Abu Dhabi, 12 February 2024: The United Arab Emirates has sent a high-level delegation headed by Her Excellency Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary General of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) to the Fourteenth Conference of the Parties Meeting (COP14) in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. The delegation also includes representatives from the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) and members from key government entities.

The Convention’s 14th Meeting of the Parties is being held under the slogan “Nature Knows No Boundaries” to highlight the challenges faced by migratory species and the need to strengthen international cooperation to confront them. The conference theme is aligned with the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, and addresses topics related to habitat conservation and threats such as overexploitation and the climate crisis.

The conference, in which Ministers and Executive Directors from international organisations share their experiences in the field of migratory species conservation, emphasises the need for cross-border, global action to ensure the survival of these species.

On the sidelines of the meeting, EAD signed an agreement to extend its partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to host and support the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) - Abu Dhabi office. Her Excellency Dr. Shaikha and Ms. Amy Frankel, Executive Secretary, Convention on Migratory Species, signed the agreement in Samarkand.

Speaking at the High-level Segment of COP14, Dr. Shaikha said: “We strongly believe in partnerships and collaborations, and our long-standing partnership with the Convention on Migratory Species to conserve migratory birds of prey and dugongs under two MoUs is a testament to that”.

“The UAE has supported the conservation of migratory species since 2009, via its decision to host the Convention on Migratory Species - Abu Dhabi Office. This support has enabled the Convention on Migratory Species to implement action plans under the MoUs to promote conservation of migratory birds of prey and dugongs,” added Her Excellency.

“Hosting and supporting the Convention on Migratory Species - Abu Dhabi Office for over 15 years is an excellent example of our commitment to supporting the conservation of species and their habitats beyond our borders. It is also a testament to the UAE’s vision and long-term support for the conservation of raptors and dugongs and other migratory species.”

She further stated: “The world would be in a much better place if we come together and support initiatives beyond our national boundaries. As migratory species know ‘no borders,’ our efforts to support their conservation, as well as addressing other environmental challenges, should also know ‘no borders’.”

His Excellency Dr. Mohammed Salman Al Hammadi, Assistant Undersecretary for Biodiversity and Marine Life Sector at MOCCAE, said: “The Ministry plays an important role in coordinating all relevant authorities in the UAE to enhance biodiversity and preserve species, endangered species, and preserving migratory species to enhance the biological balance in our region and globally.”

“The UAE is making progress through more policies and actions, the most prominent of which is the Framework of the National Biodiversity Strategy 2031, which was launched by the UAE Cabinet on the sidelines of the COP28. The Framework governs our efforts to monitor, protect and sustain natural systems, and raise the efficiency of our national cadres in this field”.

His Excellency added: “We welcome the extension of Abu Dhabi’s hosting of the Secretariat Office of the Convention on Migratory Species, which reflects the great confidence that the Secretariat has in the UAE and its ability to leave a mark in this field. We are also pleased to participate in the fourteenth meeting of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, where we will review the UAE’s efforts in this field, hoping for more multilateral cooperation with to keep the planet alive with a rich variety of living creatures.”

The CMS Office in Abu Dhabi, established in 2009, is the convention's only regional center outside its headquarters in Bonn, Germany and has been hosted by EAD since its inception. The CMS Abu - Dhabi Office implements conservation activities for dugongs and African-Eurasian raptors, under two respective MoUs.

The office includes the Coordinating Unit of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia (Raptors MOU), and the Secretariat of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation and Management of Dugongs and their Habitats throughout their Range (Dugong MOU).

The two international agreements were adopted in Abu Dhabi in October 2007 and October 2008, with the UAE among the signatory countries that span the two MoUs’ range states.

The UAE is an important CMS partner and co-led the development and signing of the CMS dugong and raptor MOUs. The country also joined two other CMS agreements on migratory sharks (CMS Sharks MOU) and marine turtles (IOSEA). The UAE acceded to CMS as a Contracting Party in 2016, further establishing its commitment to the conservation of migratory species.

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