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UAE Pavilion wins 'Best Outdoor Park Award' at Beijing Horticultural Expo 2019

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-10-12 11:31
UAE Pavilion. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

UAE gifts its pavilion to the People's Republic of China on Beijing Horticultural Expo following closing day

The UAE has been awarded "Best Outdoor Park Award", during the Beijing Horticultural Expo closing ceremony, for its UAE Pavilion "Greening the Desert". The accolade was received by Dr. Rashid Khalfan Al Nuaimi, UAE Pavilion Commissioner-General, in the presence of the Secretary-General of the International Gardening Organisation and several diplomats and officials in Beijing. The event occurred in line with the Beijing Expo closing ceremony as well as the official gifting of the UAE Pavilion to the Beijing Municipal Government.

His Excellency Dr. Ali Obaid Al Dhaheri, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the People's Republic of China said: "We are confident that the UAE Pavilion, featuring our country's world-leading technologies for sustainable agriculture in a desert environment, will stand to be valuable to the nation of China. The vast territory of China includes some terrain such as the Gobi Desert that has parallels to the challenging environment which this pavilion addresses. We hope that this technology demonstration may prove inspirational and useful. We are delighted that we are working with China in this area, in particular the cultivation of saltwater rice in the UAE, to address our nation's food security needs."

The UAE 'Greening the Desert' activation communicates the UAE's achievements in converting the desert into green spaces using advanced technologies and highlights the country's commitment to embracing sustainable green development and agriculture. The horticultural installation includes 36 palm trees, as well as 146 varieties of trees from 20 other species, 2,500 plants and 5,924 vegetable varieties. The gifting of the UAE Pavilion has value to China, which has vast areas of challenging terrain, including the Gobi Desert - the largest in Asia and the fourth largest in the world. The UAE Pavilion shows how the agriculture sector in the country has evolved, including the latest technologies to adapt to an arid climate and successful agriculture techniques with minimum water.

UAE Pavilion. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Mansour Ibrahim Al Mansouri, Director-General of the National Media Council, NMC, praised the pavilion's achievement, saying "This award is a clear demonstration of the UAE's interest in the Agricultural Sector, which was highly prioritized by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, as a cornerstone for sustainable development and growth of the UAE. The award reflects the futuristic strategic outlook adopted by our wise leadership to make a qualitative leap in the agricultural sector even in an environment characterized by difficult climactic conditions. We commend the efforts of the national task forces that have presented a bright image of the UAE and have worked with dedication over the past six months to achieve this."

With a combination of resourcefulness and prioritisation of building food security for a rapidly expanding population, the UAE has become a leader in research in saline and dry condition agriculture. In Dubai, the International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) is leading in the field, using modern irrigation systems and net houses to have a more controlled environment with improved yield compared to open fields. Modern irrigation systems and hydroponics are being increasingly engaged and farmers are switching to organic farming. Major investment in agriculture has succeeded in transforming large areas of the UAE's desert into green space, including areas dedicated to date palm cultivation.

The UAE's advanced desert agriculture technologies were first set in motion by the late Sheikh Zayedbin Sultan Al Nahyan, the UAE's Founding Father, as reflected in his statement "Give me agriculture, I will give you civilisation". The wise leadership of the UAE has built upon the strong foundations laid by the late Sheikh Zayed in this respect, and through the National Agenda for UAE Vision 2021. The Sustainable Environment and Infrastructure pillar of the vision plays an important part of this, with the government prioritising air quality, water conservation and agricultural resource, as well as building reliance on clean energy.

Covering an area of 1,850 sq m, the UAE Pavilion is designed around a number of fundamental concepts that will represent the UAE's nature, palm trees and traditional farming, as well as the UAE's accomplishments and innovations in sustainable agriculture.The UAE Pavilion takes visitors on a journey through the Park section, which includes valleys and aflaj (or oasis) that mimic the UAE's environmental landscape. A Cultural section reflects the traditions and heritage of the UAE and its people.

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