Abu Dhabi, 13 February 2020—There is a popular saying in the Arab world that death will not visit a man, even at the time of famine, if he has a Ghaf tree, a goat and a camel, since the three together will sustain a man under the most trying conditions.

True to this saying the Tenth Session of the World Urban Forum – the first ever in the Arab world- drew to a close on Thursday and as a living legacy to the highly successful event, dignitaries attending the event planted some 400 seedlings of the evergreen Ghaf trees.

Mr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE’s Minister of Climate Change and Environment, UN-Habitat Executive Director Mrs. Maimunah  Mohd Sharif, and the President of the UN-Habitat Assembly Ms. Marta Delgado, Forum participants, high-level representatives of municipal entities and diplomatic missions across the UAE participated in the event where they each planted a tree. 

The tree-planting event took place at the Old Airport Garden in Abu Dhabi to mark the legacy of the 10th World Urban Forum (WUF10), the premier international gathering for exchanging views and experiences on urban challenges that is underway in Abu Dhabi until February 13.

The Ghaf was declared the national tree of the United Arab Emirates in 2008 because of its great cultural and traditional significance.

His Excellency Dr. Al Zeyoudi said: “The tree-planting event coincides with the UAE Planting Week, an annual initiative spearheaded by MOCCAE that seeks to boost the country’s green cover and helps tackle climate change through offsetting carbon emissions.”

He added: “We are pleased to take part in this event, alongside DMT and UN-Habitat. We are all resolved to acting for the environment and leaving behind a green legacy for future generations.”

As a living legacy to WUF10 in Abu Dhabi, officials plant the evergreen Ghaf tree
UN-Habitat/Julius Mwelu

For his part, His Excellency Mohamed Al Khadar Al Ahmed, Executive Director of Strategic Affairs at DMT and General Coordinator of WUF10, said: “Abu Dhabi has become a world leader in sustainable urban development through balancing economic growth with social harmony and consideration for the environment. This tree-planting initiative helps protect our precious ecosystem and aligns with the core objectives and legacy of WUF10.”

Executive Director of UN‐Habitat, Maimunah Mohd Sharif said: “This is a very fitting way to continue our efforts and enhance the legacy of WUF10.The Forum is all about creating a better future in our cities and the planting of these trees today and many more throughout the year demonstrates a firm commitment to this goal.”

The tree planting drive was organized by the Abu Dhabi Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT), in partnership with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) as a symbol of their shared commitment to building a sustainable future.