Middle East & North Africa

Abu Dhabi hosts the First Regional Biodiversity Forum in the Gulf Region

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Abu Dhabi hosts the First Regional Biodiversity Forum in the Gulf Region

ABU DHABI, May 2 2018 (WAM) - The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), in cooperation with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) – Regional Office for West Asia (ROWA), will host the First Regional Biodiversity Forum from May 7-9 2018.

Being held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in Al Dhafra Region and Chairman of EAD, the forum will be attended by experts and researchers in the field of biodiversity from the region and around the world.

The Forum will discuss the progress towards the implementation of the National Strategies of NBSAPs (National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plans) related to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD); present initiatives on biodiversity conservation in the UAE and the Arab region; exchange expertise and enforce cooperation in the biodiversity field.

It will also ensure synergies and joint technical coordination among Arab countries in the region for effective participation in the 13th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar COP13) scheduled to be held in October 2018 in the UAE and in the fourteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CDC COP14) that will be hosted by Egypt in November 2018.

The forum will kick-off with four keynote speakers who will highlight the importance of biodiversity conservation. This includes Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak – EAD’s Secretary General, Dr. Jane Smart – Global Director, Biodiversity Conservation Group/IUCN and H.R.H. Princess Basma bint Ali, Founder of the Royal Botanic Garden, Jordon.

Presentations on individual National Biodiversity Strategy Action Plans (NBSAPs) from the participating countries from the region will provide update on the progress of each of their individual countries’ environmental strategies. This will further feed into the discussion about regional coordination for the CBD and Aichi Target 11.

During the three-day forum, IUCN will present on progress made to mobilise support and resources for the CBD COP 14, while Egypt will give a presentation about the CBD COP 14. Representative from the MOCCAE will give presentation on preparations and opportunities for countries in the region to showcase their initiatives during the Ramsar COP 13.

The First Regional Biodiversity Forum provides a wonderful opportunity to countries in the region to showcase initiatives and actions undertaken towards conservation of biodiversity. It also highlights challenges faced and how collective knowledge and expertise in the forum would suggest innovative ways to overcome them, said Dr. Sheikha Salem Al Dhaheri, EAD’s Executive Director of Terrestrial and Marine Biodiversity.

Biodiversity underpins life on Earth, it is critical for the resilience of ecosystems and thus important for the provision of often-irreplaceable ecosystem services, but risks and threats to biodiversity today and species extinctions due to human activities are increasing significantly and require comprehensive solutions and international cooperation, said Dr. Shaikha.

The forum will help further mobilise regional support for the Ramsar COP 13 and CBD COP 14 and highlight achievements despite socio-political challenges. It will also reaffirm the leadership role of EAD and UAE in the application of the Green List standards for Protected and Conserved areas in the Arab region.

The forum is also a fitting tribute to the rich environmental legacy of late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, UAEs founding father, especially as we celebrate the Year of Zayed, said Dr. Shaikha.


WAM/Tariq alfaham

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