Plan Maritime

Background to Plan Maritime

Abu Dhabi's mainland coastline is approximately 2,435 km long and its waters include around 215 islands and a diverse and rich marine environment, which includes fragile wetlands, mangroves and an internationally important dugong population. These marine areas will become increasingly important contributors towards the diversification of Abu Dhabi's economy, as they will help to attract greater numbers of tourists.

What is Abu Dhabi's Maritime Strategy?

In 2009, a comprehensive Maritime Strategy for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi was endorsed by H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. The Strategy addresses a number of issues, including transport, safety, security, emergency planning, sustainable development, and environmental protection, and recognises the need for effective integrated governance, systems and processes. The Strategy establishes a shared vision for the future and provides maritime stakeholders with a unified strategic direction to guide the development of new and enhanced maritime-related programmes. To achieve the goals of the Maritime Strategy, the Abu Dhabi Maritime Strategic Plan 2012-2016 is the first in a series that was prepared on a five-year cycle.

What is Plan Maritime?

Maritime Plan  is a framework document providing strategic planning guidance and direction.

It distils all pertinent maritime, coastal and marine planning related matters through a stringent process of review and analysis into a single spatial plan.

It contains objectives, principles, policies, geographic plans and schemes and associated commentaries.

What is the vision for Plan Maritime?

The Abu Dhabi Government endorsed the vision of the Maritime Strategy in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi for: 'A safe, secure and sustainable maritime domain for Abu Dhabi. Maritime Plan supports this vision statement.

Planning Principles were developed in support of the vision statement and provide a framework in which decisions will be made. They will become the governing set of guidelines by which the Plan is formulated and subsequently implemented.

What area does Plan Maritime cover?

Maritime Plan covers all waterways, coastal and maritime areas within Abu Dhabi Emirate's boundaries. The plan will focus on seven key areas.

What are the objectives of Plan Maritime?

The overarching objective is to develop a framework for a consolidated, simplified and updated regulatory framework for planning within coastal and marine areas.

Maritime Plan will provide the guidance necessary to inform the sustainable development of public and private investments and initiatives within Abu Dhabi's marine and coastal areas, and ensure equitable access to it, while harnessing the opportunities its diverse ecosystems and sheltered waters are creating for recreational and eco-tourism activities. It will recognise the waters and coasts as an outstanding resource and asset that should be sustained for future generations.

What is DPM's role in developing the Abu Dhabi Maritime Strategic Plan?

A main priority derived from the key goals of the Abu Dhabi Maritime Strategic Plan is to develop a spatial planning framework for sustainable marine and coastal development. DPM has been directed by the Office of the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces to lead the implementation of this key initiative of the endorsed Maritime Strategy, 2009.

As such, DPM prepared the Maritime Plan, Abu Dhabi Coastal and Marine Framework Plan (ADCMFP) and it is intended to complement the objectives of the Abu Dhabi Plan along with Plan Capital, and Plan Al Dhafra.

Interaction with and evolution of Plan Capital was the first framework to be developed by the DPM in 2007 and was groundbreaking in its approach and scale.

It covers the area of Abu Dhabi Island and the surrounding mainland (Abu Dhabi Metropolitan Area) and was the result of a large analysis and research process to understand the area. Plan Al Ain comprises a regional and an urban structure framework plan. Al Ain City Urban Structure Framework Plan, released in 2009, covers the city of Al Ain. Known as the 'garden city' of Abu Dhabi, Al Ain is the ancestral home of the ruling Al Nahyan family. Plan Al Dhafra Regional Structure Framework Plan was the third plan to be created and covers the seven key settlements of the Al Dhafra region - Liwa, Madinat Zayed, Mirfa, Delma, Sila'a, Ruwais and Ghayathi. Al Dhafra is the largest region of the Emirate and holds the majority of the Emirate's oil and gas reserves while being recognised in the Emirate for its diverse agriculture and animal husbandry along with its beautiful natural coastline.

Maritime Plan Abu Dhabi Coastal and Marine Framework Plan will be the fourth plan. Plan Maritime will be a framework document providing strategic planning guidance and direction for Abu Dhabi's coastal and marine area. The Plan will complement and align with the other framework plans.

What are the aims of the process for creating Plan Maritime?

The process aims to reconcile different policies that affect the coastal and marine area and establish a framework that facilitates the integration of the interests and responsibilities of all those involved in the development, planning, management and use of the coastal areas. Maritime Plan delivers a plan-led framework for development of these coastal areas.

Maritime Plan is intended to be the mechanism to ensure the Emirate of Abu Dhabi's internal waterways, mainland/island coastlines and waters of the Arabian Gulf maintain a balanced and diverse array of maritime activity within a sensitively and responsibly managed planning framework for the marine and maritime environment.

