Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Dubai to conduct migratory birds’ census

The Gulf Today, 2 Feb 2010

The civic authorities in Dubai will conduct on Feb.5 a special census of migratory birds perched at the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary, to account the diverse species of migratory birds in the sanctuary in time of the winter migration.
A comprehensive survey of the wetlands in the emirate will also be carried out soon by Dubai Municipality (DM) as a prelude to preparing a national strategy to preserve the wetlands.
A senior DM member said that the preparations are in pipeline for the detailed survey, as the civic body has agreed to take the necessary legal procedures for the protection of wetland sites.
Hamdan Al Shaer, Director of Environment Department at the DM, made the announcement as the Municipality joins the global celebrations in observation of the World Wetlands Day that falls on Tuesday.
"Dubai Municipality observes the wetlands day as a manifestation of its support in the worldwide campaign to spread awareness on the significance of protection and conservation of wetlands," he said.
According to him, the DM has charted out various activities to mark the occasion observed this year with the theme, "Caring for Wetlands - an answer to Climate Change."
"Caring about climate change is caring about our wetlands, which means caring about biodiversity. The 2010 has been declared as International Year of Biodiversity" pointed out Shaer.
"The Municipality focuses on two key areas which are endangered biodiversity and threats of climate change on the planet, exploring the relationship between the two issues that pose irreversible risks on wetlands and people," he explained.
He added that this year the DM's observation of the wetlands day at the Municipality Club will focus on wetland values and benefits in response to the decisions of the Johannesburg conference in support of the Ramsar Convention.
"The convention aims to protect the wetlands around the world, which amounted to about 6 per cent of the earth's surface represented in more than 1000 sites and to preserve the biological and physical components through the sustainable use of those resources," noted Shaer.
"Wetlands are vulnerable to human-induced climate change. But wetland ecosystems and their biodiversity can play a vital role in the mitigation of the problems of climate change, if they are being managed well," said.
According to him, caring for wetlands is part of the solution to climate change, as it will significantly help humans to adapt to climate change through critical role in water and food security.
Shaer said the UAE is the 156th member of the RAMSAR Convention and the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary in Dubai is the 1,715th RAMSAR site around the globe. The occasion marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands held in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea on Feb.2 in 1971.
"Each year since 1997, governmental and non-governmental organisations undertake actions aimed at raising public awareness of wetland," Shaer added.

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