SDG 14: Life Below Water

Goal 14 aims to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources.

The marine and coastal environment of the UAE is important for economic, social and environmental reasons. The coast is populated; it is utilized by various industries, such as port operations, petrochemical industries, as well as for desalination. To respond to these competing demands, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE), in collaboration with its partners in the public and private sectors continuously work to improve the protection of marine resources for sustainable development. Based on international standards, MOCCAE is aiming to have by 2020 at least 10% of coastal and marine areas conserved through effective and equitable protected areas and other conservation measures.

The UAE National Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks (2018-2021) was launched as a response mechanism to conserve the UAE’s sharks and rays

Coastal Oil Spill Clean-up Guide (2017) aims to help decision makers field teams¨ and volunteers select methods for clean-up operations based on type and nature of beaches.


Challenges

Lack of information on species diversity, distribution, biological data, composition, and quantities of catches due to a limited number of dedicated research programs. Since 2010, more research programs were initiated to ensure the creation of viable management plans for the conservation of maritime species

Limited awareness concerning the importance of biodiversity can lead to misuse or overuse of species and their habitats.


Canadian University Dubai (CUD) professor, Dr. Rami El Khatib, was invited to share his environmental expertise at the Dubai leg of the Waste Free Environment (WFE) campaign held recently at the City’s Al Mamzar beach.

Hosting an awareness-raising session that highlighted the importance of recycling, Dr. El Khatib addressed 800 volunteers, including students from 17 schools at the campaign event, which was part of the global WFE initiative running across 18 locations in 13 cities throughout the GCC, India and Europe.

The event was inaugurated by the UAE Minister of Environment, His Excellency Dr. Rashid Ahmed Bin Fahad, who spoke about the importance of strengthening cooperation in the reuse and recycling of waste, in line with the agenda of UAE Vision 2021.

Hosted by Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA), the event attracted 660 children from local schools who joined with other volunteers to collect waste from the shoreline of Al Mamzar beach. Alongside the clean-up, the event placed a strong emphasis on educating the public about responsible waste disposal, and tackling the challenges associated with plastic litter.

As Chair of CUD’s School of Public Health and Health Sciences, Dr. El Khatib is a recognized local expert in the field, and was called upon by GPCA to present the awareness-raising session, in which he revealed the significance of recycling to future environmental sustainability.

Dr. Abdulwahab Al Sadoun, Secretary General of GPCA said, “At its core, WFE is a campaign that revolves around education, as litter is fast becoming a pressing environmental issue that can only be solved if people are engaged in the 4 Rs – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Recover. We are grateful for the participation of so many students, and are hopeful that these young minds make habits of the lessons learned.”


Connecting humankind and the ocean

Student: Sawsan Sawas

Project Type: Marine Rehabilitation and Educational Centre

Marine Wonder is a marine rehabilitation and educational centre which promotes learning, interaction with marine animals and also serves as a health clinic for them. The focus of Marine Wonder is to raise awareness of the relationship between humankind and the oceans in the current changing world. The project is inspired by organically curved and dynamic traces of the ocean tides. Through a wide variety of encounters and activities, each visitor experiences the recreational, educational and several aquariums and types of marine biology. Water tanks and the theme of water and the ocean with scintillating shapes incorporated into the design provides the feel of surrounded by water. The main goal is to spread awareness of the importance of preserving water and marine organisms and to find solutions to the water pollution problem. The centre aims to create an environment, entertainment, and educational place at the same time creating a new type of experience in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.


We invite you to join us at the Dubai Data Science Workshop on Tuesday, November 19th, 2019, from 10am - 2pm in D2-10.

The increase in modern computational power and availability of data have propelled Data Science to the forefront of technological revolution. It is being rapidly adopted in almost every aspect of life including business, engineering, and medicine.

This workshop is aimed to bring together stakeholders from Academia and Industry to discuss theoretical aspects and practical applications in Data Science and Machine Learning.

Speakers:

10:00 - 10:30: “Bayesian Networks: Theory and Applications,”

Dr Linda Smail, Zayed University

10:30 - 11:00: “Machine Learning Models for Marine Environment,”

Dr Giulia De Masi, Zayed University

11:00 - 11:30: “Basic Machine Learning Techniques for Discovering Vital Public Knowledge: The Stories,”

Dr Farhi Marir, Zayed University

12:00 - 12:30: “Data Driven Decisions and 4th Industrial Revolution,”

Sherief Selim, Microsoft

12:30 - 13:00: “Watson in the Wild,”

Anchal Bhalla, IBM

13:00 - 13:30: “Getting Started with Data Science,”

Dmitry Denisov, Deloitte

Two of Canadian University Dubai’s most talented and inventive Environmental Health students participated in the “Seeds of the Future” competition hosted by Huawei. They competed against 50 other inventors vying for worldwide recognition and were awarded funding of AED 25,000 to bring their project to life.

The event, which was held in cooperation with the Federal Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) and held under the patronage of the Ministry of Health, reached out to young minds in a bid to inspire innovation in the field of Environmental Health Management.

The competition took place over a 6 month period and among the original fifty entries from different educational institutions in the UAE, the CUD team was selected to be among the sixteen teams in the second round which was then trimmed to six teams in the third and final round.

Each of the six finalists received funding, and CUD’s own Maha Talli and Maitha Almarzooqi were one of them.

The team was supported by Dr. Yassen Alfoteih, Assistant Professor, who specializes in Environmental Biology. All hypothesis testing, technical support and portfolio were carried out at CUD science labs designed to find an effective, easy, cheap and practical product along with a phone app. to check the purity of drinking water

Maha Talli, when describing the motivation behind embarking on this competition said, “developing the App and seeing it come to life inspired me greatly because I knew that it would help save lives. Over 844 million people lack safe drinking water, a commodity we all take for granted, so this invention is my way of giving back and appreciating the little things that make all the difference.”

Water has no monetary valuation and many countries in the world facing scarcity and water stress. Moreover, declining water quality has become a global issue of concern as human populations grow, industrial and agricultural activities expand, and climate change threatens to cause major alterations to the hydrological cycle.

CUD should be proud of our students and wish them good fortune in the final leg of their journey as they use the funding to bring their invention to life and see it used in impoverished areas of Africa, South America, the Middle East, and beyond.