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Hamdan bin Zayed hails efforts of EAD in establishing and managing protected areas

posted on 06/10/2016: 1336 views

H.H Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, Chairman of EAD and Chairman of Emirates Falconers' Club, has said that the efforts made by the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, EAD, to establish and manage protected areas have contributed to the stability of habitats of key species such as marine turtles and dugongs, Arabian Oryx and a significant increase in the numbers of birds, such as flamingos, and the stabilised habitats of coral reefs and mangroves.

He added that EAD's efforts have clearly elevated the country's position in the world of global environmental action.

"This position is clearly recognised in international reports such as the Environmental Performance Index, EPI, of Yale University for the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, which ranked the UAE first in the Marine Reserves Index for the second time in 2016. The UAE also ranked 15th in the Biodiversity and Habitat Index, advancing 52 places from 2012," Sheikh Hamdan said.

The importance of establishing and managing protected areas to ensure a balance between sustainable development and the long-term interest of a healthy environment, full of rich biodiversity, is the key message of the EAD stand at the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition, ADIHEX.

The Exhibition is being held in Abu Dhabi under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed from October 4th - 8th at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Centre, ADNEC.

EAD is spearheading initiatives to enhance the protected areas' legal framework, improving management practices, strengthening engagement with relevant stakeholders, encouraging the public's connection to the natural environment, and raising awareness on the importance of the conservation of nature for sustainable development.

Bu Tinah Island has been added to the most important 20 sites of the Indian Ocean and South East Asia, IOSEA, Marine Turtle Site Network and Al Wathba Wetland Reserve is now part of the International Wetland Nature Reserve Network.

Sheikh Hamdan also praised EAD's eco-reserves plan to open key protected areas to the public, such as Al Wathba Wetland Reserve, the Mangrove National Park, and the soon to come Qasr Al Sarab Protected Area.

"This plan enables the community to explore Abu Dhabi's natural heritage. It also fosters a better understanding of the role and responsibilities of the public towards protection of the environment and in the field of preserving the natural heritage of the emirate," he added.

Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, EAD's Secretary-General, said, "Abu Dhabi is endowed with a diverse range of ecosystems including mangrove forests, coral reefs, sea grass, coastal and inland Sabkha, sand dunes which provide numerous direct and indirect goods and services to the local community, such as fish protein, protection of coastal areas from erosion, cleaning the air and water from pollution, sanctuary for important animal species, tourism destinations, aesthetic and cultural values and the storage of genetic material."

She added, "Abu Dhabi's network of protected areas is a cornerstone for the conservation of the emirate's ecosystems and for the preservation of natural and cultural heritage. As of 2016, approximately 13% of Abu Dhabi's Marine Biome was considered a Marine Protected Areas, MPA, and 15% of Abu Dhabi's Terrestrial Biome was considered a Terrestrial Protected Areas, TPA."

About EAD's participation in ADIHEX, Al Mubarak noted that "this annual event provides us with a platform to interact with the community and highlight Abu Dhabi government's efforts to achieve long-term conservation of biodiversity."

EAD's stand will host a number of interactive activities designed to communicate with visitors through virtual tours to highlight the unique biodiversity of Abu Dhabi from the importance of conserving native species to preserving its natural heritage, as well as highlighting EAD's role in establishing and managing terrestrial and marine protected areas. - (Emirates News Agency, WAM )


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