The UAE’s economy has traditionally been dominated by the petroleum industry but successful efforts at economic diversification have reduced the share of the oil and gas sector in the country’s GDP to approximately 36 per cent. The UAE has an open economy with one of the highest per capita incomes in the world and a sizeable annual trade surplus. By virtue of Vision 2021, the UAE is striving to diversify its income resources by moving away from oil. In January 2012, Sheikh Mohammed launched the Green Economy initiative under the slogan: A green economy for sustainable development. Under this initiative, the UAE seeks to become a global hub and a successful model of the new green economy, to enhance the country’s competitiveness and sustainability and preserve its environment for future generations.
Through this initiative, the UAE aims to become one of the world leaders in this area as well as a centre for the export and re-export of green products and technologies, and to maintain a sustainable environment to support long-term economic growth. The initiative includes a range of programmes and policies in the areas of energy, agriculture, investment and sustainable transport in addition to new environmental and constructional policies.
Sheikh Mohammed aims to build an economy that protects the environment as well as an environment that supports the growth of the economy.
The Green Economy initiative includes six major fields covering a wide range of legislation, policies, programmes and projects which are:
- The first field of green energy aims to promote the production and use of renewable energy.
- The second field includes government policies aimed to encourage investments in green economy and to facilitate the production, import, export and re-export of green products and technologies.
- The third field relates to developing urban planning policies that preserve the environment and to raise the efficiency of housing and buildings environmentally.
- The fourth field consists of means for dealing with the effects of climate change, promote organic agriculture, maintain biodiversity and protect the ecological balance.
- The fifth field aims at rationalising the use of water resources, electricity and natural resources and recycle waste.
- The sixth field includes development and promotion of green technology.