Environment Agency Abu Dhabi

Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) is a governmental agency that was established in 1996. It is committed to protecting and managing biodiversity, providing a clean environment and promoting Sustainable Development in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.[1]

It is also committed to giving environmental protection, regulation and natural resources conservation a high priority on the national agenda. Its scope is to provide a direction for government, business and the community to build environmental considerations into the way they plan and live without compromising Abu Dhabi’s development.


The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) has its main headquarters in the city of Abu Dhabi, with an office in Al Ain city and in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi Emirate. EAD has an extensive customer service network, with 11 branches across the Emirate.


The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) is chaired by H.H Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi Emirate; His Excellency Mohamed Ahmed Al Bowardi, Member of Executive Council of Abu Dhabi Emirate is the Managing Director; H.E Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak is the Secretary General; and H.E Dr. Jaber Al Jaberi is Deputy Secretary General.


The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) was formerly known as ‘The Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency’ (ERWDA), which was established in 1996 with Law No. 4, with the main objectives of protecting the natural environment, wildlife and biological diversity through monitoring and submitting of proposals and recommendations; carrying out studies and research required for the protection of the environment and wildlife; and promoting sustainable development in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.


The Agency inaugurated its strategic environmental action plan in December 1999. The plan consisted of six strategic goals that reflected the environmental concerns, needs, and responsibilities of the people who work and live in the Emirate. The six strategic goals were:

  1. An environmental and natural resources regulatory system.
  2. An environmental and natural resources monitoring system.
  3. A management regime for fisheries.
  4. A management regime for water resources.
  5. A regime for management and rehabilitation for wildlife.
  6. A society for increased environmental awareness and education.

Being the competent authority responsible for implementing federal and emirate-level environmental laws and regulations, the agency coordinated with other local stakeholders, and particularly the federal entities. e.g. the Federal Environment Agency (FEA) and the Ministry of Environment and Water.

Memorandums of Understanding

ERWDA also signed a number of MoUs with local and international entities, of which the most significant was the agreement signed with the United Nations Environment Programme/Regional Office for West Asia (UNEP/ROWA) to implement the Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI).

In the years following ERWDA and UNEP/ROWA worked together to address the need to improve environmental data/information infrastructure including environmental data quality, collection, analysis, exchange, sharing, updating and dissemination.

In the early years of the Agency, its efforts were focused on ensuring the compliance of the government and private sectors with the established standard codes of practice regarding environmental impact assessment 'EIA', environmental safety and risk assessment, chemical and hazardous waste management and environmental monitoring. As part of its efforts to ensure a sustainable balance between economic growth and a healthy environment, ERWDA established in 2003 an Air Quality Monitoring and Management Programme.

Scope and Objectives

In 2005, H.H Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, passed a law (Law No. 16) that restructured the competent authority for the environment in Abu Dhabi. The Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency (ERWDA) became known as the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD).

Law No. 16 of 2005 with regards to the restructuring of EAD states that it remains an independent entity with full capacity and financial and administrative independence. It is chaired by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and remains the responsible authority for environmental and wildlife issues in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The law stipulates that all Government departments and agencies are required to coordinate and cooperate with the Agency on issues related to researches, studies and programs that concern the environment and wildlife.

The agency's objectives are specified in Law No. (16) of 2005 pertaining to the Reorganization of the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency.[2]

Strategic Priority Areas

Areas of focus

Based on Law No. 16 and to develop its capacity as an effective regulator to conserve biodiversity, promote sustainable development, and tackle the threat of climate change in Abu Dhabi, the Agency focused on six areas of equal priority which are:

  1. To develop and implement an effective environmental regulatory and policy framework for Abu Dhabi
  2. To conserve groundwater through integrated water resources management
  3. To conserve and protect biodiversity
  4. To ensure clean air Andover minimize climate change and its impacts
  5. To promote sustainable communities and engaged stakeholders
  6. To continually improve the way the agency works

Service Provision

Science & Research

EAD utilizes a range of expertise inside and outside of the organisation in order to evaluate and assess the optimal environmental conditions of Abu Dhabi Emirate. The requirements of the community, industries, and habitats are all evaluated in parallel with the Emirate's development.

Using scientific expertise, on-the-ground research and global best practice to study the gamut of environmental conditions to maintain and continually improve the fine balance in the Emirate, EAD is able to guide through policy and directly influence change in Abu Dhabi.

From veterinary experts to groundwater inspections, EAD's scientific expertise in many fields leads to regulatory and policy implementations as well as the production of books, brochures, technical publications, educational materials and consumer guides that impact perception and improve Abu Dhabi's overall environmental conditions.

Policy & Regulation

In accordance with Federal Law No.24 of 1999 for the Protection and Development of the Environment, various industrial/commercial facilities and development projects require an environmental permit or No Objection Certificate prior to the commencement of site activities. In addition, certain environmental studies may be required in order to process the permit. EAD works with its stakeholders to review and approve environmental permits for development, infrastructure and industrial projects.

EAD has Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the permitting of industrial and commercial facilities, chemical and hazardous materials facilities and development and infrastructure projects. These SOPs are intended to help guide consultants through the process for obtaining an environmental permit through EAD. In addition, EAD has a procedure to register environmental consultants.

Environmental Education

EAD places great emphasis upon the role of future generations as citizens in communities as much as Business and Government leaders, in protecting the environment.

EAD’s aim is to help educate, equip, empower and inspire the next generation in order to realise an environmentally sustainable future. Its programmes are supported by the Abu Dhabi Education Council.

EAD designs, develops and supports the roll-out of structured, systematic and award-winning environmental education programmes in schools and universities and therefore, improves the capabilities of relevant stakeholders to deliver environmental education and help to bring about behaviour change through effective local partnership. These include its Sustainable Schools Initiative, the Annual Enviro-Spellathon, the Annual Environment Competition and the Sustainable Campus Initiative. EAD also establishes and initiates regional and international networks to assist the learning and sharing of best practices and the attainment of desired environmental education standards.[3]


EAD focuses on supporting the business and government sector and seeks to raise their awareness of environmental issues facing Abu Dhabi Emirate and promote a sense of shared responsibility across business and government.

EAD endeavours to help business and government play an active part in the protection of the environment by building a broad network and bank of resources. It equips them with best practice know-how, provide actionable information and access to the tools to help improve organisational behaviour and to help business and government operate environmentally sustainable business practices.

EAD states that it is conscious of being part of the wider community and of the shared desire to live and work in a safe and healthy environment.

EAD seeks to reach out to communities and encourage sustainable and environmentally-friendly practices among Abu Dhabi’s citizens and residents by developing their awareness of environmental issues building their capacity, sharing knowledge with them and providing them with resources, tools and guides to help our communities become sustainable.


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