The UAE, under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE - may God protect him - received great support and interest in the environmental affairs in order to achieve two main strategic goals: Protection and development of the environment and achieving sustainable development, and in this framework, Law No. 2 of 2007 was issued to establish the Environment Protection and Development Authority in Ras Al Khaimah as a competent body in environmental affairs in the Emirate, and to integrate its role with similar local bodies in the other emirates under the leadership of the Ministry of Environment and Water in order to activate the environmental work system at the state level.
Under the vision of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai - may God protect him - which stresses on the role of the human element in achieving comprehensive development on the grounds that people are the real capital, while at the same time humans have one of the biggest impacts on the environment; therefore, preparing and educating people environmentally is very important, and as Allah Almighty says in the Quran: "Indeed, we offered the trust to the heavens and the earth and the mountains, and they declined to bear it and feared it; but man [undertook to] bear it. Indeed, he was unjust and ignorant"; therefore the protection and conservation of environment is the responsibility of all individuals and incumbent upon them, and if the laws that govern the relations between the elements of the environment are not subject to change, the human knowledge of the impact of his behavior on the environment enables them to change this behavior through studied methods, considering that understanding the relations and laws that organize the environment is what enables to a great extent dealing with environmental issues in a better manner, as it also enables avoiding a lot of the environmental problems before they occur, especially since a large number of individuals harm the environment in many ways, intentionally or unintentionally, where in the time where warnings are getting louder on the effects of environmental issues and their aggravation, the negative behavior of humans toward it is increasing - some of these behaviors even counter the rights of citizens and residents to live in a safe, healthy and sustainable environment which makes it imperative for the state to enact laws to protect the rights and oblige offenders to respect the environment and its resources. But in spite of the importance of these laws and legislations in protecting and maintaining the environment, we cannot rely on them alone without educating individuals about their rights and responsibilities toward the environment, and increasing the level of their awareness of the importance of belonging to the environment and their respect of the organizing laws in dealing with it, and the importance of realizing its issues and positively assisting in resolving them, which is known as Environmental Citizenship.
Under the guidance of HH Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah - may God protect him - the EPDA was formed to strategically reduce the negative environmental effects of industrial and development activities, and improve the quality of the environment through environmental inspection, monitoring, evaluation and control, and to provide protection and sustainable management of biodiversity and natural resources, and increase the level of environmental awareness and access to environmentally responsible actions through awareness-oriented programs and community participation, and to identify the critical level in the exploitation of natural resources so as to ensure the right of the future generations in benefiting from them, and to strengthen the institutional capacity of the EPDA in order to provide excellent services to its customers.
With the ongoing follow-up of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Saud Al Qasimi, Crown Prince of Ras Al Khaimah and Chairman of the EPDA - may God protect him - the authority seeks to develop its strategy and action plans to achieve the objectives it was created for, through working on the development of the technical and administrative staff of the authority, and activating partnerships and agreements with the different bodies, and to intensify field visits to follow-up on environmental conditions and protect ecosystems, and seek to establish the principle that protecting the environment is everyone's responsibility. The authority also seeks to raise the status and reputation of the emirate and the state regionally and globally through the establishment of international exhibitions and conferences in the emirate.
Lastly, I would like to express my thanks and gratitude to all the authority's employees, partners, and customers and all segments of society and those who contributed and made efforts to achieve the vision and message of the authority.
H.E. Dr. Saif Mohammed Al Ghais
Director General of EPDA-RAK