United Arab Emirates scores top regionally in Ocean Health Index

United Arab Emirates, January 30, 2018

The United Arab Emirates outperformed all other Gulf and Arab countries and was ranked 28th in the world in the Ocean Health Index (OHI), a tailorable marine assessment framework to comprehensively and quantitatively evaluate ocean health.

The UAE scored 77 points out of 100, although the global average of the Ocean Health Index requires only 70 points.

Commenting on the new achievement, Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said that the UAE scored top on the OHI, as a result of its commitment to sustaining marine biodiversity and ecosystems.

'Aiming at realising the goal of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to ‘Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development’, we have devised national plans and initiatives jointly with our regional and international partners,' he added.

He reiterated that 'Oceans are changing – and not for the better. Well-established scientific evidence shows that they are becoming warmer, and more acidic, putting marine life under serious pressure. But there is good news: evidence also indicates that oceans can regenerate and may one day overcome the impacts of environmental challenges, such as climate change.'

Al Zeyoudi also pointed out that, 'Business has a clear interest in reversing the decline in ocean health. The GDP derived from the ocean amounts to 5% of the world’s total GDP. The ocean is also the world’s biggest employer, directly supporting the livelihoods of more than three billion people. Restoring the ocean thus amounts to an unparalleled business opportunity. However, the ocean’s value goes far beyond economics. It provides half of the air we breathe and governs our weather.'

The Ocean Health Index reports current scores and annual changes since 2012, which were recalculated using updated methods and data based on the best available science, for 221 coastal countries and territories. The Index measures performance of ten societal goals for healthy oceans.

These goals include: Food provision (UAE scored 56 points), artisanal fishing opportunities (UAE scored 100 points), natural products (UAE scored 35 points), carbon storage (UAE scored 92 points), coastal protection (UAE scored 93 points), coastal livelihoods & economies (UAE scored 100 points), tourism & recreation (UAE scored 61 points), sense of place (UAE scored 68 points), clean waters (UAE scored 70 points), and biodiversity (UAE scored 90 points).

The Ocean Health Index measures and monitors oceans sustainability around the world to provide governments and economic institutions with ample information on the current state of these oceans. Understanding the state of oceans is a first step towards ensuring they can continue providing humans benefits now and in the future.

WAM