As many as 400 trees were planted in Abu Dhabi as a living legacy of the World Urban Forum (WUF) that concluded on Thursday.
The tree-planting initiative at the Old Airport Park was attended by Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment; Badr Al Qubais, director-general of the Abu Dhabi City Municipality; Maimunah Mohd Sharif, executive director of UN-Habitat; ambassadors of different countries and many other dignitaries attending the forum.
The initiative is aligned with the long-term legacy of WUF-10 and coincided with UAE Planting Week, an annual initiative to increase the country's green cover and tackle climate change offsetting emissions.
The week-long forum which concludes on Thursday brought together policy makers, mayors, ministers and experts from across the world to discuss the latest trends in sustainable urban development and address challenges of rapid urbanisation. More than 18,000 participants from 168 nations attended the event hosted at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec).
"This has been a historic event being the first-of-its-kind in the Arab region. I am so overwhelmed by the reactions from participants," Sharif said at the tree-planting event. She noted that the WUF in Abu Dhabi has superseded all the previous forums in both organisation and attendance and that the UAE has set the bar high for the future events.
Sharif added: "Planting of trees is such an important initiative because they are vital in protecting and conserving the environment. Trees give us oxygen, store carbon, stabilise the soil and give life to the world's wildlife."
She noted that every WUF event always leaves a legacy so the coming generations can witness the great efforts made to promote sustainable urban development.
Lody Embrechs, Ambassdor of Netherlands to the UAE, who planted about seven trees at the event, told Khaleej Times that trees are not only essential for life, but as the longest living species on earth, "they are part of urban development because they provide us a link between the past, present and future".