From 25-26 April, the consultancy firm Mott McDonald and the developer Emaar Properties, organized a workshop in Dubai (UAE) to review the EIA for the Dubai Creek Residences which lies close to the Ras Al Khor Ramsar Site. The Dubai Creek Residences forms part of the larger Dubai Creek Harbour project that aims to develop a new city covering an area of 6.5km2 immediately to the east of Ras Al Khor.
The workshop was attended by consultants working on behalf of Emaar Properties on the Dubai Creek Harbour project, as well as representatives from the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, Dubai Municipality, Ramsar Secretariat, wetland experts and local NGOs.
The workshop was very constructive and highlighted a number of areas in which the planning of not only the Dubai Creek Residences but also the Dubai Creek Harbour project could be improved in order to minimize any possible impacts on Ras Al Khor. These included the fact that where the development project borders Ras Al Khor, then the development can be designed so that the use and the landscape is sympathetic to the Ramsar Site. This includes zoning those areas of the development as ‘green’ buffer areas where the use is mainly for recreation.
Furthermore, Dubai Creek Harbour is just one of a number of development projects surrounding Ras Al Khor and that the cumulative impact from all of these projects needs to be considered. As a result, Dubai Municipality is planning to organize a Ramsar Advisory Mission, to invite international and local experts to review the possible cumulative impacts from these projects on Ras Al Khor.
The Ramsar Secretariat is grateful to Emaar Properties and Mott McDonald for organizing the workshop and to taking a proactive approach to minimize any possible impacts from their project on Ras Al Khor.
Author: Lew Young, Ramsar Senior Advisor for Asia