Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: SPA.2010.1.1-01 | Award Amount: 3.21M | Year: 2011

PanGeo is a service proposed in response to FP7 GMES Downstream Call 3 (released July 2009). The objective of PanGeo is to enable free and open access to geohazard information in support of GMES. This will be achieved by the generation of a validated Geohazard Data Layer supported by a Geohazard Summary for 52 of the largest towns listed in the GMES Land Themes Urban Atlas involving all 27 countries of the EU. Upon user enquiry, a PanGeo web-portal will automatically integrate the geohazard data with the Urban Atlas to highlight the polygons influenced. The datasets will be made discoverable, accessible and useable via a distributed web-map system as built and demonstrated by OneGeology Europe ( The key users of PanGeo are anticipated as: Local Authority planners and regulators who are concerned with managing development risk, National geological surveys and geoscience institutes who are obliged to collect geohazard data for public benefit, Policy-makers concerned with assessing and comparing European geological risk, much as the Urban Atlas data is used to compare the landcover/use status of European towns. Products will be made by integrating: a) interpreted InSAR terrain-motion data (derived from existing projects, e.g. ESA GSE Terrafirma plus new processing), b) geological information, and c) the landcover and landuse data contained within the Urban Atlas. The integration and interpretation, plus a validation of key features observed, will be made by the corresponding national Geological Survey for the towns concerned. It is planned to deliver the service for two Urban Atlas towns in each country of the EU (Luxembourg and Cyprus only 1), equalling fifty-two towns in total. The geological survey concerned will choose the towns for processing from the Urban Atlas list using their own knowledge as to where the information will be of most use, probably the largest towns, which, when extrapolated, would equal (13% of total EU urban population). User input to design will be facilitated by the Surveys contracted into the project and initiation of Local Authority Feedback Group. Terrafirma has shown the potential for the self-sustainability of services providing InSAR-derived terrain-motion data, as 30% of users have gone on to procure further product on a commercial basis. In PanGeo, it is anticipated that, by adding considerably more value as described above, and promoting the clear benefits of such key environmental information, that the local authorities of neighbouring towns will begin to demand similar.

