The 12th WEEC will be held in Abu Dhabi in 2024

Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary-General of EAD (in the middle) with Ahmed Baharoon, Executive Director, Environmental Information, Science and Outreach Management, EAD on the left and Prof Mario Salomone Secretary General of the WEEC Network on the right

Honourable Attendees,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to express my happiness in announcing the selection of the United Arab Emirates to host the twelfth round of the World Conference on Environmental Education in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in 2024. This event will be held under the patronage of His Highness H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), with the theme “Connecting People, Creating Tomorrow.”

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Organising Committee of WEEC for selecting the UAE. We are so honoured that an event as important as WEEC will be on our home soil, and we will work around the clock to ensure that it is a great success and platform for positive change. I am confident that the UAE, with its advanced and distinguished capabilities, will be able to make this important conference a success and achieve its desired goals. We will strive to support efforts to exchange knowledge and dialogue between specialists and those who are interested in the field of environmental education, from individuals, institutions, networks and alliances.

It is an absolute honour to be here with you today at the World Environmental Education Congress 2022 in Prague.

WEEC is a unique event because it brings together a range of specialists and professionals dedicated to environmental education. We all know that instigating change in communities to adopt environmentally friendly behaviour is only possible through rigorous environmental education.

We are fortunate in our day and age that governments have started adopting strategies to place the environment very high up on the national agenda. We are also lucky that more individuals in society are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of saving the planet – especially our children.

But we still have a long way to go, and that is why events like WEEC are critical as a sounding board to ensure that environmental education continues across all countries.

The UAE is a country that values the environment greatly, and our leadership provides us with unconditional support so that all environmentalists and organisations can achieve their goals – especially as a woman. And that is why I am very proud to be an Emirati woman working in the field of environment.

There are more women joining the field, and I know that several of them in my team decided to pursue this career path because they were inspired through environmental education. This reflects its importance and the only way we can empower the upcoming generations to become advocates and ambassadors for the environment, is by proving them immense access to more knowledge.

In Abu Dhabi, through EAD we have more than 20 years experience in environmental education. We first started in 1999 with our very first Nature Bus and today, EAD is implementing many pioneering environmental awareness programmes in more than 85% of public and private schools in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Throughout the past years, we have received many prestigious awards in recognition and appreciation for our distinguished efforts and innovative programs in the field of environmental awareness.

On a final note, I invite you all to Abu Dhabi to participate in WEEC in 2024. We await you with open arms and our hearts and minds. We aim to continue the legacy of WEEC, which brings together like-minded individuals who play a very significant role when it comes to environmental education.

Thank you