Government of Fujairah appoints EWS-WWF to spearhead the development of Wadi Wurayah National Park
The Government of Fujairah has been working closely with EWS-WWF since 2006 in Wadi Wurayah. In 2009, this important area was designated a Protected Area by HH Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammad Al Sharqi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Fujairah, making it the first Mountain Protected Area in the United Arab Emirates.
The agreement that has been signed today is considered an important milestone that further solidifies the support of the Fujairah Government and Municipality by appointing EWS-WWF to lead on the establishment of the Wadi Wurayah National Park and committing to provide the resources needed to realise the vision for the Protected Area.
H.E. Mohammed Al Afkham, Managing Director of Fujairah Municipality said: “We are delighted to see our partnership with EWS-WWF take a significant step forward, and we will all be working together to establish the Wadi Wurayah National Park as a distinguished example in the country and the world.
“We are committed to establishing a sustainable Protected Area, integrating local tradition and lifestyle with the conservation of inimitable biodiversity and habitat. It is important for us to protect this rich area in a way that aligns with our culture and developmental needs, while always keeping the environmental integrity of the natural ecosystems that supports its flora and fauna as the main focus and the cornerstone of our work.”
Ida Tillisch, Acting Director General said: “We are grateful to the Fujairah Government for their commitment and for putting forward the necessary resources in order to conserve Wadi Wurayah and its unique biodiversity, and leave a lasting legacy for future generations. With this agreement, we aim to strengthen our efforts to ensure that this wonderful place of real nature is conserved and the species within it protected”.
The next step will be to establish a management board to advise and assess the work plans for the National Park. This approach will ensure that the management plan not only values the environmental integrity of the project, but also look at the best suited solutions for the emirate through implementing best practices. This will also be followed by an in-depth consultation process involving local, regional and international experts to ensure that the conservation of the wadi’s biodiversity keeps the needs of the local community in mind.
Since being declared the UAE’s first protected mountain area, continuous research has been carried out with the installation of camera traps. 56 new species have been found as recently as September 2011 including insects, arachnids and crustaceans: 26 of whom are considered new to science. The wadi also joined the Ramsar Convention of Wetlands which is of international importance for biodiversity conservation, demonstrating yet again that this area remains an important stronghold for wildlife in the UAE.