Ajman Tourism Development Department (ATDD) organised a tree-planting ceremony to celebrate the planting of Ghaf trees near Al Helio Park on Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Street on October 18th 2018.
ATDD, together with Fairmont Ajman in representation of AccorHotels, organised the ceremony in coordination with Ajman Municipality; Ajman Centre for Social Responsibility; Al Ihsan Charity Association; Goumbook, a social enterprise that raises awareness about sustainability and green living. AccorHotels, which has pledged to plant 10 million trees by the end of 2021 under its Plant for the Planet program, gifted the 200 Ghaf trees for this event.
The tree-planting ceremony was attended by Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Ali Al Nuaimi, the official Environmental Advisor to the Ajman Government, who is known as the ‘Green Sheikh’ because of his efforts to raise awareness about the environment and sustainability; His Excellency Saleh Mohamed Al Geziry, ATDD Director General; Nasser Al Dhafri, CEO of Ajman Centre for Social Responsibility; Francis Desjardins, General Manager of Fairmont Ajman; Hani Al Zubaidi, the CEO of Make A Wish Foundation UAE, Tatiana Antonelli Abella, Founder of Goumbook and the Give a Ghaf Tree Planting Program, and other VIPs.
His Excellency said, “Sustainability and green initiatives are important to ATDD. Our goal is to develop a tourism sector that supports responsible and sustainable development in line with the Ajman 2021 strategic plan of working towards a green economy. We want Ajman to be the destination of choice for a wide variety of tourists, including those who value environmental sustainability. It is significant that we are planting ghaf trees; Ajman is keen for tourists to learn about the emirate’s deep-rooted heritage, and Ghaf trees have very deep roots.”
Mr. Desjardins said, “Under the umbrella of ACCORHotels’ Planet 21 sustainability program, Plant for the Planet is an annual initiative that offers both ecological and economic advantages to local communities. In the past 5 years we have planted over 5,000 Ghaf trees in the UAE in partnership with Goumbook and this year, we are very pleased to be making an impact in the emirate of Ajman by planting 200 ghaf trees along Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Street.”
The UAE’s national tree, Ghaf (Prosopis cineraria) is a resilient, drought-tolerant, evergreen tree native to the desert; it benefits the soil and requires little water. Ghaf trees help to reduce desertification, support the growth of surrounding plants, and sustain the country’s flora and fauna.
“The Ghaf tree is the symbol of the Living Desert, a true survivor that can teach us many lessons on local heritage, water conservation and environmental values”, said Tatiana Antonelli Abella.