EAD receives Champion Plus Awards for migratory species conservation

By Arya M Nair, Official Reporter
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EAD receives Champion Plus Awards
Rep.Image | Courtesy; WAM

The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) has been honored with two Champion Plus awards at the Fourteenth Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP14) to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

EAD received the Champion Plus Awards for its commitment and efforts in supporting the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa & Eurasia, as well as the Conservation of Dugongs and their Habitats throughout their range for the period 2024-2027.

The Champion Plus Awards are bestowed on entities who have supported the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) initiatives under the Migratory Species Champion Program. The agency was recognized for supporting the program including implementation of actions under two MoUs of the CMS Office – Abu Dhabi since its inception in 2009, the convention’s only office outside Bonn.

The CMS Abu-Dhabi Office implements conservation activities for dugongs and African-Eurasian raptors, under two respective MoUs. The agreements were signed in October 2007 and October 2008 respectively and have been the umbrella under which several significant local and international initiatives have been launched. The UAE is a signatory to both the MoUs and is signatory to the Convention on Migratory Species.

HE Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri_EAD received the Champion Plus Awards
HE Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri
Secretary General EAD

“These awards are another significant affirmation of Abu Dhabi’s leading position in the conservation of migratory species. The UAE has announced that 2024 will be an extension of the Year of Sustainability, reminding us that the conservation of the environment in all its forms is vital and necessary and something we should all collectively work towards. Being recognized with these awards, will further inspire and propel forward our efforts towards international cooperation for the conservation of migratory species and we will continue to work closely with all our local, regional and international partners to this end.”

“Ever since the launch of the CMS Office in Abu Dhabi, over 15 years ago, which the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi has had the honor of leading, we have witnessed several key achievements. For example, under the Raptors MoU, there are currently 64 signatories across Africa, the Middle East and Europe. Similarly, there are 27 nations that have signed the Dugong MoU who are all supporting conservation strategies across their countries, helping our work echo beyond the borders of the UAE,” Dr. Al Dhaheri added.

Abu Dhabi hosts significant populations of dugongs and sea turtles, especially the critically endangered hawksbill turtle, and EAD has developed a long-term research, monitoring, and management program for the conservation of these species and their habitats. Abu Dhabi hosts one of the world’s largest dugong populations, which, despite the threats it has faced, has remained stable due to effective conservation measures taken by the agency.

With an estimated 3,000 dugongs in the Abu Dhabi population, it is the second largest after Australia. Under the Dugongs MoU, EAD has worked with the CMS Abu Dhabi Office in developing the award winning Dugong-Seagrass Research Toolkit and the 2030 Seagrass Breakthrough initiative.

Over two decades, EAD has also undertaken assessment, monitoring and movement studies on migratory species. Long-term trend data and information on migration routes and stopover sites are critical for the conservation of important migratory bird species, both locally and along their migratory routes. The agency’s long-term tracking studies on migratory birds and some raptors such as Sooty Falcon, Spotted Eagle and Steppe Eagle is helping in improving understanding of the species’ migration patterns, the challenges they face, and actions needed to further protect them.

The CMS Abu Dhabi Office for the last 15 years has been implementing actions under the Raptors MoU to further conserve migratory species and their habitats and EAD has worked closely with the CMS Abu Dhabi Office in developing the Sooty Falcon Conservation Action Plan, the Saker Global Action Plan and the Vulture MSAP. EAD has also been involved in providing the Technical Advisory Group of the Raptors MoU as its member and providing technical advice during the meeting.

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