Feb 23
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In the News: Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi hosts conference for conservation experts

Experts from around the world are gathering for a six-day conference that will set the agenda for global species conservation for the next four years.

Dugong image

A dugong - one of the spectacular creatures to be found in the UAE

IUCN SSC Chairs meeting

This IUCN SSC (Species Survival Commission) Chairs meeting will involve members of more than 100 SSC groups. These SSC groups focus on the conservation issues faced by a fascinating array of plants and animals, from slime moulds to dragonflies and antelopes. Some groups also specialise in addressing specific issues, such as the reintroduction of species back into the wild.

These specialists are world experts on almost every conceivable creature or plant on the planet. Abu Dhabi is hosting this conference out of a deep and historical commitment to protecting biodiversity on a national, regional, and global scale,” said H.E. Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary General of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD).

This meeting will set the global species conservation agenda for the next four years and EAD is proud to support it.”

Arabian oryx image

The Arabian oryx is a major success story for conservation in the UAE

Conservation in the United Arab Emirates

The conference will feature conservation programmes from the United Arab Emirates (UEA) in the opening ceremony, and will highlight the UAE’s continued commitment to conservation. The Arabian oryx is one such conservation success story, having being reintroduced to the wild after being almost hunted to extinction.

We are continually impressed with Abu Dhabi’s strong support of species conservation both locally and internationally,” said Dr Simon Stuart, Chair of the IUCN SSC.

Abu Dhabi has been instrumental in regional efforts to bring the Arabian oryx back from the brink of extinction. Its efforts with locally threatened species such as the dugong, houbara bustard, and hawksbill turtles are also very impressive. Perhaps more important is Abu Dhabi’s established long-term commitment to global species conservation.”

Houbara bustard image

The houbara bustard is currently being conserved in the UAE

Although the Species Survival Commission was formed 60 years ago, this will only be the second time in its history that the chairs of the various groups have met. This meeting of world experts will provide a platform from which to advance global species conservation and achieve the SSC vision of ‘A world that values and conserves present levels of biodiversity’.

Find out more about the IUCN Species Survival Commission.

Visit the spectacular Jewels of the UAE pages on ARKive to discover more about the wildlife of the United Arab Emirates.

Becky Moran, ARKive Species Text Author

Dec 7
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Eye on Earth Abu Dhabi 2011 Summit and Exhibition

Picture of the Eye on Earth Summit logoNext week, the United Arab Emirates and ARKive’s principal sponsor, the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) will welcome global leaders, innovators and decision-makers from across the world to the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), where they will address the issue of providing greater access to environmental and social data to all of those who need it.

What is Eye on Earth?

A global meeting held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, the Eye on Earth Summit and Exhibition will act to draw attention to the gap that exists between the need for better information about the environment and the efforts that are being made to address this issue.

Ensuring effective access to environmental and societal data is critical in making informed environmental decisions; however, much of this data is currently absent, inaccessible or hidden. This is particularly evident in developing countries that do not have the means to acquire or generate data to make informed decisions.

Delegates at the Summit will therefore ‘convene, converge and collaborate’ to strengthen existing efforts and inspire a search for unified, global solutions to the issues that are preventing this important data from being readily accessible.

Who will be attending?

The Summit will host approximately 750 invited delegates ranging from current and former heads of state to international academic organisations and scientists. A dynamic blend of prominent speakers from the worlds of business, government and environmental protection will be present, including Dr. Sylvia A. Earle, Dr. Jane Goodall DBE, Julia Marton-Lefèvre and President Bill Clinton.

Photo of Arabian oryx males fighting

Abu Dhabi hosts between 450 and 500 terrestrial plant species and close to half the world’s Arabian Oryx population

Running alongside the Summit will be the Eye on Earth Exhibition, which is open to the general public and will showcase the very best from around the world in the field of data access and analysis. Wildscreen’s ARKive project will be among the multi-media mix of informational and educational products on show at the Exhibition.

The Abu Dhabi Pavilion at the Eye on Earth Abu Dhabi 2011 Exhibition will showcase themes such as the Capital’s progress towards sustainable urban development

The Abu Dhabi Pavilion at the Eye on Earth Abu Dhabi 2011 Exhibition will showcase themes such as the Capital’s progress towards sustainable urban development

What will be the outcome of the Summit?

A key outcome of the Summit will be the adoption of the Eye on Earth Summit Declaration, which will provide input to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development being held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 2012 (Rio+20). Through this Declaration, attending ministers, representatives of government and other participants will commit to facilitate the work required to make quality data and information available to those who need it, especially in emerging economies. The public is invited to sign the declaration at the Exhibition.

The Eye on Earth Summit and Exhibition is taking place in Abu Dhabi, 12th – 15th December 2011.

