By His Excellency Eng. Dawood Abdul Rahman Abdullah Al Hajiri
It is my pleasure and honour to welcome you from the city of happiness, beauty, tourism, economy, environment, sustainability and the Smart city of Dubai, a city that welcomes all visitors and opens its arms to the future and even precedes it because it is the city of the future without a doubt.
Dubai Municipality's vision focuses on building a happy and sustainable city, happy with its achievements in all fields and sectors, and sustainable with its development projects, which set the environmental standards in mind to ensure the protection and sustainability of the environment.
The sponsorship of this important conference by Dubai Municipality is a culmination of our beloved country's efforts and reputation, and is in support of our strategic positioning. It strengthens our position in international forums, and also strengthens our leadership role and makes us a destination for other countries and an example to be followed at all levels.
The distinction of the Emirate of Dubai as a global destination qualified it as the first Arab city to host this important event to host this conference. Dubai is an important trade, financial and tourism centre.
Despite the fact that our country is in a desert region, the vital ecosystems of our wetlands are one of the most diverse and unique in the world. In 2007, we launched the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary as the first national wetlands site of global importance (Ramsar). It was launched as a global approach to providing a framework for the protection and rational use of wetlands and their resources and as a site that meets global standards. Since the declaration of the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary 33 years ago, we are working under the guidance, support and diligent follow-up of the wise government in preserving these national gains. The teachings of our religion have recommended to us to maintain the safety of our planet and human health. We are also committed to local, federal, regional and international legislation.
That is how the theme of this conference became "Wetlands for a Sustainable Urban Future" as a demonstration of our ability to live in harmony with the environment and preserve our resources despite the rapid steps towards urban development.
We are proud that despite the warm climate, the Emirate of Dubai is characterized by unique patterns of wetlands such as the mangroves, marshes and coral reefs of the Jebel Ali Reserve and the rare freshwater environment in the country in the Hatta mountain reserve.
We are aware of the importance of wetlands in our economic, environmental, educational and recreational life. We recognize the importance of partnerships and governance with different sectors in promoting environmental action, which is a responsibility of all towards the society in which we live. We also place great hopes in instilling these values in young people through awareness and training programs.
We are counting on the outcomes of this conference, especially with regard to the development of Ramsar sites in the list of wetlands of global importance.
Let me conclude and thank you for your gracious presence in the UAE. I wish you success in your noble endeavours. Welcome to Dubai, I wish you a pleasant stay here and a safe trip to your country.