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Our Work

OFNZ’s™ work in the Middle East focuses on the Environment (Water Management), Food Production, Marine, Eco-Tourism and Conservation sectors.

Salt Leachate Measurement & Risk Modelling (UAE)

Research & PhD programme

Design, development and delivery of a four-year research project to determine the water-usage, productivity and resultant salt leaching of consumable halophytic crop (Salicornia), under three water treatments (Groundwater, Reject Brine and Aqua-Brine), and three different irrigation methods (drippers, bubblers and subsoil). The Aqua-Brine is the waste water from an aquaculture farm applied to the three crops (containing highly saline water and nutrients from waste). The Reject Brine is waste from desalination units – highly saline water. The research is being conducted to inform water allocation and management policies for the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi. It includes in-country practical research and supervision of PhD students by Plant & Food Research scientists and Massey University (NZ).

Development of a Decision Support Tool for Water Allocation (UAE)

Customised tool for water allocation

Design, development and delivery of a software decision support tool for use by water regulators. The tool uses input parameters customised to the local environment (soil type, salinity, climate, crop type, farm size etc) to calculate the amount of water that can be allocated to a farm on an annual basis. It also allows for seasonal allocations and variations and is designed to be used to calculate water allocations for permitting and monitoring purposes.

The tool has also been customised to take spatial data into account, allowing for farm composition and crop type to be detected via satellite or drone images, allowing easy collection of date from remote or difficult to reach farms.

Concessions Framework for Eco-Tourism (UAE)

Framework & licensing programme

Design, development and delivery of a concessions and licensing framework to enable sustainable tourist access and use of protected areas. This framework enabled commercial operators to provide sustainable eco-tourism services and attract visitors nature and protected sites whilst allowing the governing body to meet their obligations regarding protecting and conserving protected areas for future generations.

The concessions framework addressed key issues of: regulation, policy, environmental (quality, biodiversity, sustainability of activities etc.), economic, commercial and social factors and involved the implementation of two prototype concession plans for Al Wathba and the Eastern Mangroves areas.

Measurement of Water Consumption by Date Palms (UAE)

Research and PhD programme

Design, development and delivery of a four-year research project measuring and calibrating groundwater use over three different salinity levels and the impact on resultant fruit yield in Date Palms. The project identified between 40-60% savings on water usage with no impact to fruit yield. The research was commissioned by the Environment Agency- Abu Dhabi to inform water allocation for farmers. It included in-country practical fieldwork training and PhD reseach programme with Plant and Food Research and Massey University (NZ).

Measurement of the Impact of treated Sewage Effluent (TSE) on Forestry (UAE)

Research & PhD programme

Design, development and delivery of a four-year research project to measure and calibrate the use of both groundwater and Treated Sewage Effluent for irrigating native forestry and amenity plants. Project identified up to 50% water-use savings on groundwater use and up to 75% water savings in TSE use. The project included in-country fieldwork and a PhD programme supervised by Plant & Food Research and Massey University (NZ).

Fisheries Management Programme (UAE)

Programme management

The management of a programme of work (11 projects) covering policy, regulation, socio-economic survey, management plans, research programmes, 12-month survey of fish stocks in Abu Dhabi waters, and a pilot of electronic catch recording from vessels. The programme was over a 2.5 year period and involved a range of key stakeholders from traditional fishers, to scientists, and senior leadership. Outputs from the programme resulted in new policy settings for the UAE Fishery which have seen an improvement in fish stocks in recent years.

B2B & B2C Marketing Plans For Aquaculture Industry Development (UAE)

Marketing & communications

Development of two marketing plans to: 1) attract investors to the establishment of Aquaculture farms (B2B); and 2) provide a branded marketing programme to introduce and encourage consumption of locally farmed fish (B2C). Both plans included brand development for each of the campaign programmes, channel plans on a range of media, timing, frequency and measurement of the impact of the plans.

Fisheries’ Marketing & Communications Plan (UAE)

Behavioural change programme

Development of a Marketing & Communications Plan for a multi-year social change programme addressing the need to change fishing and consumer habits to allow the Gulf Fishery to recover. The plan included brand development for the change programme and channel plans on a range of media – from social to television – communicating the need, evidence and behaviour change required.

Leadership Training for School Principals (Oman)

Customised training programme

Designed, developed and delivered a two-year leadership training programme for school Principals. Based on a train-the-trainer approach, the programme was delivered to 600 school Principals and included workshops, one-to-one training and supporting videos in Arabic and English.

Review of Education Sector K1-12 (Oman)

Sector review & recommendations

Undertook a 12-month review of the education sector in Oman. The review and subsequent recommendations covered all aspects of K1-12 education including school infrastructure, governance (local, regional, central), financial, curriculum and assessment, resourcing, and teacher training.