News Article | December 6, 2016

Leaders, scientists and experts from around the world gathered today at one of the biggest international conferences dedicated to quinoa since 2013 was declared the International Year of Quinoa by the United Nations. More than 150 leaders, policymakers, scientists, experts and professionals from over 46 countries came together to discuss and share the latest developments in quinoa research, production and trade around the world, and develop a set of recommendations for quinoa cultivation in marginal environments which are affected by water scarcity and salinity. The global population is forecast to increase to 9.7 billion in 2050 and there are concerns about the capacity of agriculture to produce enough food for the growing population. By some estimates, food production will need to go up by about 60 percent either through an increase in crop yields per unit area or an expansion in the arable land by 2050 to meet the demand. Furthermore, several regions already suffering from malnutrition, water scarcity and soil degradation are forecast to have a large population growth, which raises concerns about whether traditional agricultural methods and crop species will have the capacity to sustain global food production targets. People living in marginal environments are particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate change on agriculture. Therefore, there is an urgent need to identify solutions to sustaining and possibly increasing agricultural productivity in areas where growing traditional crops has become difficult and sometimes uneconomical. Quinoa is widely considered a promising crop that can contribute to addressing these challenges. Addressing participants at the opening ceremony, His Excellency Dr. Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment of the UAE, said: "Climate change poses one of the greatest threats to humanity. Countries that already suffer from droughts, water shortages, and salinity are at an even greater risk. We urgently need to find solutions and adapt and where possible mitigate effects of climate change on different fronts, including agriculture. Ensuring future food security in marginal environments requires a shift in agricultural practices and innovative approaches to crop production systems. Quinoa can play a major role as a staple crop in marginal environments due to its adaptability to harsh environments including poor saline soils with annual rainfall as little as 200 mm." In his statement, Professor Reyadh AlMehaideb, Vice President of Zayed University, said: "We are pleased to host this international conference at Zayed University. It is a timely event as the world faces the implications of grand environmental challenges, and many countries experience food and nutrition insecurity as well as impacts from climate change. We believe that the conference will be an excellent platform for scientists and experts to look at these challenges and come up with a shared vision on how crops like quinoa that grows in marginal land can help address them." An Oxfam study in 2009 showed that 45.9% of the poor in Sub-Saharan Africa and 25.3% in Asia live in marginal environments. According to FAO's 'The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015', 793 million people are undernourished globally. Despite the growing global recognition of quinoa's potential, and positive research outcomes in pilot studies in recent years, there are still many constraints and issues to be addressed before quinoa becomes a crop of choice in marginal areas where major crops have long been dominant but are progressively failing to withstand increasing salinity and lack of water. Speaking at the conference, Dr. Ismahane Elouafi, Director General of the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA), said: "There has been considerable research on quinoa in recent years. Scientists at ICBA have also evaluated and tested the performance of several quinoa cultivars for their productivity when grown in marginal conditions. However, there are still many areas to be researched and improved as we introduce quinoa into agriculture in marginal environments, in order to make sure its introduction and production systems are beneficial to the communities and their ecosystems now and in the future." These challenges include, among others, limited availability of genetic material for cultivation outside the Andes, limited knowledge of best management practices - especially nutrient and water requirements, pest and disease control, harvesting and processing under marginal growing conditions, and lack of suitable marketing channels where smallholder farmers could sell their produce. Mr. Abdessalam Saleh Ould Ahmed, FAO Assistant Director General and Regional Representative for the Near East and North Africa, said: "The United Nations declared 2013 the International Year of Quinoa and this gave a renewed impetus to efforts to study nutritional, economic, environmental and cultural value of this food. We hope that this conference will be a turning point in raising awareness on the potential of quinoa for food and nutrition security in marginal environments." Held under the title of 'Quinoa for Future Food and Nutrition Security in Marginal Environments' and running through December 8, the conference seeks to find ways to implement research and development programs and initiatives to introduce and scale up quinoa in marginal environments. The conference is also aimed at building partnerships between public and private institutions, research and development organizations, and serving as a platform for the transfer of the latest innovation and knowledge on quinoa. Held under the patronage of Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of State for Tolerance of the UAE and President of Zayed University, the conference is organized by the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment of the United Arab Emirates, Zayed University, the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), and with the technical contribution of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) is an international, non-profit research-for-development organization that aims to strengthen agricultural productivity in marginal and saline environments through identifying, testing and facilitating access to sustainable solutions for food, nutrition and income security. Zayed University is a national and regional leader in educational innovation and change. It has created and implemented a skills-rich, outcome-based general education program that systemically develops student skills, knowledge, and values associated with liberal learning and provides a solid foundation for pursuit of disciplinary majors and future careers. Zayed University welcomes national and international students, and provides them with a high quality education, offered by seasoned teaching scholars to prepare them to shape the future of the United Arab Emirates. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Headquartered in Rome, Italy and operating in over 130 countries, it provides development assistance aimed at strengthening agriculture, forestry and fisheries, improving nutrition, and reducing poverty. FAO focuses special attention on developing rural areas, home to 70 percent of the world's poor and hungry. About the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment was established in February 2006 as the Ministry of Environment and Water. The ministry acquired its new name following the UAE Cabinet reshuffle in February 2016 and the subsequent integration of the climate change function. Under its redefined scope, the ministry has taken on a dual mandate. On the national level, the ministry aims to strengthen the UAE's efforts in preserving the environment and promoting food diversity in accordance with the nation's aspiration to emerge as a key benchmark for sustainable development. On the global level, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment will join international stakeholders in combating climate change and profile the UAE's path-breaking achievements in the sector at thought leadership platforms worldwide.