Why are Abu Dhabi's coastal and marine resources so important?

The long-term economic viability of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi is inextricably tied to its land, coastal and marine resources. In particular, the Arabian Gulf, its coastlines, and its islands have long been a major part of the Emirate's source of sustenance, providing the resources, ecosystems and recreational opportunities, necessary to sustain its people and make possible the unprecedented development that has marked the Emirate's emergence as a world economic power. Whether on the coast or inland, all life in the Emirate is fundamentally connected to the maritime domain.

More recently, through the discovery of abundant oil and gas reserves, the maritime domain has provided natural resources of strategic importance, which have fuelled the Emirate's rapid development and emergence as a world economic power. Its waters link Abu Dhabi to the global market, and provide abundant recreational and increasing tourism opportunities for the Emirate's citizens, residents and visitors. The desalination plants that meet much of the Emirate's water needs and the majority of power stations are located along Abu Dhabi's coastal zone, and future nuclear plants are also earmarked for coastal locations in Al Dhafra.

Continued economic success, stability and quality of life in the Emirate is therefore, intrinsically connected to creating a sustainable maritime domain.

What are the Principles of Plan Maritime?

  • Sustainability - Foster sustainability in coastal and marine areas. To achieve sustainability, environmental protection should be considered an integral part of the development process and cannot be considered in isolation from it.
  • Coastal and Marine Resource Conservation - Conserve coastal and marine resources, processes and landscapes/seascapes through management actions that will ensure sustainable use of biodiversity and resilience in coastal and marine ecosystems.
  • Safety and Security - Give National safety and security the highest priority while recognising the need to support economic development, human activities and environmental protection.
  • Culture and Heritage - Preserve, conserve and interpret the Emirate's maritime heritage while promoting the living culture and its value.
  • Governance, Transparency and Accountability - Use participatory governance and ensure transparency, accountability and regional responsibility in the planning and management of coastal and marine areas.
  • Risk-informed Decision-making and Adaptive Management - Implement management actions based on the best available information and expertise, take risk-informed decisions including the consideration of cumulative effects, and be flexible enough to adapt management to new information and changing conditions.
  • Integrated Planning - Achieve balanced sustainable outcomes through integrated planning and management within a framework of spatial optimisation and respect for the environment.
  • Public Interest - Foster increased access and use of the coast and the Gulf by the public through planning and management policies.

How will Plan Maritime be developed?

Maritime Plan is developed in coordination with a host of government agency stakeholders to ensure the Plan integrates with the Maritime Strategy. A stakeholder engagement programme is also a key part of the process.

The DPM followed international standards and the Plan Capital process, that was successfully used to develop all of the urban and regional structure framework plans currently in use.

What will be the positive outcomes of Plan Maritime?

Through the development of Maritime Plan, the following was achieved:

  • The creation of plans and policies within will inform future governance policies, regulations and management.
  • The protection of the Emirate and its natural, social and cultural wealth will be carefully monitored and implemented.
  • Abu Dhabi will be known as a benchmark for integrated sustainability planning and the sensitive management and development of natural resources and energy.

What are the ten challenges in the Coastal and Marine areas?

  • Climate Change Adaptation Coastal
  • Marine Natural Resources
  • Marine Water Quality
  • Cultural Heritage
  • Recreation and Tourism
  • Access and Landscapes
  • Maritime Transport
  • Maritime Utilities
  • Blue Economy
  • Safety and Security

What are the next steps?

The Plan will be announced in the upcoming months.

How can you become involved and have your say at this stage?

For further information or to leave feedback please contact the Plan Maritime Project Team:

Tel: +971 (2) 4096292.

The Government of Abu Dhabi has directly committed itself to strengthen and develop four key priority areas:

  1. Ian
    Economic Development
  2. Sandra
    Social & human resources development
  3. Ian
    Infrastructure development & enviormental sustanbility 
  4. Ian
    Optimisation of goverment operations

More About Urban-Planning

Plan Capital

DPM has developed Plan Capital to optimise the city's development through a comprehensive urban evolution program. In doing so, it is laying the foundations for a socially cohesive and economically sustainable community that preserves the Emirate's unique cultural heritage. This foresight to plan for infrastructure ahead of time is a key example of a visionary governance.

Plan Al Ain

Al Ain is the soul of the Emirate. Its spirit emerges from the unique conjunction of Jebel Hafeet, the nurturing oases and the majestic desert that have sustained continuous settlement over 5,000 years. It now exemplifies both the ancient Bedouin traditions and the modern aspirations of the Emirate.

Plan Al Dhafra

With a heritage of more than 150,000 years of continuous human habitation, Al Dhafra is blessed with a depth of cultural assets.