Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi Hosts 4th IUCN Species Survival Commission Leaders’ Meeting in UAE Capital

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  • Convenes more than 350 species conservation experts from around the world in Abu Dhabi to enhance global action for biodiversity
  • To run from 6 to 9 October

Under the patronage of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), the Species Survival Commission (SSC) of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) today opened its four-day Leaders’ Meeting in the UAE capital.

The conference has brought together more than 350 conservation experts, including the IUCN Secretariat and other IUCN commissions, Red List authority coordinators, UAE-based conservationists, SSC partners, as well as members of academia. During the meeting that concludes on 9 October, leaders will seek to produce a declaration emphasising conservation action for species as a shared responsibility, and calling on countries to adopt and implement an ambitious and effective post-2020 global species target.

In her opening address to a gathering of world-renowned species conservation experts, Her Excellency Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Managing Director of EAD, hailed the emirate’s long-standing partnership with SSC.

Her Excellency said: “This initiative demonstrates the incredible power of cross-country collaboration to create environmental impact – something SSC knows a great deal about. After all, conservation transcends borders – and it is our collective responsibility to work together in securing a future for the next generation and beyond.

Hosting the meeting reaffirms EAD’s mission to preserve the quality of life, while raising global awareness on current environmental challenges, climate change, conservation, sustainability, and the need for transparent regulation to safeguard the environment and its endangered species.

She added: “At a time when some are questioning the very existence of the environmental threats that are damaging our Earth, we must work to provide unbiased evidence that empowers sound decision-making for the sake of our planet.”

With over 9,000 volunteers contributing to IUCN SSC activities across 161 working groups, this week’s meeting aims to further strengthen vision, strategy, collaboration and teamwork for improving the status of species globally.

Highlighting EAD’s progress in improving environmental quality, Her Excellency Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary General of EAD, said: “EAD continues to make significant efforts to conserve the region’s rich biodiversity and preserve the quality of life for all our people. Our work to protect terrestrial and marine biodiversity now covers almost 30 percent of land and sea areas in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.”

She added: “Our scientists have discovered several species over the years, the most recent are new types of Digger Wasps, which were sighted just last week at the Al Wathba Wetland Reserve and in Wadi Maidaq in Fujairah.”

Her Excellency said: “There are numerous initiatives for us to be proud of, including the Scimitar-horned Oryx Reintroduction Programme, which helped bring the beautiful species back to its historical home in Chad.”

Dr Jon Paul Rodríguez, Chair of IUCN Species Survival Commission, said: “The meeting will cover four productive and intense days of networking, articulation, learning from past experiences, as well as improving skills, exploring how best to measure the effectiveness of SSC actions on biodiversity conservation and apply the outcomes of that process to improve and guide our future work.”

The agenda includes plenary discussions that address success stories in species conservation, ways to expand conservation planning, strengthen sustainable use of biodiversity and envision the future role of the SSC network.

“This meeting helps ensure that species conservation efforts across the IUCN network and the world are evaluated and expand the capacity of specialist groups and IUCN members to asses-plan-act for conservation, in order to achieve the goal of assessing 160,000 species by 2020 and decrease the number of species threatened with extinction,” added Dr Jon Paul Rodriguez.

The event will also comprise discussion and training sessions covering a range of topics, including the 2021-2024 IUCN Species Strategic Plan, engaging on international treaties, species monitoring, wildlife health, conservation genetics, as well as species conservation translocations, human-wildlife conflicts, and invasive species.

The shared responsibility to conserve Arabian species will also be addressed during the Leaders’ Meeting and provide an opportunity for UAE-based environmentalists and conservationists to share EAD’s efforts in species conservation.

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