The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan became the latest country to join forces with Abu Dhabi in the emirate’s long-standing campaign to restore and preserve wild populations of the Houbara. Representatives from both parties signed a cooperation agreement at a ceremony held in the UAE capital affirming their commitment to conserving a bird that is important to biodiversity and the cultural heritage of both countries.
The agreement was signed by Mohamed Saleh Al Baidani, Director General of IFHC on behalf of Abu Dhabi and Yehya Khaled, the Director General of the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN), Jordan.
Speaking after the ceremony Al Baidani, said, “Today is another significant day in Abu Dhabi’s campaign to conserve the Houbara as we welcome the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan as the latest country to join us in our efforts to preserve this culturally important species. I would like to thank His Majesty King Abdullah II and the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature in Jordan for their dedication and commitment to this undertaking. Our joint determination to succeed is evident in the agreement we have signed today, and it provides a strong foundation for taking the Houbara conservation programme to another level.”
The objective of the agreement is to establish a viable population of Houbara bustards in the known and historical distribution range in Jordan, in cooperation with all stakeholders and local communities around this range. Its main components include: a national awareness programme specifically oriented to the restoration project of Houbara in Jordan; specialised research and monitoring to assess the programme’s success; the development of a law enforcement and protection plan for the Houbara in the releasing sites; the establishment of a local communities’ development programme around the release sites; management of the implementation of the project; and the introduction of capacity building programmes for the local staff.
Commenting on the agreement Mr Khaled, said, “The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is committed to preserving its biodiversity and see IFHC as the ideal partner to help preserve one of our most significant natural species: the Houbara bustard. We are grateful to the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the President of the UAE, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, for sharing the expertise that has been developed over many years, and which will provide invaluable assistance to our conservation programme.”
The signing of the agreement swiftly follows the release in Jordan of 500 Asian Houbara bustards bred in Abu Dhabi. Prior to the release, experts from IFHC had undertaken field studies in traditional Houbara habitats in the country and identified the best eight areas to release the Houbara. Jordan joins Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Yemen as the fifth country in the Arabian Peninsula to release birds bred at IFHC’s state-of-the-art facilities. It is also the third country this year to sign official cooperation agreements with Abu Dhabi. In January Kazakhstan signed a 10-year agreement, with Yemen following suit in April.
Al Baidani, added, “International cooperation is a vital aspect of the strategy Abu Dhabi is leading in conserving the Houbara. The challenges we face are amplified by the very large range that the bird covers and we have designed a unique, holistic and integrated approach that is delivering real success. IFHC is happy and willing to share the knowledge and expertise we have developed over more than three decades with all range countries as it provides the best opportunity to achieve our ultimate objective of providing a long-term, sustainable future for the Houbara in the wild.”
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