At the UN General Assembly’s High-level dialogue on desertification, land degradation and drought, the UAE has underlined that protecting the environment must be a priority for the international community. "We only have one home, one shelter – Earth," said Dr. Abdullah Al Nuaimi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, through a video message. "Therefore, we all need to scale up our efforts and expedite global environmental and climate action to chart a better future for the current and next generations." Noting that protecting land from degradation and desertification has been a cornerstone of the UAE’s approach to safeguarding and sustaining the environment and its biodiversity since the founding of the UAE in 1971, Minister Al Nuaimi outlined the myriad programmes and initiatives it has implemented in this regard. He highlighted the National Biodiversity Strategy and the National Strategy to Combat Desertification 2014-2021, as well as the Blue Carbon Project, aerial mapping of agricultural areas, the Nakheelna initiative, organic farming support schemes, and the expansion of the overall area and number of farms producing organic crops. Additionally, Minister Al Nuaimi noted that the UAE has increased the number of its protected areas. In 2020, the UAE added five new such areas, for a total of 49 preserves comprising 15.5 percent of the country’s territory.