New research highlights the need for regional cooperation to meet the challenges facing the Indian Ocean

28 October 2018, Abu Dhabi: Research released today by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) highlights the importance of the Indian Ocean in the global conversation on ocean sustainability. The introductory chapter of the report, Charting the course for ocean sustainability in the Indian Ocean Rim, sponsored by Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, identifies key ocean issues facing the rim countries and assesses the pace of progress towards a blue economy.

 Many of the countries on the Indian Ocean rim are poised for rapid economic development over the next decade, which will come at a cost to the Indian Ocean’s vibrant marine ecosystems. As is the case globally, the Indian Ocean is victim to climate impacts, notably warming and acidification that are damaging marine habitats and the organisms that depend on it. Plastics pollution, unsustainable fishing practices and extraction of non-renewable marine resources are further degrading the marine environment. Researchers have found that 90% of plastic debris in the ocean comes from just ten rivers in Asia and Africa and between 26% and 33% of fish stocks are being fished at biologically unsustainable levels.

Melanie Noronha, editor of the report said: The report explores how ocean sustainability can be achieved through the lens of developing nations, taking into consideration the challenges of a low-income population as well as an environmental regulatory framework that has yet to mature.”


World Ocean Summit

A key priority for World Ocean Summit 2019, which will be held March 5 -7, will be to foster greater cooperation and collaboration between different groups, and to serve as a bridge between the development of economic policies and protecting the marine environment. The summit will convene to explore and develop a robust governance/regulatory framework for the sustainable ocean economy.

The forum aims to explore actionable solutions to key ocean challenges in the region, such as climate change and depletion of fish stocks, in the context of conservation of water resources and food security and reinforce the UAE’s leadership in the emerging dialogue on developing a sustainable ocean economy in the Gulf, Middle East and Indian Ocean regions.

“The EIU research shows that there are challenges but also points to some encouraging stories from the region. We want to showcase these positive stories as a step in the right direction and we look forward to exploring how the region can work together to create more positive stories and to highlight these at the summit in March 2019,” said Dr Mohammed Yousef Al Madfaei, Executive Director, Integrated Environment Policy & Planning, EAD.

“Bringing the World Ocean Summit to Abu Dhabi presents a unique opportunity to amplify the conversations on the sustainable development of the ocean in the Middle East and the wider region, and equally provides a platform for Abu Dhabi to share its innovative approaches to conservation, and developing a vibrant and sustainable ocean economy, with the rest of the world,” adds H.E. Khaleefa Salem Al Mansouri, Undersecretary of the Department for Economic Development – Abu Dhabi.

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About Environment Agency Abu Dhabi

Established in 1996, the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) is committed to protecting and enhancing air quality, groundwater as well as the biodiversity of our desert and marine ecosystem. By partnering with other government entities, the private sector, NGOs and global environmental agencies, we embrace international best practice, innovation and hard work to institute effective policy measures. We seek to raise environmental awareness, facilitate sustainable development and ensure environmental issues remain one of the top priorities of our national agenda.


About Department for Economic Development Abu Dhabi

Established by Law No. (2) of 2009, the Department of Economic Development is responsible for proposing economic policies and strategies, development plans and legislations aimed at realizing the Economic Vision 2030 Abu Dhabi in cooperation with other government departments and agencies, and submitting such proposals to the Executive Council for approval.

The Department provides a number of services with the aim of achieving sustainable economic development in the Emirate. Such services include organizing the business and commercial affairs sector, enhancing the investment climate, developing business related activities and services, preparing studies on economic and social variables at the level of the Emirate and analysis such using research, statistics and key economic indicators for all strategic sectors as specified by the Economic Vision 2030.

Vision: Driving the economic agenda of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi towards realizing balance, diversity and sustainability in a competitive knowledge-based economy.

Mission: An establishment focused on stakeholders and characterized by efficiency in enabling sustainable economic development of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, to strengthen the Emirate’s competitiveness and secure prosperity for its residents.

Values: Leadership, Interaction, Responsibility, Innovation and Team spirit.


About the World Ocean Summit

The sixth World Ocean Summit will strive to build greater collaboration across regions and connect the world to new ideas and perspectives. Taking place in March 2019, this world-renowned event will take place in the Middle East for the first time.

The Economist will bring together political leaders and policymakers, heads of global business, scientists, NGOs and multilaterals from across the globe, and will aim to provide a forum for discussion amongst a more diverse and representative participation on the future of the ocean than ever before. To keep up to date with press releases, content and to register to attend the Summit, please visit

For media enquiries, please contact:

EAD Press Office:

Environment Agency- Abu Dhabi

Tel:           +9712   693-4637

Mobile:     +97150 442-5096




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