The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) is supporting ARKive to audio-visually profile the great diversity of UAE wildlife, as well as the world’s most endangered species. We look forward to working with them next week at the Eye on Earth Summit and Exhibition.

Apr 14
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Jewels of the UAE

Visit our new Jewels of the UAE pages to discover the stunning array of habitats and species found in the United Arab Emirates. The Jewels of the UAE have been developed in collaboration with ARKive’s principal sponsor, the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD).

Photo of sand dune habitat of common sandfish

Sand dunes, home to the common sandfish and other desert specialists

Discover the United Arab Emirates

From mega sand dunes covering large expanses of the UAE, home to well-adapted desert specialists, to extensive seagrass beds providing safe haven for internationally important populations of endangered species, the variety of habitats and species in the UAE is both amazing and perhaps surprising.

Dugong photo

The dugong is found in the seagrass beds off the coast of the UAE

Highlighting spectacular diversity

Our new Jewels of the UAE pages highlight not only the familiar desert specialists many of us associate with the Arabian peninsular, but also the less well known – the colourful fish living on the coral reefs in the warm waters off the coast of the UAE, the many birds which breed on offshore islands and in the mangrove swamps, and the mountain species, some found nowhere else in the world.

Photo of five-lined snapper shoal

Shoals of five-lined snapper are found patrolling over coral reefs

Conserving endangered species

The UAE boasts a number of conservation success stories – the most famous being that of the Arabian oryx, once extinct in the wild and now re-introduced into its natural habitat in populations throughout the Arabian Peninsula.

Photo of Arabian oryx males fighting

Visit our Jewels of the UAE pages to find more of the spectacular variety of species which live in the habitats of this stunning region and to learn more about the conservation efforts being undertaken in the region.

Also new today…

Many of the species found in the UAE and on our Jewels of the UAE pages, are being highlighted as part of a new exhibit launched today at Al Ain Wildlife Park & Resort by H.E. Razan Al Mubarak, Secretary General, the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi Wildlife photography exhibition on display in Abu Dhabi in 2010

Abu Dhabi Wildlife photography exhibition on display in Abu Dhabi in 2010

Feb 8
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In the News: 800,000 mangrove saplings planted in Abu Dhabi

The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) has planted 800,000 Avicennia marina mangrove saplings along the coast of Saadiyat and Jubail Islands, with the aim of alleviating the effects of property development on vulnerable coastal habitats.

Photo of the mangrove habitat of the western reef egret

Typical mangrove habitat

The planting project, which began in November 2009 and was completed this month, was developed by the EAD and the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) to help reduce the effects of widespread development and mitigate degradation and habitat loss on Saadiyat Island and the nearby Island of Jubail.

The Emirate of Abu Dhabi is rapidly developing and coastal development is on the rise.

Thabit Al Abdessalaam, Director of Biodiversity Management Sector at EAD, says that being proactive and planting 800,000 mangrove saplings will “preserve our emirate’s fragile coastal biodiversity, and preserve a share of our heritage.”

Photo of the EAD mangroves team

The EAD-ADTA Mangrove Sapling Planting Programme team © EAD

Crucial habitats

Mangrove tree habitats are some of the world’s most productive and biologically important ecosystems. They protect beaches and coastal areas from erosion caused by the waves and ocean currents, provide vital habitats for numerous different species, and are a source of food, timber and fuel.

However, despite their many benefits to both humans and biodiversity, mangrove forests are declining around the world. This may leave coastal communities much more vulnerable to natural disasters.

Abu Dhabi possesses extensive mangrove areas on its islands and coastal regions, with mangroves currently covering around 72 square kilometres, including areas with sparse patches and mangrove plantations.

Encouraging mangrove reforestation

To protect coastal habitats from unsustainable development and habitat degradation, EAD is actively encouraging new developers to rehabilitate affected areas by undertaking extensive mangrove plantation programmes, under EAD’s supervision.

Saadiyat Island, where some of the planting has been carried out, is expected to be transformed into an international tourist and cultural destination by the Tourism Development and Investment Company by the year 2020. The company is following an active mangrove rehabilitation planting plan that aims at protecting remaining natural mangroves and rehabilitating impacted mangrove habitats along the island’s coastline.

Photo of mangrove saplings in habitat

Some of the 800,000 mangrove saplings planted in the programme © EAD

So far, the EAD-ADTA Mangrove Sapling Planting Programme has been a resounding success, with saplings planted last year demonstrating strong and healthy growth rates. Biodiversity in these areas also appears to be flourishing, with bird and gastropod populations in particular benefiting greatly from the new plantations.

Find out more about The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, ARKive’s principal sponsor.

Take a look at some of the amazing wildlife that can be found in mangrove swamps on ARKive’s ‘Jewels of the UAE’ pages.

Helen Roddis, ARKive Species Text Author

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