Milchev B.,University of Forestry | Georgiev V.,Ministry of Environment and Water
Hystrix | Year: 2012

The Roach's mouse-tailed dormouse (Myomimus roachi) is an endangered mammal in Europe with poorly known distribution and biology in Bulgaria. Cranial remains of 15 specimens were determined among 30532 mammals in Barn Owl (Tyto alba) pellets in 35 localities from 2000 to 2008 and 32941 mammals in Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo) pellets in 59 localities from 1988 to 2011 in SE Bulgaria. This dormouse was present with single specimens in 11 localities and whit 4 specimens in one locality. It is one of the rarest mammals in the region that forms only up to 1% by number of mammalian prey in the more numerous pellet samples. The existing protected areas ecological network covers six out of 15 (40%) localities where the species has been detected in the last two decades. We discuss the necessity of designation of new Natura 2000 zones for the protection of the Roach's mouse-tailed dormouse in Bulgaria. © 2013 Associazione Teriologica Italiana.

Anda A.,University of Pannonia | Diossy L.,Ministry of Environment and Water
Ecohydrology | Year: 2010

Local consequences of the global climate change in the Carpathian Basin were followed on the basis of simulated stomatal resistances. The Crop Microclimate Simulation Model of Goudriaan was applied in our study. The expected weather, plant and soil modifications were based on long-term observations during the time period 1961-1990 in the Keszthely area (Hungary, N 46°44', E 17°14'; altitude 112 m). Besides application of the A2 and B2 SRES scenarios, the impact of extreme hot days was also included in the study. This was necessary as these events have recently occurred more and more frequently. Demonstration of weather scenarios with relatively high warming rates was made possible by the high resolution of the model, simulating even daily changes. The stomatal resistance significantly increased in all scenarios, as was indeed experienced in the last decade (1997-2006). A twofold increase in CO2 concentration approximately halves stomatal openings even under unchanged weather conditions. This can be considered as an advantageous side effect of the global climate change on the plant's water balance, important in continental climate because of scarce precipitation. In Scenarios A2 and B2, increases in resistance were close to the effect of doubled CO2 concentration. Surprisingly, the effect of an increase in the number of extreme hot days on stomatal resistance was moderate, below than what might have been expected. The common impact of the environmental and biological factors on stomatal resistance was realized using normalized leaf area indices, where the highest increases were predicted by using the hottest and driest scenario. Moderate changes in water loss and photosynthesis indicated a certain amount of available soil moisture reserve even in the extreme weather situations in July, at Keszthely. Decrease in carbon assimilation can occur in days with extreme temperatures. Our scenarios do not include significant precipitation decline because of forecast uncertainties. A significant precipitation decrease would fundamentally reshape our results, so we do not propose to extend our conclusions in the case of significant modification in rainfall amount or distribution. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Bojadgieva K.,Bulgarian Academy of Science | Benderev A.,Bulgarian Academy of Science | Berova-Andonova A.,Ministry of Environment and Water | Tsanov T.,Ministry of Environment and Water
Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy | Year: 2013

The territory of Bulgaria is rich in thermal water of temperature in the range of 20 °C-100 °C. Electricity generation from geothermal water is not currently available in the country. Direct thermal water use nowadays is mainly for balneology, space heating and air-conditioning, greenhouse heating, geothermal ground source heat pumps (GSHP), direct thermal water supply, and bottling of potable water and soft drinks. Several applications such as balneology and geothermal ground source heat pumps show more stable development in the current period, while geothermal energy used for heating of buildings and greenhouses has considerably decreased. The update information on hydrothermal fields is based on issued permits and concessions by the state since 2000 and concerns mainly state-owned hydrothermal fields. The current installed capacity amounts to about 85.8 MW (excl. GSHP). A progress has been recently made in the state policy promoting thermal water utilization. According to the latest amendments of the Water Act taxes for thermal water application are considerably reduced, and many state-owned reservoirs are made available for use by the municipalities. © 2013 AIP Publishing LLC.

