Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri is the Secretary General of the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD), the largest environmental regulator in the Middle East responsible for protecting and preserving natural resources and promoting sustainable development in the Emirate. She holds a PhD wildlife conservation and protection from the University of Aberdeen in the United Kingdom which makes her the first Emirati woman to earn the accolade. She also holds two Masters degrees from UAE University (UAEU) in Al Ain degrees in environmental science, and another in biological conservation from the University of Kent in the United Kingdom. She earned her Bachelors degree in environmental species from UAEU.
Dr. Al Dhaheri began her career at EAD as a research assistant in terrestrial environment research in 2000 and was later appointed executive director of the agency’s terrestrial and marine biodiversity sector in 2012. In this role she spearheaded initiatives to promote a comprehensive understanding of the state of biodiversity in Abu Dhabi and ensured that the sector’s goals were in line with Abu Dhabi Environment Vision 2030 and the Abu Dhabi Plan, among other national and Emirate-level directives. She has played a defining role in establishing a clear vision for the sector to facilitate a sustainable environment and future for Abu Dhabi.
Dr. Al Dhaheri has been credited with introducing innovative ideas and solutions in the field of environmental protection and species conservation, and has overseen implementation of numerous programs on biodiversity, protected areas, threatened species and fisheries, and national and global species reintroduction programs. She serves on several committees and councils in the UAE and sits on the boards of Abu Dhabi Sewerage Services Company, Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort, Emirates Nature-WWF, and the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority. She is active in many international organizations and in 2016 she was elected a regional councillor to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Western Asia. She is also chair of the IUCN UAE national committee.
Dr. Al Dhaheri won the Abu Dhabi Award for Excellence in Government Performance in 2015 and the Al Dana Excellence Award in 2014. She is also the recipient of the 2010 and 2005 Rashid Bin Maktoum Awards for Scientific Excellence for her PhD and Masters thesis respectively.