the agency provides direction for government, businesses and the community to commit to environmental considerations without compromising on Abu Dhabi's development.


To protect and conserve the environment for people's well-being and a better life for all.


Towards a sustainable environment for a sustainable future.


In 1989, the National Avian Research Centre (NARC) was established as a world-class conservation, research and captive breeding organisation in Abu Dhabi. This was the foundation upon which EAD was built. At the time, the agency was known as the Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency (ERWDA).

The aim of ERWDA, which was established with Law No. 4 of 1996,[1] was to protect Abu Dhabi Emirate's natural environment, wildlife and biodiversity through comprehensive research and cooperation with other government bodies.

In 2005, H.H Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, passed Law No. 16 of 2005 that restructured the competent authority for the environment in Abu Dhabi.[2] ERWDA in the same year became known as the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) and was chaired by the Crown Prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, H.H Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Law No. 16 of 2005 with regards to the restructuring of EAD stated that the agency remains an independent regulatory body and is the responsible authority for environmental and wildlife issues in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, while working towards a more sustainable future.

The law also specified that all government departments and agencies are required to coordinate and cooperate with the agency on issues related to research, studies and programmes concerning the environment and wildlife.

The agency's objectives are specified in Law No. (16) of 2005 pertaining to the Reorganization of the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency.


The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) is chaired by H.H Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Al Dhafra Region of Abu Dhabi Emirate. The Vice Chairman is H.E Mohamed Ahmed Al Bowardi. H.E Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, is the Managing Director and Board Member. The Secretary General is H.E. Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri and the Deputy Secretary General is H.E. Dr. Jaber Eidha Al Jaberi.[3]

5 Core PillarsEdit

EAD has five core pillars that outlines its efforts towards conserving the land, air and water environment, leading research, raising awareness in the community and regulating policy and legislation.

1. Conserving nature and biodiversity

The legacy of EAD is founded on protecting biodiversity and natural ecosystems. As part of its mandate, EAD ensures effective and evidence-based planning and regulation for Abu Dhabi's biodiversity. Achievements include:

• Leading the world's most ambitious mammalian species reintroduction programme by releasing Scimitar-horned Oryx, previously extinct in the wild, back to their homeland in Chad.[4]

• Establishing the Sheikh Zayed Protected Areas Network that is made up of 19 terrestrial and marine protected areas that the agency manages.[5]

• Successfully recording 100 invertebrate species previously unknown in the Emirate and discovering nine insect species that are new to science.[6]

• Expanding the understanding of the emirate's fish stocks through the Sustainable Fisheries Programme with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment and publishing the UAE National Framework of Sustainable Fisheries 2019 – 2030.[7]

• For the first time in 35 years, the agency captured the Arabian Caracal on a remote sensing camera in Jabal Hafit National Park in Al Ain in 2019[8]

• Tracking and tagging over 80 birds including the Greater Flamingo using a globally recognised satellite-tracking programme.[9]

2. Promoting a clean, healthy and safe environment

EAD believes that the well-being of the community is one of their fundamental responsibilities. To achieve this EAD is responsible for:

Combatting climate change: EAD improves data collection and information on CO2 and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, while working with partners to establish clear policies and regulations to manage emissions.

Monitoring air quality: EAD works to protect the air by continuously monitoring air quality and strengthening its legal, regulatory and enforcement framework.

Monitoring marine water quality: EAD's role in safeguarding marine water quality includes long-term monitoring, developing regulations and policies as well as working with the federal government to ensure its proper management.

Waste Management': Improving waste management in Abu Dhabi is one of EAD's key priorities. It develop policies, regulations and guidelines to promote waste reduction and increase opportunities for reuse, recycling and resource recovery.

Regulating groundwater: EAD's role is to regulate groundwater in different development sectors and tighten enforcement on illegal groundwater wells drilling, abstraction and selling.

3. Using data and science to monitor and innovate EAD leads all its projects and initiatives with evidence-based decision-making tools. The agency utilises a range of expertise inside and outside of the organisation in order to evaluate and assess the optimal environmental conditions of Abu Dhabi. The requirements of the community, industries, and habitats are all evaluated in parallel with the Emirate's development.

EAD uses scientific expertise, on-the-ground research and global best practices to study the large amounts of information on environmental conditions to maintain and continually improve the fine balance in the Emirate. As a result, EAD is able to guide through policy and directly influence change in Abu Dhabi.

4. Regulating and directing policy with transparency

EAD leverages innovation, research and international best practices to strengthen and enforce environmental laws. To date, EAD has achieved the following: • Eltezam campaign has helped in preventing or reducing the negative impact of urbanisation on the environment, by ensuring compliance to local environmental laws, international standards and best practice.

• For climate change mitigation, EAD has continued to strengthen legislation to mitigate the effects of climate change and adapt to its impact.

• The banning of gargour, a traditional fishing method was a landmark decision that EAD influenced.

5. Raising environmental awareness

EAD works towards it goals through informing, inspiring and influencing the community through engagement. It also places a great emphasis upon the role of future generations as citizens in the community who have a significant role to play in protecting the environment.

EAD's aim is to help educate, equip, empower and inspire the next generation in order to realise an environmentally sustainable future. Its programmes are supported by the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge.

