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EPAA, Emirates Nature-WWF, and EMEG launch project to conserve sea and land ecosystem
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EPAA, Emirates Nature-WWF, and EMEG launch project to conserve sea and land ecosystem

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Sharjah’s Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA), Emirates Nature-WWF and the Emirates Marine Environmental Group (EMEG) are working together to introduce a new era of conservation management with a project that focuses on Sir Bu Nair Island.

A community launch event for the project will be held at Al Majaz Waterfront in Sharjah from 5-9pm on January 4. Members of the community are invited to shine a spotlight on Sir Bu Nair island by helping create a digital photography mosaic of this beautiful pearl shaped island displaying its precious wildlife on a 4-meter screen.
HE Hana Saif Al Suwaidi, EPAA Chairperson, said, “Recognising the importance of working towards the long-term protection of marine ecosystems, EPAA is collaborating with Emirates Nature-WWF and EMEG on the 3-year Sir Bu Nair Project. The new approach involves a scalable model of sustainable marine conservation management that adheres to Marine Protected Area legislation under the jurisdiction of Sharjah’s government. The project will benefit the environment, society and future generations of Emiratis.”

His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, declared Sir Bu Nair Island a protected nature reserve in 2000. Recognised as a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention, the island was added to the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2012. A haven for fisherman and pearl divers in the early 20th century, Sir Bu Nair Island is now home to rich and diverse habitats and species including turtles, birds and coral reefs. In addition to its ecological importance, the island has historical, cultural and political significance. 

“The project’s objectives include conserving the coastal and marine ecosystems and biodiversity of Sir Bu Nair Island, strengthening existing management, developing robust long-term scientific monitoring programmes and implementing scientifically-based measures to protect and improve the resilience of the ecosystem in light of increasing anthropogenic and climate-related pressures,” Mrs. Al Suwaidi explained.

She added, “The project will produce a case study of an effectively managed MPA in the UAE by engaging key stakeholders and local experts. The goal is to use Sir Bu Nair Island as a model for MPA management in the UAE while highlighting the socio-economic and ecological benefits of conserving marine environments.”

Research will start in early 2019 with the exploration and surveying of critical marine habitats and species. The first phase of the project involves collecting ecological, historical and local data about Sir Bu Nair Island’s coastal and marine resources. During the second phase, EPAA and its partners; Emirates Nature-WWF and EMEG will identify the most relevant conservation strategies for the long-term management of Sir Bu Nair Island. Phase three involves the formulation of recommendations for the long-term monitoring and sustainable management of the MPA.

The launch event for the Sir Bu Nair Project will raise awareness about the importance of Sir Bu Nair Island and showcase the work of Emirates Nature-WWF, EPAA and EMEG. At the event, participants will be able to upload images to Instagram using the hashtag #pearlofsharjah, and the images will be used to create a digital mosaic of the pearl-shaped island.

Laila Mostafa Abdullatif, Director General of Emirates Nature-WWF, said “Partnerships and collaboration play a key role in our efforts to influence the course of conservation in the UAE. Lasting conservation impact can only be is achieved through collaboration with a range of extraordinary partners and we are delighted to join hands with EPAA, EMEG, and the UAE community to conserve the critically important sea and land ecosystem of Sir Bu Nair island.”

She continued, “Through the effective establishment of marine protected areas, our aim is that our efforts on Sir Bu Nair will be showcased as a national blueprint for Marine Protected Area Management in the UAE. Our team will be conducting scientific research which includes specific focus on sharks in partnerships with EPAA and EMEG which will inform management and business plans for the island in Sharjah”.

The United Arab Emirates has developed an international reputation for marine area management. With fifteen to seventeen designated Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), the nation is well on its way to meeting its commitments under the Convention on Biological Diversity and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. 











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