Project overview

UNC researchers with Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi staff. (April 2010)
UNC researchers with Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi staff. (April 2010)

The UAE National Strategy for Environmental Health is an ongoing project aimed at helping the United Arab Emirates protect its residents from health problems caused by environmental effects of the country’s rapid industrialization.

This project is sponsored by the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi, an agency situated in the capital of the UAE, and technical support is being provided by the World Health Organization Center for Environmental Health Activities. The research is led by the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

UNC recently completed Phase I of this project is proposing to extend this research with Phase II, a 5-year project building on and expanding Phase I research.

Phase I of the UAE Environmental Health Project brought several major achievements, including

  • construction of the world’s first comprehensive environmental burden of disease model (focused on the UAE),
  • construction of the Middle East’s first comprehensive air quality model,
  • publication of a UAE National Strategy and Action Plan for Environmental Health developed with the input of multiple stakeholder groups,
  • publication of the State of Environmental Health in the UAE report, and development of one of the most comprehensive surveys in the region of indoor air quality and its effects on public health.

Phase II builds on a subset of the environmental risks considered in phase I–those that currently are responsible for the majority of the deaths and illnesses in the UAE that could be prevented with improved environmental quality. Phase II will build the information base and capacity in Abu Dhabi needed to select a portfolio of environmental initiatives that maximize benefits for public health. Thus, Abu Dhabi can choose an environmental health protection portfolio that maximizes public health benefits while minimizing unnecessary illness and loss of life.

Phase II will focus on four specific areas:

  • improving the UAE Environmental Burden of Disease Model,
  • strengthening understanding of risks of outdoor and indoor air pollution (the leading environmental health risks) and what can be done to decrease these risks, and
  • developing and demonstrating procedures to monitor and reduce exposure to harmful pollutants in workplaces–also a leading risk to health in Abu Dhabi,
  • building capacity to manage environmental health risks in Abu Dhabi

The UAE project has received international media attention. Please see

Endeavors Magazine, The Air Over There. September 2009 issue.

The National (English-language UAE newspaper). October 4, 2009.

Additional press clippings are available under the "Resources" tab.
Last updated November 28, 2010