DDCR Welcomes the President of the IUCN

Monday, November 14, 2016 — 10th November, 2016- The President of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Zhang Xinsheng, visited the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR) to attend the UAE IUCN National committee meeting.

Mr. Xinsheng was welcomed by Greg Simkins, Conservation Manager - DDCR, and was joined by Fadi Shraideh, Regional Director, IUCN West Asia Regional Office and IUCN members in UAE: the Emirates Environment Group, Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, Emirates Wildlife Society and the DDCR. The meeting was followed by a tour of the Conservation Reserve.

“One of the areas that the IUCN has always focused on is the conservation of desert ecosystems around the world” said Mr. Xinsheng. “I’ve been impressed by the different conservation initiatives being undertaken by the DDCR, and it is very heartening to see the vibrant beauty of Dubai’s natural habitat thriving and being preserved for future generations.”  

Commenting on the conservational efforts of the DDCR, Mr. Simkins added, “the visit of such a prominent conservationist to the DDCR underpins the great work being done in Dubai to conserve or natural fauna and flora of the UAE, and we are very honoured to showcase the work we are doing to the IUCN,” he said. “This includes the successful reintroductions of Arabian oryx, Arabian gazelle, Sand gazelle and Houbara bustard back into the desert ecosystem in the DDCR.”

IUCN is the largest conservation organisation in the world, with over 200 State or Government members, over 1000 NGO members and more than 16,000 voluntary experts in its 6 commissions. IUCN is also the only environmental organisation with official United Nations Observer Status, and ensures that nature conservation has a voice at the highest level of international governance.

The Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve is home to 18 mammal species; 26 Reptile species; 74 Plant species; 300 Arthropods and has 133 bird species recorded on the reserve. It is a long standing member of the IUCN and one of the UAE’s most effectively managed Protected Areas and a pioneer of sustainable tourism in protected areas for the region with over 250,000 visitors to the reserve every year. Emirates has sponsored the conservation and wildlife support programmes within the DDCR, investing more than AED 10 million over seven years. 

While in Dubai, Mr. Xinsheng met the Minister of Climate Change and Environment, and attended the World Economic Forum’s “Global Agenda Councils” which was held on 13 and 14 November 2016.

Gregory Simkins, DDCR Conservation Manager with President of the IUCN Xhang Xinsheng at the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve

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