Sherif M.,United Arab Emirates University | Almulla M.,Ministry of Environment and Water | Shetty A.,United Arab Emirates University | Chowdhury R.K.,United Arab Emirates University
International Journal of Climatology | Year: 2014

Spatial and temporal characteristics of rainfall in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were investigated. The region is divided into four climate zones (East Coast, Mountains, Gravel Plains and Desert Foreland) of distinguished rainfall distribution. The rainfall patterns, rainfall probability of occurrences, rainfall intensity-duration-frequency (IDF) relationship, probable maximum precipitation (PMP) and drought scenarios were investigated. Daily rainfall data from a network of stations across the UAE were used. Standard statistical techniques were applied for data analyses. The Gumbel, log Pearson, generalized extreme value, log normal, Wakeby and Weibull probability distributions were tested to fit extreme rainfalls. Both Gumbel and Weibull distributions were found adequate. Measures of dispersion and symmetry of rainfall patterns were found relatively high. The estimated PMP values were found highest in the East Coast region and lowest in the Gravel Plains region. Estimated drought severity index showed that the regions have similar trends of drought patterns over the years. The study is useful for sustainable water resources planning and management in the region. © 2013 Royal Meteorological Society.

Sherif M.M.,United Arab Emirates University | Mohamed M.M.,Cairo University | Shetty A.,Ministry of Environment and Water | Almulla M.,Ministry of Environment and Water
Journal of Hydrologic Engineering | Year: 2010

Hydrologic Engineering Center-Hydrologic Modeling System model is used to estimate the water storage in the lakes of three dams due to rainfall events in three wadis located in the northern area of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Like other arid and semiarid regionsrainfall events in the three wadis are limitedscatteredand random. For model calibrationthe simulated results were compared with the observed water storage data for several storm events. A family of rainfall-runoff/storage curves was developed based on the duration and intensity of rainfall events. These curves can be used for prediction of surface water runoff in the three wadis and water storage in the dams in response to different rainfall events. The same rainfall event in wadi Bih generates almost twice as much of the surface water runoff generated in each of wadi Ham and wadi Tawiyean. This is mainly attributed to the large catchment area of wadi Bih as compared to the other two wadis. The sensitivity analysis revealed that the amounts of water storage in dams are highly correlated to the assigned curve number especially for the cases of wadi Bih and wadi Tawiyean. © 2011 ASCE.

Sherif M.,United Arab Emirates University | Mohamed M.,United Arab Emirates University | Mohamed M.,Cairo University | Kacimov A.,Sultan Qaboos University | Shetty A.,Ministry of Environment and Water
Desalination | Year: 2011

Extraction of brackish groundwater in coastal aquifers is believed not only to mitigate the effects of seawater intrusion but also to reduce the desalination cost of the extracted water. However, evaluation of the groundwater quality in coastal aquifers is an essential initial step before determining the locations of brackish water extraction wells and extraction rates. Therefore, this paper presents spatial and temporal assessments of the groundwater quality in the coastal aquifer of Wadi Ham located in northeastern part of UAE. This assessment is considered as precursor for evaluation of the aquifer potentiality as source for water desalination. A total of 245 water samples from 26 different observation wells were collected over the period from 1989 to 2006 to assess the origin and quality of the groundwater in this coastal aquifer. It was found that saltwater intrusion from the Gulf of Oman was not the main source of brackish water in several parts of the aquifer prior to year 2000. However, results also show that more recently seawater intrusion has become the leading factor of water salinity in the aquifer especially near the coast. It was found that seawater intrusion extended about 8. km inland from the coast of the Gulf of Oman. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

