ABU DHABI, 1st July, 2022 (WAM) — The UAE’s Laila Mostafa Abdullatif, Director-General of Emirates Nature-WWF, has been elected to chair WWF’s Asia Pacific Growth Strategy (APGS), a coalition of 25 WWF offices across the Asia Pacific region, to enable growth and innovation opportunities that deliver conservation impact.
“On behalf of MOCCAE, we congratulate Laila Mostafa Abdullatif on her recent appointment as Chair of the Asian Pacific Strategy for WWF. With COP28 on the horizon, this new remit will help scale-up our efforts across the wider region towards mitigating the climate and biodiversity crisis that our planet is facing,” said Mariam AlMheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment.
“Laila has effectively spearheaded and transformed Emirates Nature-WWF into a forward-thinking environmental NGO aimed at mobilising civil society across all sectors of the UAE. We are confident that she will bring the same sense of commitment, creativity, and collaboration to the APGS as we embark on our journey towards COP28,” said Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Managing Director and Treasurer of the Board of Directors of Emirates Nature–WWF, and President of the IUCN.
“Having worked closely for many years with Laila, her new appointment as Chair of APGS comes at an opportune time as we embark on an executory phase in our strategy in which we will bring new opportunities in co-creating and developing transformative climate solutions across the region, whereby the UAE is well placed to catalyse this impact,” said Livia Esterhazy, CEO WWF-New Zealand and former Chair of APGS, WWF.
Abdullatif will lead this coalition in the coming phase to channel significant philanthropy and investment to maximise conservation efforts while engaging deeply with supporters of the environment. This shift in the APGS’ focus aims to explore opportunities in various emerging industries and technologies, including embracing digital transformation and leveraging Web 3.0 technologies to establish different forms of engagement. This will ultimately encourage people to contribute to WWF’s global net-zero efforts promoting sustainable economic and social development.
“It is with great honour and enthusiasm that I have accepted the appointment to chair WWF’s Asia Pacific’s Growth Strategy. Here in the UAE, driven by the country’s leadership, my ambition is to implement ideas with proven track records and enable them to become scalable solutions for countries, bringing an innovative spirit to solving climate and biodiversity challenges. The UAE’s close relationship with the Asia Pacific region and collective fundamental knowledge and experience that has been shared for decades from the leaders of the WWF APGS offices provides us with the opportunity to collaborate on large-scale solutions for transformative impact,” said Laila Mostafa Abdullatif, Director-General, Emirates Nature-WWF.
Abdullatif began her foray in the environmental sphere 13 years ago in Emirates Nature–WWF, an international NGO in association with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), where she led initiatives for the delivery of high-impact science-based solutions for conservation, sustainability, and the green economy at a regional scale, implementing a vision that raises public awareness of the vital connection between nature and humanity.
Established in 2008, the APGS was founded on the principles of partnership and respect for cultural diversity within the Asia Pacific region. Through enabling knowledge sharing, capacity building and internal investment in growth opportunities, the strategy group enables collaboration and bilateral agreements between countries. These countries include key markets such as China, India, Malaysia, Australia, Japan, South Korea, as well as the UAE, among the 25 countries. The APGS has enabled WWF offices to inspire millions of people to get actively involved in conservation programmes in Asia Pacific and has unlocked vitally important grants from the public, corporations, government institutions and philanthropists across the region.
The goal of the APGS is to empower countries to find innovative ways to encourage support and collaboration in achieving climate action through nature-based solutions and Zero Extinction targets that identify and protect key species from extinction by reversing threats such as plastic pollution and ecosystem destruction. The appointment is for a two-year term, during which Abdullatif aims to expand efforts across the region, including the UAE, through innovative exploration with key partners. Through these partnerships across various sectors, involved entities will encourage a shift in mindset towards combatting the climate and biodiversity crisis.
There is now a unique opportunity, given that the UAE will host COP28 in November 2023, to drive key strategies to double down on efforts to tackle climate change, reduce environmental threats, and ensure that humans live in harmony with nature. This was most recently highlighted in the Leaders Meeting of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate. With countries making investments in energy transition and projects addressing climate problems, it is critical that WWF continues to be a trusted, capable partner to governments and corporations to help deliver positive outcomes for nature and people.
Taking over from Livia Esterhazy, CEO, WWF-New Zealand, officially from 1st July 2022, the new chair of the APGS hopes to further enhance the involvement of all offices and the leadership’s commitment to working together through a clear work plan. Emirates Nature-WWF fully supports Laila Mostafa Abdullatif in her additional responsibilities as a true example of international cooperation and the embodiment of spearheading changes globally for sustainability.