Abu Dhabi gets an atlas; Arab region to follow in 2012


This blog article has been produced for Eye on Earth Summit 2011 by SciDev.Net Conference Service, which maintains all editorial independence.

The Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD) has launched the Environmental Atlas of Abu Dhabi Emirate, at the Eye on Earth summit in Abu Dhabi (12–15 December).

The 200-page full-colour Atlas highlights the natural heritage of Abu Dhabi through a narrative interwoven with stories, case studies, facts and statistics, illustrative figures, anecdotes, photographs and thematic maps.

The deputy Secretary General of EAD, Jaber Al Jaberi, said that the project is a tool to facilitate data access for  children, as “they can easily learn about Abu Dhabi’s environment”.

But insiders told SciDev.Net it was a result of the competitive spirit that exists among the emirates, which have just celebrated the 40th anniversary of their union. Not to be overshadowed by its neighbour Dubai  Abu Dhabi wanted to show the world it is a leader in  environmentalism.

The Atlas showcases the remarkable story of Abu Dhabi’s environmental heritage and highlights its profound influence on the past, present and future of human and cultural development. By informing and educating the reader, it aims to raise awareness and present a call for action to protect the environmental richness and diversity of the emirate.

The Atlas is facilitated by the Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI) in partnership with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). They are now working on a similar project – The Arab Region Atlas.

The programme manager of AGEDI, Catherine Armour, said that we need these kind of atlases to provide us with data that help us to make right decisions.

Faris Sayegh, senior consultant at GPCGIS, a global network of information professionals, said: “The Arab Region Atlas is putting the spotlight on the impact of human activities in the Middle East and North Africa region, and documenting climate change impacts using current and historical satellite images, and a narrative based on extensive scientific evidence.”

The Arabic Atlas is expected to be published 2012, and it will aim to draw the attention of decision makers and the public to environmental changes, and help them in taking the right decisions.

Rehab Abd Almohsen

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