ABU DHABI: Discussing ways to keep the global shared marine environment ‘healthy’ was at the top of the agenda at the Marine Conservation Forum 2010 held Tuesday in Abu Dhabi.
The conference, organised by the Emirates Wildlife Society in association with WWF (EWS-WWF) and the Pew Environment Group, will continue till Dec. 16.
Co-chaired by Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, managing director of EWS-WWF and Dr. Susan Lieberman, director of International Policy for the Pew Environment Group, the three-day forum provides a platform for conservation representatives from the Gulf and the region to discuss the future of marine species on a regional scale, along with coming up with locally relevant conservation and management strategies.
Commenting on the region’s marine environment, Al Mubarak said “We are privileged to have a rich and abundant marine ecological system that also forms an integral part of our regional cultural heritage. Recently, it has come under threat due to natural and human-caused disturbances. It is encouraging to see experts from NGOs, government and academic institutions actively collaborate to find effective solutions to address these threats.”
The event has gathered experts from around the world to discuss the state of the marine environment and to work toward common solutions for habitat and species conservation. The key topics to be discussed during the conference include habitat protection; mitigating the environmental impact of coastal development; shark, whale, coral reef, and dugong conservation; and regional marine conservation programs in Yeman, Oman, Kuwait, and the UAE.
According to Dr Lieberman, the notion of protecting species and habitats has been gaining ground globally.
“I am hopeful that attendees at the Forum will be able to come up with national and regional solutions that can be put in place to address the threats to the ecologically and culturally important marine biodiversity of this region including whales, dolphins, dugongs, sharks, sea turtles, coral, and their habitats,” she added.
Key speakers at the event include Liz Mclellan- WWF International, Simon Stuart- International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Robert Baldwin-Environment Society of Oman, Dr Thabit AbdelSalaam-Environment Agency Abu Dhabi.
The coasts of the Gulf region support rich and diverse populations of marine species of which many are threatened.