NEW YORK – H.E Lana Nusseibeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations, honored the environmental legacy of His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the late founding father and President of the UAE in the presence of UN member states. The Ambassador delivered opening remarks at an event co-hosted by the Permanent Mission of the UAE to the UN and the Zayed International Foundation for the Environment, in collaboration with Dubai Police and the UN Office for South-South Cooperation.

The Ambassador highlighted Sheikh Zayed’s regional leadership in environmental sustainability and applauded the Zayed International Foundation for the Environment and Dubai Police for advancing his legacy and vision.    

“Sheikh Zayed understood the importance of protecting the environment for future generations,” underlined Ambassador Nusseibeh. “He understood that social and economic progress should not come at the expense of the environment. Today, the UAE continues his great legacy. Through government policies that empower private and public sector leaders to find solutions, the UAE has emerged at the forefront of environmental sustainability.”

The event featured remarks by Dr. Meshgan Al Awar, Secretary-General of the Zayed International Foundation for the Environment, who elaborated on Sheikh Zayed’s vision for environmental conservation. 

“Sheikh Zayed placed a strong emphasis on education and capacity building, particularly of youth. He invested heavily in protecting endangered species such as the Arabian Oryx, Falcons, Sea Turtles, in addition to the establishment of Protected Areas, because he believed that each living organism has a role to play in natural balance.” emphasized Dr. Al Awar.

She added, “The best manifestation of Sheikh Zayed’s efforts is what we can see in the UAE today – a green oasis in the desert, providing a model for development in an arid region. His dedication to sustainability came 41 years before the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, and his dreams have been translated into the policies and programmes that we see in the UAE today.” 

Mr. Jorge Chediek, Envoy of the UN Secretary-General on South-South Cooperation also commemorated the vision of the founding father of the UAE, as demonstrated through the nation’s foreign policy, which places a strong emphasis on international cooperation and support.