News Article | November 24, 2015

To quench that demand, cities across the seven emirates that make up the UAE rely on desalinated seawater to supply 98 percent of their drinking water, but that comes with a tremendous environmental and fiscal cost. Now, officials are looking at new technologies to cover that demand, while acknowledging the risks ahead. "In our region, water is more important than oil," said Ahmad Belhoul, the CEO of Masdar, the Abu Dhabi government's clean-energy company. "We're trying to find solutions to address that." While the Emirates rose on its oil wealth, the riches spurred the development that strains the water supply in this desert nation. An academic paper published earlier this year by scientists at the United Arab Emirates University in Al Ain, one of the emirates, suggested the country's entire supply of groundwater could be gone by 2030. Currently, groundwater accounts for 44 percent of all water consumption in the UAE, though much of it goes toward irrigation for farming, according to a report by the Ministry of Environment and Water. In the cities, the country's 33 desalination plants supply nearly every drop of water. Desalination plants are nothing new across the Middle East, with Bahrain, Israel, Kuwait, Libya, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia having some of the world's biggest facilities. However, the cost of building and operating the plants can run in the billions, and they also require massive amounts of energy to separate the salt from the water and purify it for consumption. The leftover heated saltwater gets discharged back into the sea, where it can affect marine life. But even with the crisis facing the Emirates, water remains cheap and often wasted. Errant sprinklers water sidewalks in city-state Dubai, as leaking pipes pool puddles on roadways. A study this year by the United Nations found that residents of the UAE and most of its Gulf neighbors use around 500 liters (132 gallons) of water per day—among some of the highest usage around the world. That waste is something Belhoul himself acknowledged as a problem. "There has been some overuse of water driven by the lower tariffs," Belhoul told The Associated Press. "If you don't pass on the price to the end user, the natural behavior is to consume more water." Beyond raising prices, officials hope new desalination techniques being tested on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi will allow solar energy to replace natural gas as an energy source, as well as make the plants smaller and cheaper to operate. On a tour Monday, they offered visiting dignitaries water produced there in crystal glasses. After taking a sip, Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber, the UAE's minister of state, gave it his approval: "It tastes just like Evian." Ahmad Belhoul, the CEO of the Masdar, the Abu Dhabi government's clean-energy company, on the left, speaks to colleagues at an event at a desalination test facility on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Monday, Nov. 23, 2015. Authorities took journalists on a tour of the facility to show ways the United Arab Emirates, which relies heavily on desalinated seawater for its drinking water, is trying to make the process more environmentally friendly. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell) A laborer and two waitresses prepare glasses of desalinated water for visiting dignitaries at a desalination test facility on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Monday, Nov. 23, 2015. Authorities took journalists on a tour of the facility to show ways the United Arab Emirates, which relies heavily on desalinated seawater for its drinking water, is trying to make the process more environmentally friendly. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell) Explore further: UAE says falling oil prices will not impact clean energy

Al-Karaki G.N.,Ministry of Environment and Water | Al-Karaki G.N.,Jordan University of Science and Technology
Emirates Journal of Food and Agriculture | Year: 2013

Date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) is a significant and developing crop especially in the Arabian Peninsula, the Middle East and North Africa regions. The area under cultivation of this tree is increasing annually. Date palms usually grown under harsh and unfavorable growing conditions with low rainfall and high rates of evaporation as well as in soils with low organic matter and nutrient deficiencies. Hence, date palm cultivation becomes dependent on application of high levels of fertilizers as well as on irrigation. This may lead to salinization of soil and leaching of nutrients to deep soils that might affect ground water. Therefore, it is important that date palm plantations are managed in a sustainable way to reduce the impact of date palm cultivation on ecosystems while maximizing dates yield through using such practices as mycorrhizal fungi technology. The application of mycorrhizal fungi technology is an option that can benefit both agronomic plant health and ecosystems. Mycorrhizae confer numerous benefits to host plants including improved plant growth and mineral nutrition, water uptake, tolerance to diseases and stresses such as drought, temperature fluctuation, metal toxicity and salinity. Mycorrhizae may also play a role in the formation of stable soil aggregates, building up a macro porous structure of soil that allows penetration of water and air and prevents erosion. All of these beneficial effects on plant health and soil fitness mean that mycorrhizae have the potential to increase agricultural productivity and are crucial for the sustainable functioning of agricultural ecosystems. This study provides an insight into the application of mycorrhizae in date palm cultivation.

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