EEG's Million Tree Campaign [United Arab Emirates]

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Reporting Entity: Emirates Environmental Group

Clarify if the technology described in the template, or a part of it, is covered by property rights: No

Completeness: 91%

General Information

General Information

Title of best practice:

EEG's Million Tree Campaign


United Arab Emirates

Reporting Entity:

Emirates Environmental Group

Property Rights

Clarify if the technology described in the template, or a part of it, is covered by property rights:



Prevailing land use in the specified location

  • Human settlement
  • Other (please specify)

Desert Plains and mountainous Rock Formations

Contribution to Desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD) measures

  • Prevention
  • Mitigation

Contribution to the strategic objectives

  • To improve the living conditions of affected populations
  • To improve the conditions of affected ecosystems
  • To generate global benefits through effective implementation of the Convention
  • To improve the living conditions of affected populations
  • To improve the conditions of affected ecosystems
  • To generate global benefits through effective implementation of the Convention

Linkages with the other best practice themes

  • Capacity-building and awareness-raising
  • Participation, collaboration and networking


Section 1. Context of the best practice: frame conditions (natural and human environment)

Short description of the best practice

The EEG Million Tree Project was launched under the aegis of UNEP’s Billion Tree Campaign with the aim of greening the UAE, educating society & helping to combat desertification. By engaging all sectors, EEG have planted or facilitated the planting of 1,618,513 trees across the UAE. |


Various places within the UAE, covering all 7 Emirates|

Estimated population living in the location:


Brief description of the natural environment within the specified location.

Climate hot & dry with the hottest months being July and August when average max temperatures reach above 48 °C. This is coupled with high humidity. Average temperatures in winter months (Jan-Feb) are 17-20°C. The average annual rainfall in the coastal areas is fewer than 120mm.
The UAE is primarily flat or rolling desert. Its coast, which stretches along the southern shore of the Arabian Gulf and along the Gulf of Oman, consists mainly of salt pans that extend far inland. The UAE’s highest point, at 1,527 meters, in the jagged Al Hajar al Gharbi mountain chain.|
Soil: The geology of the UAE is split up into areas consisting of the desert floor, the coastal plains, the aeolian sands and gravel plains. The principal resources are hard, ophiolite-derived aggregate, limestone of cement, chromite, gypsum and construction sand. |

Prevailing socio-economic conditions of those living in the location and/or nearby

The salaries given in the UAE are extremely variable. A minimum of AED 4000 is required per month for expatriates to bring their families into the UAE, but many are below this salary. The GNI per capita in 2004 was US$ 26,360 (Atlas Method, sited from World Bank). |
The UAE’s economy remains heavily dependant on oil and natural gas, but Dubai also thrives on a service based economy from tourism, construction, telecommunications, media, real-estate and financial services. |
Only 0.6 percent of the UAE is considered to be arable land, and 2.3 percent of that land is planted to permanent crops. Most of the rural areas belong to the State, whilst a larger percentage of the urbanized areas are privately owned. |

On the basis of which criteria and/or indicator(s) (not related to The Strategy) the proposed practice and corresponding technology has been considered as 'best'?

With rapid urban expansion in the UAE & with developers not prioritizing sustainable green & outside spaces into their projects, EEG deemed it necessary to promote and increase the amount of trees within the country. Indigenous trees can cope with the harsh climate here & act as a carbon sink.|

Section 2. Problems addressed (direct and indirect causes) and objectives of the best practice

Main problems addressed by the best practice

1.increase greenery in rapidly expanding urban areas
|2 Improves soil structures, fertility and natural biodiversity|3. Helps combat desertification|4. Educates society about the issues and pressures on land

Outline specific land degradation problems addressed by the best practice

With rapid urban expansion,shrubs & plants have been removed to make space for new projects.Some projects have slowed in the UAE due to the economic downturn, leaving huge areas cleared, but not populated. These areas become exposed to wind, water, reduced biodiversity, leading to desertification|

Specify the objectives of the best practice

1. To increase the number of trees and greenery in rapidly expanding urban areas|2. To rehabilitate/increase stability of soils and land within the UAE|3. To enhance community spirit and provide environmental education|4. To aid the increase of biodiversity/nature in urban areas by providing new habitats

Section 3. Activities

Brief description of main activities, by objective

1. reach out to communities, schools, university’s, companies to raise awareness for the need to increase green spaces and trees|2. make contact with corporate partners to engageg them in a hands on activitiy to mitigate CO2 emissions and support the local community as well as improve the local habitats and assist with logistics for tree planting events. |3. Arrange a ‘tree planting event or day, communicate to involved parties, invite attendees, involve municipalities.
1 By planting new green areas in public parks, national forests, school grounds and amongst urban areas, new habitats are formed for insects, birds and wildlife that may otherwise be suffering from urban expansion pressures. |
1. By planting indigenous trees that can cope with the harsh conditions of the UAE climate, their growth and rooting helps to stabilize fragile soils and regulate soil moisture.|
1. EEG engage the community by using various outreach mechanisms such as e-newsletters, emails, community lectures, publications, posters, flyers etc.|2.EEG engage schools and academic institutions, offering the chance for the youth in society to get involved in a ‘hands on’ environmental activity. |3.through tree panting events, participants learn about the indigenous tree species, how greenery helps land, soils, nature and biodiversity as well as acting as a carbon sink.

