Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi

The maritime area of Abu Dhabi is approximately 48,250 km2—38,500 km2 of marine waters and 9,700 km2 of coastal land. The United Arab Emirates holds the seventh largest proven oil reserves in the world; over 60% of the surface of the maritime area of Abu Dhabi is occupied by oil and gas activities. The Arabian Gulf hosts the world’s second largest population of dugongs, thought to number at least 5,000. The rich and extensive sea grass beds in the waters of the United Arab Emirates form habitat that has been identified as the most important for dugongs in the Arabian Gulf and probably includes the majority of the population.

When approved and implemented in 2017, Plan Maritime 2030: Abu Dhabi Coastal and Marine Framework Plan (the Plan) will provide strategic guidance and direction for the future development of Abu Dhabi’s coastal and marine area.

The Urban Planning Council (UPC) led the preparation of the Plan by working closely with the Office of the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces (ODSC) and the Environment Agency—Abu Dhabi (EAD) to implement a key initiative of the Maritime Strategy 2009, a high-level strategy to ensure the protection and enhancement of the Emirate’s maritime domain for the diverse uses and activities occurring within it. The Plan was prepared to implement the first goal of the Maritime Strategy that recommended the preparation of a framework plan to fulfill the requirement for ‘sustainable use and development of the maritime domain’.

Begun in 2013, development of the Plan closely followed the step-by-step approach outlined in the IOC’s guide to MSP. Extensive stakeholder engagement as an important aspects of the overall MSP process. A draft of the Plan was completed in May 2016. The Plan Maritime 2030: Abu Dhabi Coastal and Marine Framework Plan and its Implementation Plan are tentatively scheduled to be released publically in April 2017.




Authority:Executive order or directive
Lead Planning Agency:Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council
Financing:Not known or approved at this time
Size of Planning Area:10,000-50,000 km2
Time required to complete the plans:2-4 years
Drivers of MSP:Need for a more integrated approach; Economic growth concerns; Perceived conflicts among uses, e.g., marine mining v. fishing; Perceived conflicts between uses and nature conservation, e.g., marine protected areas; Marine conservation or biodiversity concerns; New and emerging uses of the marine area, e.g., wind energy, aquaculture; Effects of climate change (e.g., sea-level rise)
Stakeholder participation:Throughout the MSP process
Sectors included in planning:All
Relation to coastal management:Not specified
Relation to marine protected area management:Existing and future MPAs incorporated in the management plan
Plan approval:Plan completed, but not yet approved
Legal Status of Plan:Advisory/Strategic
Plan revision:Review/revision every 4-5 years
Performance monitoring and evaluation:Plan has not been revised yet