Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the sixth edition of the World Ocean Summit will convene in Abu Dhabi next month, marking the very first time the international conference comes to the Middle East. The Summit will provide a forum for a global gathering of over 500 delegates – including heads of state, political leaders, policymakers, corporate heads and academics from more than 26 countries – to share dialogue on how best to innovate, govern and promote a sustainable blue economy, and explore new ways to mitigate the adverse impacts of human pressures on ocean health.
Hosted by the Abu Dhabi Government and supported by the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), the largest environmental regulator in the Middle East, and the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (DED), the World Ocean Summit will be held at the St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort from 5-7 March 2019. The World Ocean Summit will also be part of a series of activities celebrating the UAE’s rich seafaring traditions during the inaugural Abu Dhabi Blue Week running from 3-7 March 2019, which is set to feature a Heritage Village, a Dhow Show, a Beach Marathon, a Youth Circle discussion focusing on the importance of eco-tourism and a Blue Technology Exhibition by participating government entities, along Saadiyat Beach.
The conservation of the marine ecosystem remains a key priority for the UAE, as both an intrinsic part of the nation’s natural heritage, as well as a vital pillar supporting a booming blue economy – in line with Abu Dhabi Vision 2030 and UAE Vision 2021. With around 760 kilometers of coastline, Abu Dhabi is home to the world’s largest population of the Indian Ocean Humpback Dolphins and the second largest number of dugongs, among other marine species including sea turtles, sharks, and corals. An integrated marine management framework to promote the sustainable development of the ocean is critical for a region such as the Middle East, which has some of the warmest waters on the planet.