Abu Dhabi: The Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD) and Emirates Nature WWF have announced the launch of a comprehensive citizen science program named Sahim.
The program seeks to engage volunteers and harness large-scale public participation in a series of projects that address real-world environmental problems. This includes formulating research questions, collecting and analysing data, interpreting results, and making new discoveries.
Citizen science is a way to contribute to real science, act for the environment, and learn something new directly from scientists. Volunteers and scientists work together to answer real-world questions.
“The UAE’s leadership has announced environment and sustainability as key priorities for 2023, a critical year in a critical decade for climate action and biodiversity loss, as the nation sets the groundwork to meet 2050 net-zero goals and to host COP28 later this year. Scientific expertise and rigour are needed, and Sahim projects will support filling knowledge gaps and collecting data to support robust environmental decision-making for the UAE,” Shaikha Salem added.
Key projects under Sahim include removing wastes from marine, coastal, or terrestrial sites, using cameras to identify and monitor terrestrial wildlife, monitoring mangrove forests and their associated species, and conducting interviews with volunteers to gather oral history and traditional knowledge about the historical state of the environment in the UAE.
Ms. Laila Mostafa Abdullatif, Director-General of Emirates Nature-WWF, remarked that “around the world, citizen science programmes have proven to be a diverse and scalable tool with a huge range of applications. Not only will these projects contribute to raising public knowledge of science, but they will also allow the community in the UAE to be part of the solutions to the dual threats of biodiversity loss and climate change. Participants will take an active role in advancing progress by participating in real scientific research through observation, gathering, and even analysing data.”
People of all ages across the community, including youth, parents, and corporate and government employees, can volunteer on a diverse portfolio of projects with rigorous citizen science principles that contribute towards the UAE’s environmental goals.
Detailed information on volunteering opportunities at environmental projects under the umbrella of Sahim will be available through volunteers.ae.