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16 Nov 2020

Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi and ENGIE Use Drone Technology in Mangrove Rehabilitation Project

The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) is partnering with the global utility company ENGIE who is sponsoring the launch of the first phase of the “Blue Carbon” Environmental and Social Responsibility project that uses drone technology to help in rehabilitating areas of Abu Dhabi’s mangrove habitats, demonstrating the benefits of government and the private sector working together to preserve our environment

This pioneering initiative will use specialized, custom UAE-built drones and rigging to plant
thousands of mangrove seeds near ENGIE’s Mirfa plant in Abu Dhabi, as well as monitor their
growth over the year.

Mangroves are abundant along the coastline of the emirate of Abu Dhabi and are vital in the
storage of blue carbon – the term for carbon captured by the world’s oceans and coastal
ecosystems, including sea grasses, mangroves, and salt marshes. Though much smaller in size than
the planet’s forests, these coastal systems sequester carbon at a much faster rate and can continue
to do so for thousands of years.

The UAE based Unmanned Aerial Vehicle environmental analysis company, Distant Imagery,
created high accuracy mapping and site analysis tied to tidal change, and also worked with EAD’s
experts on a scientific review of the four different potential sites, with Mirfa lagoon being chosen
which is located near ENGIE’s Mirfa power plant. Distant Imagery will use its self-engineered
drones and seed dispersal rigging to plant of at least 4,000 mangrove seeds using scientific best
practices by December. Continued site monitoring will evaluate the carbon storage of the
rehabilitated area as well as the ecosystem services they provide.

The project, which showed outstanding results it is early stages, is sponsored by EAD who is
responsible for hosting the site, providing scientific expertise and undertaking a comprehensive
technical review. Upon completion, the Agency will evaluate the entire project at large. ENGIE is
hoping to be able to contribute to the enhancement of UAE’s coastal environment and ecosystem
through this project, ensuring the protection of our natural world as well as taking further steps
to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.
Ahmed Al Hashmi – Acting Executive Director for Terrestrial and Marine Biodiversity at
Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi said: “We are very pleased to be rehabilitating mangroves using
drone technology in this world-first project. Using the latest technology in our environmental
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endeavors are core to what we do. Similarly, we are consistently propagating different species
and the Blue Carbon Project is another example of that.”

Al Hashmi added: “Partnerships are always a great contributor to the success of any project, and
by collaborating with ENGIE we are certain that we will achieve the desired results, with the
common goal of conserving the environment while being pioneers and leading by example at the
same time. Rehabilitating mangroves for the sequestration of carbon is one of the methods used
to combat climate change and EAD are always dedicated to that cause.”

Florence Fontani, EVP, Strategy, Communications & ESR at ENGIE Middle East, South & Central
Asia and Turkey (MESCAT), said: “Providing innovative and environmental-friendly solutions to
deliver Power, Water and Services is at the core of ENGIE’s purpose. The Blue Carbon project
is fully in line with our commitment to address environmental issues, hand-in-hand with our local
partners. I would really like to express my gratitude towards the Abu Dhabi Authorities who
support our initiative and who are playing a key role for the realization of this project. We are
very proud to bring ENGIE’s expertise and solutions to this groundbreaking initiative, which will
contribute towards preserving the coastal ecosystem of the United Arab Emirates.”

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