At a ceremony held in Abu Dhabi, delegations from the Emirate and the Republic of Yemen signed a cooperation agreement on the conservation of the Houbara bustard.
The 10-year agreement updates the existing Convention on Houbara Conservation and reinforces the historically strong relations that exist between the two parties and extends HH Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s Houbara Reintroduction Project. It was signed by representatives from Abu Dhabi’s International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC) and the Environment Protection Authority, Ministry of Water and Environment of the Republic of Yemen.
The wide-ranging agreement covers cooperation: on advancing on the world-leading ecological studies pioneered by IFHC; to develop a Houbara reproduction programme in order to increase their numbers in the Republic of Yemen; to establish natural reserves in Yemen to protect the species; to provide training with personnel at the appropriate authorities in Yemen; and to advance environmental awareness and education in schools and local communities in Yemen.
HE Mohammed Ahmed Al Bowardi, Deputy Chairman of the IFHC Board, said: “This agreement is another significant advance in the programme to conserve such a culturally important species. The Houbara is a bird close to the heart of both countries and we welcome the opportunity to take our partnership forward. Future success depends on international cooperation and Abu Dhabi is both delighted and willing to share our knowledge and expertise in order to realise our ultimate objective of restoring and preserving the Houbara in the wild.”
The agreement was signed on behalf of Abu Dhabi by Mohamed Saleh Al Baidani, Director General, IFHC, and by Eng. Anwar Faisal Al Hemairi, Deputy of the Environment Protection Authority in Yemen. The Yemini delegation also contained: Eng. Ali Hussein Al Ansi, Member of the Board of Deputies, Board of the Water and Environment Committee; Eng. Galal Hussein Al Haruji, Director General of the Migrant Species Conventions; and Eng. Yasser Al Ghaber, Director General of the Authority’s Branch in Al Hudayda Governorate. On Saturday the delegation took the opportunity to visit the National Avian Research Centre (NARC) at Sweihan to witness first-hand IFHC’s state-of-the-art Houbara breeding facility.
Commenting on the ceremony and the delegation’s visit to Abu Dhabi, Engineer Al Hemairi said: “Yemen has the last surviving groups of non-migratory Houbara in the Arabian Peninsula. This resident population plays a crucial role in Yemen’s natural environment and the convention we have signed will progress environmental cooperation, enhancing the close relations and the constructive partnership, which already exists between us to meet our mutual ambitions.”
The agreement follows the release in Yemen last year of nearly 200 Asian Houbara bred in Abu Dhabi. Mohamed Saleh Al Baidani, Director General of IFHC said: “The opportunity to study the resident population in Yemen has proved an important element in establishing IFHC as the leading authority on the species. The ability to continue studying the species for the next decade can only assist the Fund in advancing its programme to preserve and restore wild populations of the bird across its entire range.”
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