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UAE Participation in the 62nd Ramsar Convention Meeting

UAE Participation in the 62nd Ramsar Convention Meeting

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) recently participated in the 62nd meeting of the Permanent Committee of the Ramsar Convention, a significant international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. The meeting was held in Gland, Switzerland, at the headquarters of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on September 17th, with the People's Republic of China presiding over the event. This marked a transition of the presidency from the UAE, which had held the position for four years, starting in 2018 and concluding in 2022.

Representing the UAE at this meeting were several key officials, including His Excellency Mohammed Al-Hamadi, Assistant Undersecretary for Biodiversity and Marine Life at the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, and Asila Al Maalla, Director-General of the Environment Authority of Fujairah. Other participants included officials from the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, the Fujairah Environment Authority, the Environment and Protected Areas Authority in Sharjah, and the Dubai Municipality.

During the meeting, discussions centered on the strategic and administrative plans for member countries under the Ramsar Convention. The attendees also examined future projects and the methods employed to preserve wetlands and the biodiversity they house. Additionally, the meeting assessed the current financial situation and the proposed budget for the upcoming year.

His Excellency Mohammed Al-Hamadi stressed the ecological importance of wetlands in the UAE, highlighting the nation's commitment to preserving these ecosystems. He explained that the UAE had strived to double its efforts to protect its rich biodiversity within wetlands by implementing preventative and regulatory measures.

Al-Hamadi noted, "During the UAE's presidency of the Permanent Committee of the Ramsar Convention, we provided a conducive climate for member countries to collaborate in preserving and developing the environment. We look forward to further cooperation during the current presidency of the People's Republic of China. We will work closely with all our partners during the upcoming COP28 conference, hosted by the UAE in November, to explore further opportunities for collaboration that serve our common goals."

Asila Al Maalla emphasized the alignment of the Environment Authority of Fujairah's strategy with the national strategy to protect biodiversity and conserve natural water resources in the Emirate of Fujairah. She noted the importance of community and youth engagement in creating a balance between nature and human activities.

She further added, "The Authority has implemented various initiatives since the inclusion of the Wadi Al Wurayah National Park in the UAE's wetlands. These initiatives have significantly contributed to preserving the natural resources of the protected area. We have also laid out future plans that ensure the sustainability of biodiversity and the renewal of resources."

The 62nd meeting of the Permanent Committee of the Ramsar Convention also discussed proposals for involving young people in wetland conservation efforts. This aligns with the commitment of member countries to engage and empower youth in sustainable future plans.

The UAE delegation showcased the nation's ongoing efforts to safeguard wetlands through systematic plans and pioneering initiatives announced during previous conferences. These initiatives coincide with the Year of Sustainability and the UAE's hosting of the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) on climate change. They reflect the UAE's dedication to enhancing biodiversity within the context of addressing climate change and preserving the planet.

In conclusion, Zimbabwe was announced as the host of the 15th Ramsar Convention for the upcoming edition, and the next meeting of the Permanent Committee of the Ramsar Convention is scheduled to take place in June 2024.

The UAE joined the Ramsar Convention, an internationally significant treaty, in 2007, and over the years, it has added various protected areas to the list of wetlands under the convention. These include Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary in Dubai, Wadi Wurayah National Park in Fujairah, the Khor Kalba Mangroves in Khor Kalba, and Sir Bu Nuair Island in Sharjah, as well as other protected areas in different Emirates.

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