Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Energy efficiency

Achieving energy efficiency and rationalisation to reduce the effects of climate change is a key focus of the UAE Government; in addition to shift towards a green economy capable of creating new job opportunities and more sustainable products and services.


The UAE succeeded in reducing its ecological footprint to 7.75 hectares per person in 2014, from 11.68 hectares in 2006.


Vision 2021 corresponds with the globally emerging concept of green growth, which refers to the practice of encouraging economic growth and development while ensuring that ecosystems remain in place.


To support this, environmental awareness and education programmes were conducted to develop new and responsible thinking towards environment, which will help to conserve and properly manage natural resources.


In addition, several initiatives and safe management procedures of chemicals and wastes were launched to establish the infrastructure for reducing and recycling all the waste, and to minimise their adverse impacts on human health. These procedures include:


Sea dumping

Dumping waste in the sea raises environmental concerns, which is life threatening on both the human health and the marine ecosystem.


The UAE has enacted laws banning throwing waste and oil sludge into the water by the hundreds of tankers operating in the region.

The UAE Federal Law No. 24 of 1999 on the Protection and Development of the Environment prohibits the following:

  • any intentional disposal of pollutants or wastes from ships, aircraft or any other means into the marine environment
  • any deliberate dumping from ships or industrial installations or other means into the marine environment.


In addition, Federal Law No. 23 of 1999 and its Ministerial Decree No. 302 of 2001 were issued to address exploitation, conservation and development of living aquatic resources in the UAE.


Waste-to-energy projects

To reduce the impact of waste on the environment and human health, the UAE implemented many waste to energy projects in the form of electricity or heat.


These include:

  • Masdar

    Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, had signed a strategic partnership agreement with Beeah to develop the UAE’s waste to energy (WtE) sector. This partnership will help contribute to the UAE Government’s Vision 2021 which targets, among other goals, diverting waste from landfills by 75 per cent by 2021.


  • A 100 MW (WtE) facility in Abu Dhabi


    A 100 MW facility, one of the world’s largest, is under development in Abu Dhabi by Abu Dhabi National Energy Company PJSC Taqa, in coordination with the Center of Waste Management (Tadweer).


    The plant would be up and running by 2017, generating enough power for 20,000 households in Abu Dhabi as well as cutting greenhouse gases. It is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by more than one million ton per year.


  • (WtE) plant in Dubai

    By the second quarter of 2020, Dubai will have the largest plant in the Middle East to convert waste to energy. The plant will be located in Al Warsan 2 and will be built at a cost of AED 2 billion.


    This will provide more land plots that are currently being used to store waste, in addition to protecting the environment from methane emitted by landfills.


    The plant will begin its operations by the second quarter of 2020, and it will be able to process 2,000 metric tonnes every day during the first phase of operations, producing 60 megawatts of energy.

  • (WtE) projects In Sharjah

In October 2011, Sharjah announced an ambitious plan for 100 per cent landfill diversion by 2015.


To attain this goal, the municipal waste management company (Bee’ah) developed a state-of-the-art waste management centre to process and recycle waste.


In 2012, the company introduced two-stream waste collection and a new tipping fee structure to incentivise waste reduction and to closely regulate landfill contents.


Improved blue and green coloured odour-proof bins have been deployed across the emirate.


In addition, Sharjah is constructing a Waste-to-Energy (WtE) plant in the Sajja area that will eventually convert 400,000 tonnes of waste per year into 80 megawatts (MW) of electricity.


The project will convert 99 per cent of organic waste into energy. After using some of the generated power for the plant’s own needs, the electricity will be exported to Sharjah.


Related links from news reports:


Efforts for sustainable consumption in agriculture

The UAE made huge efforts to preserve water resources, with an emphasis on adopting and installing modern irrigation systems to replace flood irrigation method, which wastes large amounts of water. The use of modern irrigation systems (sprinkler, drip and fountain irrigation systems) rose to 91 per cent in 2011 from 32 per cent in 1999.


In addition, the UAE is using the soilless agricultural technology in several projects to increase the efficiency of water consumption, use of fertilizers, solutions for soil problems and type of soil.


Preserving fisheries

In 1999, the Federal Law No.23 was issued concerning the exploitation, protection and development of the living aquatic resources in the waters of the UAE.


Ministry of Climate Change and Environment launched the UAE Sustainable Fisheries programme which will be implemented from 2016 to 2018 to ensure sustainable fishing.

Under this programme, advanced research and monitoring of UAE fisheries will be undertaken, new legislations will be  developed and implemented and traditional fishing knowledge gathered to better informed decision making.


In addition, the ministry issued Ministerial Decree No.471 for the year 2016 on regulating surface fishing using beach seines. The resolution reflects the ministry’s aim to regulate professional fishing to preserve, develop and ensure the sustainability of fish stocks and enhance food security by protecting fish stocks from depletion.


The decree standardised the specifications of the seines that should be used during the hunt. It also specified the open season for surface fishing to be from 1 October to 30 June of the following year, to avoid depletion of fish.


For more information, you can check the following links:


Promoting sustainable consumption in energy

The UAE launched many initiatives to promote sustainable energy resources. These include:

  • applying the slab tariff
  • establishing a new department for energy conservation and energy efficiency
  • introducing efficiency-labelling scheme by ESMA
  • banning the import of inefficient incandescent light bulbs
  • implementing the green and sustainable building standards
  • implementing the Emirates Energy Star programme
  • introducing Estidama and Pearl Building Rating System
  • participating in the Wetex sustainability exhibition
  • abiding by demand side management policies
  • launching Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030 and Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050
  • deregulating fuel prices.


Read more about sustainable consumption in energy sector in the environment and energy page.


Recycling and waste management

Waste management in the UAE is coordinated through local authorities. Waste issues are handled through recycling, converting waste to energy, new technologies and improved waste separation and collection systems.


Read more about the following in the environment and energy page:

  • treatment of wastewater
  • waste management in Abu Dhabi
  • waste management in Dubai
  • waste management in Sharjah.


Desalination plants

Due to lack of freshwater sources, it is important for UAE to identify a sustainable desalination solution to meet long-term water needs. Many desalination plants were established to meet this end which include:



  • Abu Dhabi’s Shuweihat S2 power and water plant - It has a production capacity

    of 1510 MW of electricity and 100 Million Imperial Gallons (MIGD) of water

    per day.


  • Dubai’s Jebel Ali M Power Station - It is the largest power and desalination plant in the UAE, with six gas turbines capable of producing 2060 MW and 140 MIGD of water.


  • The Fujairah F2 Plant - It is a greenfield power generation and seawater desalination

    plant with 2850 MW of power capacity and 230 MIGD of water


    For further readings, refer to the UAE Yearbook 2013.


    Processing electronic waste (eWaste)

    The UAE promotes the eWaste recycling to save the environment, resources and human health in general.


    In 2007, the UAE based Etisalat Corporation run a mobile phone and e-waste collection campaign (EnviroFone) where disposed eWaste would recycled properly. The campaign collected 200,000 mobile phones and 52 tonnes of e-waste.


    Further, Dubai Municipality has developed a refurbishment programme to upgrade discarded computers and donate them to charity. Check how and where to donate your disposed devices in Dubai.


    You can check E-waste recycling centres in UAE as provided ty the national newspaper.


    Read more about the sustainable development goal ‘Responsible consumption and production’.


    Check the following links for further readings on responsible consumption and production in the UAE:

  • UAE State of Green Economy Report 2014


Achievement Progress