Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi and Emirates Nature-WWF announce newest Youth Ambassadors for Nature in the Year of Sustainability and COP28
- 10 homegrown heroes selected to represent the youth voice and advocate for nature, after demonstrating knowledge, passion and commitment for the environment through training and on-ground conservation events organised by Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi and Emirates Nature-WWF
- The Youth Ambassadors for Nature will begin their year-long journey at COP28, shaping global discourse on climate and nature, and inspiring UAE youth to explore, study and protect nature
Abu Dhabi, 30 November 2023: The region’s largest environmental regulator, the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) and leading environmental charity Emirates Nature-WWF have announced the second cohort of UAE Youth Ambassadors for Nature, concluding a months-long search for inspiring youth changemakers in the Year of Sustainability and COP28. This initiative is part of the larger Connect with Nature youth movement, which inspires, empowers and mentors the next generation of leaders and environmentalists.
10 UAE youth, aged between 16-35 and representing 7 nationalities were chosen for the prestigious and voluntary role of Ambassadors for Nature after demonstrating their commitment to safeguarding nature. They have since completed an intense 3-day training programme to refine their skills in environmental leadership, public speaking, advocacy and community engagement, and are ready to champion climate and nature solutions on the local, regional and global stage.
The Youth Ambassadors for Nature will commence their journey at the upcoming UN Conference of Youth (COY18), where their insights will help shape international climate policies. At COP28, they will raise awareness around the urgency for all members of society to take action for nature, engaging directly with the public, youth and stakeholders through a series of Youth Majlis discussions in the Green Zone. Post-COP28, they will play an instrumental role in leading their communities to explore, study and protect nature through Connect with Nature events and citizen science.
“UAE Youth continue to impress us with their expansive knowledge of environmental issues and dedication to lead the way towards a greener tomorrow,” commented Ahmed Baharoon, Executive Director of Environment Information, Science Outreach Management Sector at EAD. “We were delighted to see students and young professionals step up to become Youth Ambassadors for Nature, demonstrating confidence and courage as they prepare to address world leaders, civil society and members of their communities at COP28 – the first stop in their year-long journey of advocating for climate and nature solutions. By proudly representing the youth voice at COP28, Ambassadors for Nature are contributing to the nation’s legacy of ensuring the most inclusive COP ever.”
“I warmly congratulate our newest Ambassadors for Nature, who are joining a growing community of youth leaders, changemakers and environmentalists in UAE, in the footsteps of the late Sheikh Zayed. The optimism shown by UAE youth is inspiring and contagious – I have great confidence in their ability to lead the change and rally even more youth to take action for nature at COP28 and beyond,” remarked Laila Mostafa Abdullatif, Director General, Emirates Nature-WWF.
Building a strong post-COP28 legacy for UAE youth
COP28 will serve as a springboard for deeper engagement with local communities and youth in particular. Over the upcoming year, Ambassadors for Nature will liaise with their peers to understand key questions from UAE youth and champion initiatives that address identified challenges and opportunities. They will have the opportunity to speak at prominent events and organise their own community activities to inspire UAE youth to be part of the solution, co-create and launch innovative solutions, and maximise their impact on-ground through the UAE’s largest movements for nature and citizen science: Connect with Nature, Leaders of Change and Sahim.
"As a Youth Ambassador for Nature, I'm excited to make a positive impact on our environment. Let's inspire others to protect and preserve nature for future generations” commented Ahmad Almessabi 22, from United Arab Emirates.
“As a Youth Ambassador for Nature, I look forward to motivating people to look into nature for the answers to the problems they are facing,” commented Dana Al Dhaen, an environmental scientist and artist. She strives to expand her knowledge of local plants in the UAE as she believes there is more potential to be discovered from these plants. She is especially passionate about applying biomimicry to various industries, emulating nature's forms, processes, and ecosystems to create sustainable solutions that solve human problems.
Faris Saadaat, a student at Dubai College, is delighted to have been selected as a Youth Ambassador for Nature: “Climate change will keep moving faster than us, unless we increase our pace to address this critical issue. This challenge cannot be solved without involving youth at the grassroots level. I sincerely believe that the knowledge and experience gained through the Ambassadors for Nature platform will help us collectively make a bigger impact in our fight against climate change and biodiversity loss.”
The 2023 cohort of UAE youth Ambassadors for Nature includes: Ahmad Abdulla Almessabi (22) from the UAE, Dana Al Dhaen (24) from the UAE, Dev Narayan Syam (17) from India, Faris Saadaat (18) from Pakistan, Khaled Saleh Husain Masaad Alazbe (24) from Bahrain, Majed Abdullah Bin Saad (25) from Yemen, Maram Saif Mohammed (22) from the UAE, Nuha Mohideen (19) from Sri Lanka, Tejasvi Prakash (35) from India, and Valeriia Garanina (30) from Russia. They will continue to develop leadership and community engagement skills, while also working on their own innovative solutions through ongoing training, mentorship and support provided by EAD and Emirates Nature-WWF.
Their actions at COP28 and beyond will contribute to a growing legacy of impact, building on the achievements of previous ambassadors as well as the Connect with Nature youth movement, which has mobilised over 21,000 youth to protect nature since its launch in 2019 and the Green Youth Majlis which provides a platform for quarterly meetings of the UAE’s youth to discuss sustainability practices and ideas.