GCAA approves first environmental policy

HE Engineer Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy and Chairman of the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has approved the Environmental Policy of the civil aviation sector in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with the consent of all local authorities of civil aviation sector.

The approval of the policy represents UAE’s determination to meet its environmental objectives within the sustained growth of the civil aviation sector and to support initiatives to reduce environmental impacts.

The Environmental Policy for the civil aviation sector in the UAE, which is one of the first environmental policies on a state level, affirms the role of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to reduce the impact of emissions of civil aviation and climate change.

It calls for the application of environmental laws and regulations for United Arab Emirates, and puts the emphasis on encouraging strategic partners to provide reports on the environmental performance on regular basis. It also aims to encourage the formulation and adoption of environmental policies and plans by all strategic partners in the domestic aviation sector, as well as the application of best practices based on cost-effective and positive economic impact.

HE Engineer Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy and Chairman of the GCAA said: “The adoption of Environmental Policy for the civil aviation sector in the UAE is a major step taken by the aviation sector to reaffirm its role vis-a-vis the environmental matters within the fast paced growth it is witnessing.” Al Mansoori added: “The Environment Policy complements the Green Economy strategy that was announced in January with the ultimate aim of achieving sustainable transport.”

For his part, HE Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of GCAA explained: “Enhancing the environmental role of the GCAA in cooperation with local departments of civil aviation is part of our strategic plans to emphasize our role as civil aviation sector in environmental question.” He added: “the aviation sector gives high priority to environmental issues in an aim to have the UAE among the leading and pioneering states in this area internationally, we have succeeded in setting a regional example in taking positive and effective steps for the development of new environmental policies and encouraging innovation to preserve the natural and environmental resources”

Eng. Maryam Ali AlBalooshi, Manager of Environmental Studies at the GCAA, who oversaw the writing process and the delivery of the policy, explained that coming up with the final policy started with the formation of the Civil Aviation Environment working group which approved the idea of developing an environmental policy back in 2011 to be an umbrella for all the plans and future projects.

The working group had the conviction that the environment issue is crucial in today’s world to ensure a healthy and sustainable development, and that it is an important criterion for measuring the development of states. The work on the policy necessitated extensive comparative studies with a number of countries to explore the best environmental practices and policies and to know the difficulties and obstacles faced at the stage of the application.

The working group formed a smaller technical specialized team to work exclusively on the new policy. The technical group worked closely with the strategic partners in the civil aviation sector, local departments for civil aviation, airports, airlines, and Dubai World.
The approval of the Environmental Policy comes after a year and a half of extensive work to enhance the aviation sector’s involvement in the environmental matters and to lead the UAE towards a sustainable greener transport.

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