Abu Dhabi Environmental
Data and indicators are increasingly critical for environmental policy making.
Without them it is impossible to measure progress towards policy goals. The
Environmental Performance Index (EPI), developed by a CIESIN at Columbia
University and the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy, represents
one approach to measure progress towards established policy targets. This
report provides the results of an effort, begun in July 2008, to apply the EPI
methodology to environmental issues that are established priorities for the
Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi (EAD).
Performance Index (AD-EPI)
The report was developed in close consultation with EAD staff and the Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI). The purpose is to provide a tool for assessing progress towards established targets, for priority setting, and potentially for resource allocation. The EPI framework groups indicators in two main policy objective areas, Environmental Health and EcosystemVitality, and then in a number of policy categories under them. The Abu Dhabi EPI has identified nine categories related to policy priorities and strategic plans. Raw data for each indicator are transformed into a proximity to target score from 0 (lowest possible) to 100 (highest possible).
The main conclusions of this effort are as follows:
> There are a number of issue areas identified as important priorities for the Emirate that have insufficient data, or data in the wrong kinds of formats, to be useful for measuring proximity to targets.
> Due to its scarce water resources, Abu Dhabi has significant challenges in water consumption, and is experiencing annual declines in water tables of greater than 0.2m in 67% of its territory. Abu Dhabi’s domestic consumption is above the per-capita levels of many water-rich European countries, so the Emirate has considerable potential for reducing water use.
> The Emirate’s population is exposed to very high concentrations of particulate matter, with proximity to target score of 41.86 out of 100. On the other hand, ozone concentrations during non-summer months (June-August) are generally acceptable, and do not pose a risk to human health.
> In terms of protected areas coverage for terrestrial habitats, the Emirate is nearly one-third of the way towards the target of 12% protection across all habitats
> Marine water quality in the coastal zone, as measured by chlorophyll-a concentrations, declined to its lowest levels in a 10-year time series in 2007.
> Abu Dhabi’s fisheries have actually improved slightly in the past few years as measured by the trophic level at which fishing is taking place. Fish stocks of two large fish have improved, but one has declined.
This report points out a number of the data gaps which remain to be filled in order to construct an aggregated index or an annual or bi-annual EPI report that would allow the EAD to track progress towards major targets.
Lastly, a number of innovative measures, some of them in close collaboration with EAD experts, were developed in this report. The details of the indicator construction are contained in the technical annex.