EAD designs, develops and supports the roll-out of structured, systematic and award-winning environmental education programmes in schools and universities. These programmes help improve the capabilities of relevant stakeholders to deliver environmental education and help bring about behaviour change through effective local partnerships. These include its Sustainable Schools Initiative, the Annual Enviro-Spellathon, and the Sustainable Campus Initiative.[10]

The Agency also focuses on supporting the business and government sector and seeks to raise their awareness of environmental issues facing Abu Dhabi Emirate and promote a sense of shared responsibility across business and government.

Key AchievementsEdit

Plastic Policy[11]

In March 2019, EAD announced a new policy to reduce single-use plastic materials in Abu Dhabi, mitigating its harmful effects.

The comprehensive policy, which is the first-of-its-kind in the region, aims to keep single-use plastics out of the environment and eliminate the use of avoidable single-use plastic and non-plastic materials by 2021 through fostering a culture of recycling and re-use and encouraging more sustainable practices in the community.

One of the key aspects of EAD's policy is focused on making Abu Dhabi Emirate free of single-use plastic bags by 2021 and ensuring that single-use plastic materials are no longer used by government organisations in Abu Dhabi.

The scope of the policy includes developing regulations to limit the use of targeted single use plastics in Abu Dhabi gradually with a phased approach with incentives to target consumption of single use plastic bags through fees and then banning them, introduce fees on single use plastics with available sustainable alternatives and prevent free distribution of such items to the end user.

Sustainable Fisheries Programme

From its early beginnings, EAD has played a key role in the management of Abu Dhabi's fisheries and the gathering of scientific data to monitor fish stocks.

EAD collaborated with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) to develop the UAE's first National Fisheries Information System[12] and launched the UAE Sustainable Fisheries Programme in 2015, to preserve fish for future generations.

A national framework for sustainable fisheries, was launched in 2019 which outlined measures to conserve and replenish fish stock and rehabilitate marine habitats through the installation of artificial reefs.

The UAE National Framework for Sustainable Fisheries 2019-2030 also recommended the development of robust aquaculture research and programmes to support fish stock improvement.

Oryx Reintroduction Programmes

The Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Arabian Oryx Reintroduction Programme began in the Arabian Oryx Protected Area in 2007. Focusing on the Arabian Oryx and Scimitar-horned Oryx, EAD reintroduced these species back into their native habitats after being declared extinct in the wild. As a result, the growing number of Arabian Oryx across the range states in the Arabian Peninsula led to the species being downlisted from ‘endangered’ to ‘vulnerable’ on the ‘Red List’ of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2011.

Supported by the Crown Prince's Court, the Scimitar-horned Oryx Reintroduction Programme saw EAD enter into a partnership with the Government of Chad, the Sahara Conservation Fund, The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, The Zoological Society of London and The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland. The plan of the programme was to establish a self-sustaining herd of around 500 animals into its traditional homeland in the Ouadi RiméOuadi Achim Game Reserve in Chad over a period of five years. The first shipment of Oryx arrived in Chad in March 2016.

By the end of 2019, the programme had translocated nearly 200 animals from Abu Dhabi to Chad, and later released in to the wild. The animals in the release programme have also begun to breed successfully, with over 60 healthy oryx calves born in Chad by 2019.

Sheikh Zayed Protected Areas Network

The Sheikh Zayed Protected Areas Network network encompasses 19 protected areas in total, containing some of Abu Dhabi's most critical marine and terrestrial habitats. Six of the Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) represent 13.90% of the total marine natural habitats, and 13 Terrestrial Protected Areas (TPAs) cover 16.98% of Abu Dhabi's land mass. Other areas that are protected include Marawah Marine Biosphere, the region's first UNESCO - designated marine reserve, and Al Wathba Wetland Reserve, a Ramsar site which is a site that is of international importance according to the Ramsar Convention - a convention for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. It is also on the IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas.

Liwa Strategic Water Reserve

Developed in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority, at the time, and now operated by TRANSCO, The Liwa Strategic Water Reserve is a reliable reservoir of fresh groundwater that can be recovered and used in emergencies.[13] The reserve currently stores 27 million cubic metres of desalinated water.

The project includes a 160-kilometre pipeline that connects the water reserve site in the Liwa desert, on the border with Saudi Arabia, to a distribution network in Abu Dhabi city.[14]


The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) has its main headquarters in the city of Abu Dhabi, with an office in Al Ain city and in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi Emirate. EAD has an extensive customer service network, with 11 branches across the Emirate.


  1. ^ "Law No. 4 of 1996" (PDF).
  2. ^ "Law No. 16 of 2005".
  3. ^ "Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi Leadership".
  4. ^ "Reintroduction of Oryx in Chad".
  5. ^ "Sheikh Zayed Protected Areas Network".
  6. ^ "Recording 100 invertebrate species previously unknown in Abu Dhabi".
  7. ^ "Sustainable Fisheries Programme".
  8. ^ "Capturing Arabian Caracal on remote sensing camera".
  9. ^ "Tracking and tagging over 80 birds including Greater Flamingo using satellite-tracking".
  10. ^ "Sustainable Campus Initiative".
  11. ^ "Plastic Policy".
  12. ^ "National Fisheries Information System".
  13. ^ "Liwa Water Reserve".
  14. ^ "Liwa Water Reserve".