Industrial Development Bureau and Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi sign cooperation agreement

ABU DHABI: The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, Industrial Development Bureau (IDB) and the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD) have signed a cooperation agreement on the assessment, licensing and reviewing of preliminary environmental studies for industrial establishments and projects in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The agreement was signed at the premises of Abu Dhabi Economic Media Club, by Mohammed Omar Abdullah the Undersecretary of the Department of Economic Development and Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak the Secretary General of the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD), in presence of Eng. Ayman Al Makawi, Director General of the Industrial Development Bureau, Mohammed Hassan Al Qamzi, CEO of the Higher Corporation for Specialized Economic Zones and a number of officials from both sides.

The agreement aims at promoting cooperation and joint efforts between EAD and IDB; and ensuring full compliance of licensees with the application and implementation of all laws, regulations and policies in force in the Emirate concerning environmental protection, application and implementation of all obligations towards the preservation of the environment, in addition to developing a regulatory framework and a joint mechanism between the two parties, in the interests of industrial investment and the preservation of the environment.

The agreement is meant also to empower the Industrial Development Bureau (IDB) to assess and review preliminary environmental studies and the environmental management plans for construction or operation, in accordance with the guidelines of the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi; besides developing a clear mechanism for the collection of environmental licensing fees.

Mohammed Omar Abdullah, Undersecretary of the Department of Economic Development, said that the agreement came in the light of realizing both the Economic Vision of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi 2030, and the Environment Vision 2030; as well as the development strategy, which the Emirate of Abu Dhabi implements to enhance the efficiency of government performance and increase the effectiveness of services to the business sector, which all require effective cooperation between government and semi-government entities.

He stressed the keenness of IDB and EAD to set, standards and develop mechanisms to contribute to creating a safe and stimulating environment, in order to attract and harbor domestic and foreign industrial and investment projects, and enhance the competitiveness of the industrial sector at the local, regional and international levels, by providing highly efficient and quick services, consistent with the orientations of the Government of Abu Dhabi.

Razan Al Mubarak, Secretary General of EAD said that this agreement came out of the functions and powers of EAD for issuing environmental licensing and evaluating the impact of projects, industrial investments and economic activities on the environment and wildlife in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Razan also added that the agreement stems from the belief of both parties that the protection and development of the environment, is a shared responsibility, is a shared responsibility, which depends on concerted efforts of all, including the authorities concerned with the industrial sector, especially with regard to incorporating environmental considerations into industrial and economic development, for Industrial and environmental licensing and assessment of environmental studies for industrial establishments, with the need to comply with all laws, regulations and policies for the protection of the environment.

Ayman Al Makawi, Director General of the Industrial Development Bureau of the Department of Economic Development, said in the opening speech at the signing ceremony of the agreement, that under the Law No. 8/2013 on the Competencies Developed for the Departments of Economic Development and Municipal Affairs, IDB became the competent authority for tailoring policies concerning the industrial sector, as well as regulating industrial activities in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Al Makawi said that the agreement with EAD would enable IDB to assess and review preliminary environmental studies, and studies on environmental management plans for construction or operation of establishment, in accordance with the guidelines established in EAD.

He praised the efforts made by EAD in the regulating environmental licensing and evaluating the impact of projects, industrial investments and economic activities; adding that this also came under the same goal, which IDB is geared to realize, as one of the priorities set by the industrial strategy for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Under the agreement, IDB will receive copies of the environmental studies from investors, which will be reviewed by the technical group, before referring the studies to the Board for decision on submitted studies, which will also include the studies of environmental management plans for the construction or operation of industrial enterprises in accordance with the guidelines of EAD. This process will take more than five working days from the date of submitting the study.

In turn, EAD will review preliminary environmental studies and will officially respond within eight working days from the date of receiving the study from IDB. The other environmental studies will again be referred to EAD as it is the competent authority for evaluation, endorsement and licensing. IDB is entitled to express its opinion on any study submitted for industrial projects.

The agreement entrusts IDB with following-up and discussing technical remarks on the study handed over to licensee and the project consultant, in the presence of specialists from EAD, with the need for IDB to stick to the schedule plan for evaluation and reviewing of environmental studies, and to coordinate with EAD for approval of industrial projects studies. The final approval will be issued by EAD only.

The agreement emphasized that EAD will continue to issue environment licenses through the electronic system of IDB until its own electronic system is ready, while IDB will coordinate with EAD with regard to e-linkage.

In accordance with this agreement IDB will issue preliminary industrial licenses for new industrial projects, provided that stakeholders should obtain environmental licenses after submitting all required environmental studies to EAD before starting the construction of the projects, provided that EAD should send its official reply on applications electronically to IBD.

Under the agreement, EAD and IBD agreed to establishment and adopt lists related to exempting some industrial activities from obtaining environmental license, as their projects will have no environmental impacts. IBD will coordinate with the Department of Municipal Affairs and other municipalities, in order not to issue construction permits for industrial investors except after confirmation of obtaining the initial industrial license and the environmental license issued by EAD.

Some articles of the agreement addressed issues related to inspection and environmental emergencies, and stated that IBD shall inform EAD on any environmental violations or infractions observed by its inspectors, while EAD shall conduct environmental inspection of industrial establishments according to its own procedures in this regard.

The two sides agreed to form a technical committee, which shall hold a coordination meeting in two weeks time, to develop a detailed mechanism which includes determining and setting of performance measurement indicators, to ensure applying the provisions of the agreement and achieving set objectives. A monthly report on performance indicators shall be prepared and submitted to senior management for approval.

SOURCE: WAM