Short description and technical specifications of the technology

EEG is a not for profit professional working group, which is dedicated to environmental protection through means of education, action programmes and community engagement. One popular EEG programme is the Tree Planting activites which EEG continue to arrange. |
Species of trees used are always indiginous to the UAE
Neem, Ghaf, Date Palm, Sidra, Accasia and mangrove trees. |

Section 4. Institutions/actors involved (collaboration, participation, role of stakeholders)

Name and address of the institution developing the technology

EEG's Million Tree Campaign was set up under the aegis of UNEP's Billion Tree Campaign. EEG formally updates UNEP on number of trees planted on a regular basis. |Address of UNEP Headquarters:
UNEP, United Nations Avenue, Gigiri, PO Box 30552, 00100, Nairobi, Kenya.

Was the technology developed in partnership?


Specify the framework within which the technology was promoted

  • Local initiative
  • National initiative – non-government-led
  • Programme/project-based initiative

Was the participation of local stakeholders, including CSOs, fostered in the development of the technology?


List local stakeholders involved:

Dubai Muncipality
Other Emirates Muncipality's
Local and International Schools
The Corporate Sector - companies who sponsor, support or participate in the event|

For the stakeholders listed above, specify their role in the design, introduction, use and maintenance of the technology, if any.

Dubai Muncipality have supported EEG and helped raise the profile of evetns. They give certain permissions to EEG to use land and provide labour for digging.
Local schools provide locations for events and the corporate sector offer financial support to buy trees and participate at events.

Was the population living in the location and/or nearby involved in the development of the technology?



Section 5. Contribution to impact

Describe on-site impacts (the major two impacts by category)

2) The corporate sector can be involved in the activity by sponsoring local planting projects, fulfilling a company’s CSR objectives and using revenue on environmental programmes, and enhancing the land for other purposes.|
1) enhanced community unity at large scale tree planting events, environmental education of participants feeds into society and will eventually create a greener nation seeking greener jobs|
1) re-introduction of biodiversity through creating new habitats
1) Trees help remove excess amount of carbon dioxide and air pollutants present in the atmosphere, including sulfur dioxide, ozone and nitrogen oxide. In return, they give us oxygen required for living life.|
2) improved soil structure and fertility
2) Planting trees can help with the demand for fresh drinking water. Plant cover naturally slows the runoff of rainwater, filtering it through the land. Water can then seep down to refill underground aquifers. When occasional rain storms occur, trees will help prevent this fresh water reaching sea.|

Describe the major two off-site (i.e. not occurring in the location but in the surrounding areas) impacts

2) trees absorb CO2, release oxygen, reduce pollution, help combat the urban heat island effect. The scale of EEG’s project is large enough to contribute globally in combating the climate challenges we face, as well as restoring local land and soils. |
1) Education of society from the grass roots level, instilling environmental knowledge to all sectors of society, driving the change to a sustainable future.|

Impact on biodiversity and climate change

Explain the reasons:

EEG concentrate heavily on education for sustainable development; education is considered to be an important part in climate change adaptation. Through community events such as tree planting EEG is not only improving the local environment, but changing the mindset of communities, who can then adapt.|
The practice encourages indigenous tree planting across the UAE which in turn increases the carbon sink capacity of greenhouse gases.
Trees serve as a natural habitat providing support to flora & fauna. They provide privacy and security to wildlife seeking shelter and provide them with food and nutrients. In this region trees and green areas attract birds and migratory populations, as well as stabilising soils.|

Has a cost-benefit analysis been carried out?

Has a cost-benefit analysis been carried out?


Section 6. Adoption and replicability

Was the technology disseminated/introduced to other locations?

Was the technology disseminated/introduced to other locations?



Abu Dhabi|Ajman|Sharjah|Fujairah|Ras Al Khaimah|Umm Al Quwain

Can you identify the three main conditions that led to the success of the presented best practice/technology?

Low cost activity, allowing for participation from all members of society and corporations. This makes the activity easily replicable elsewhere if good relationships are built up. |
Positive impacts on the environment and society (replicable elsewhere. People have become aware of the benefits of the activity and are keen to keep planting trees because of its numerous benefits.
Municipality support to allow events in National Parks or certain areas, especially Dubai Muncipality, Dubai Police department and Ajman Muncipality. A good working releationship and open communication helped the success of the events. Emirates Heritage Club also helps events to be successful. |


In your opinion, the best practice/technology you have proposed can be replicated, although with some level of adaptation, elsewhere?


At which level?
  • Local
  • Sub-national
  • National
  • Subregional
  • Regional
  • International

Section 7. Lessons learned

Related to human resources

Good coordination and cooperation with relevant municipalities and government agencies was key.

Related to financial aspects

- Building relationships with the corporate sector and encouraging CSR principals aided financial contributions to events
|- The use of local authority’s staff to help plant and maintain the plants helped make the large scale events possible.

Related to technical aspects

EEG only encourage the planting of indigenous plants that are adapted to cope with the climatic conditions of this region – the success of tree growth is partly down to this. |Maintenance until the plants are well established was always well coordinated.

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