The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, MOCCAE, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, MoFAIC, and the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, EAD, have launched the joint ‘Al Maha Diplomacy’ initiative to preserve local biodiversity.
As part of the initiative, the three entities seek to introduce the international community to the UAE’s flora and fauna through exporting local plants and animals to select countries that offer the appropriate sheltering facilities.
The initiative mandates MOCCAE to coordinate with federal and local authorities to supply the animals and plants, provide information on the habitats of the local species, arrange their transport, and issue health certificates.
Meanwhile, the role of MoFAIC comprises liaising with the UAE’s embassies abroad as well as embassies of foreign countries in the UAE to suggest zoos, protected areas, and sanctuaries that can accommodate the animals and plants. The Ministry will also facilitate the relocation procedures.
EAD’s responsibilities include supplying the animals and plants, particularly oryx, as well as reviewing and sharing the information provided by MOCCAE pertaining to their proper handling and suitable living conditions.
Commenting on the announcement, Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said, “The UAE is firmly committed to sustaining local biodiversity and complying with the highest standards of animal welfare and plant preservation.”
“We conducted multiple research exercises and surveys to identify indigenous species and their natural habitats. Then we used the information to target endangered and threatened species in our conservation efforts to enable them to thrive in the wild once again,” he added.
On behalf of MoFAIC, Zaki Nusseibeh, Minister of State, said, “MoFAIC is pleased to form a strategic partnership with MOCCAE and EAD to help sustain biodiversity in the UAE for future generations.”
He went on to note, “Our country prioritises the preservation of our local biodiversity that is an intrinsic part of our heritage and, ultimately, is crucial to our very survival. We are guided by the National Biodiversity Strategy, that aims to address the underlying causes of biodiversity loss through incorporating environmental principles across all sectors and promoting sustainable use of natural resources.”
Applauding the collaboration among all concerned entities in environmental protection, Nusseibeh said, “Productive cross-sector synergies in the UAE have led to major achievements on an international scale. A prime example is the country’s first rank globally on the marine protected areas indicator in the 2018 Environmental Performance Index.”
For her part, Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Acting Secretary-General of EAD, said, “The joint Al Maha Diplomacy initiative aligns with the Agency’s ongoing drive to conserve flora and fauna on a local and international level. Our efforts have contributed to bringing multiple species back from the verge of extinction, reintroducing them into the wild, and increasing their numbers.”
She referred to the Delaija Wildlife Management Centre as a leading example of EAD’s facilities that help maintain self-sustaining populations of endangered wild animals through breeding programs and reintroduction into their natural habitat.