Prince William told school children “you are the future” in the fight to save the planet while on his first-ever trip to the UAE.
The Duke of Cambridge planted mangroves with children in Abu Dhabi as he visited a specialist nature reserve in the heart of the desert.
William told students from the British School Al Khubairat while at the Jubail Mangrove Park: “You are the future. Keep up the good work.”
The royal visited the park, which is an initiative with the son of Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince, Sheikh Khaled.
They were told that mangroves capture four times more carbon than rain forests.
The new initiative hopes to become a world-leading conservation center for mangroves.
Mark Leppard, the school’s headmaster said: “The children who were introduced to the Prince are part of our global leaders’ programme, who all volunteer, and follow the 20 global goals for sustainability.
“This is initiative is part of improving the local environment.
“They’ve been excited and surprised and this came through ecstatic about sharing their thoughts.”
The school has 65 different nationalities. William spoke to Amaan Haider, 13, and Lily-Rose Mayall, 12, who planted mangrove saplings.
William told them: “You guys are the future. Keep up the good work.”
The center was established to make Abu Dhabi a leading global center for research and innovation on mangrove conservation and is partnered with London Zoo.
William and Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Khaled also planted mangrove saplings together at the site.
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The two discussed their work on globally impactful sustainability initiatives and were briefed on work to protect the environment and enhance biodiversity.
It will establish a state-of-the-art mangrove nursery as a center of research and learning.
After spending time with children at a mangrove park, William will host a Dragon’s Den style event, matching winners of his Earthshot Prize project with millionaire investors.
He will introduce five finalists from his inaugural global environmental project, all aiming to solve the world’s biggest climate and ecological problems.
Later today, the Duke of Cambridge will also showcase the best British industry and talent, as the UK hosts its National Day at the Expo 2020 Dubai.
The Expo, which concludes next month, has been a six-month project in the sun-soaked Emirati involving 190 nations hosting exhibits of innovation, technology and culture from their countries.
William is also using the trip to take Earthshot on the road for the first time, ahead of the second year’s award ceremony later this year in the US.
AFP via Getty Images)
The second-in-line is also hoping to raise the profile of global efforts to counter the illegal trade in wildlife with the charity he set up in 2014, United for Wildlife.
William will also join a staged raid on a container from the Jebel Ali Port, the largest in the Middle East.
Billed as the “Nobel prize for the environment”, William last year began a decade-long project to hand out five £1million awards each year to solve the world’s biggest environmental problems.
It emerged after he made a personal vow “to be able to look his children in the eye and promise them he did all he could to fight climate change”, royal sources said.
AFP via Getty Images)
Taking inspiration from President John F. Kennedy’s ‘Moonshot’, which united millions of people around an organizing goal to put a man on the moon, William decided to launch the project with a team of global investors to donate the £50million prize money.
On the Expo stage, William will introduce five finalists of last year’s inaugural awards, made up of winners and runners up, as they pitch their innovative solutions to the audience.
Billed as “the most prestigious global environment prize in history”, William hopes the new global competition for the environment will incentivise change and help to repair our planet over the next ten years, which he described as “a critical decade for the Earth”.
Royal sources said the Duke is “taking the mantle from his father and grandfather to become a global leader on the world stage on the world’s biggest environmental issues”.
Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan, who is also a member of William’s Earthshot Prize council, will also attend the event.
During his visit to the UAE, the Duke will visit the Jebel Ali Port, one of the Middle East’s largest ports, to learn more about efforts in the region to tackle the illegal wildlife trade with the organization United for Wildlife.
A section of the Dubai Expo2020 at the Al Wasl Dome will be taken over by ‘UK National Day where William will meet with British sportsmen and women and Commonwealth representatives taking part in the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay, making its way around the Expo site to various Commonwealth Pavilions.
His trip is seen as a continuation of the royal family’s desire to strengthen ties with the Gulf State, after recent visits to the Middle East, including Jordan and Israel.
The Duke’s visit, on behalf of the Foreign Office, comes as Britain has been looking to the Gulf countries for trade deals as part of its post-Brexit strategy to build new ties around the world.
This afternoon William will also hold a “private bilateral meeting” with the Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
A Kensington Palace spokesperson said: “The bond between the UK and the UAE is deep and strong and Prince William’s visit will highlight and build upon these links as he has the opportunity to engage with young Emiratis, leaders from government and committed conservationists.”