The Natural Resources Conservation Section of Dubai Municipality’s Environment Department has a long-standing relationship with World Migratory Bird Day starting in 2007. This year it celebrated this important day by organizing several activities targeted at different audiences: a seminar for environmental professionals and stakeholders, a social media photo contest for the general public and awareness-raising activities at the malls in Dubai for people from all walks of life.
With the theme of “Illegal Killing, Taking and Trade of Migratory Birds”, Dubai Municipality took a significant step in raising awareness about the challenges faced by migratory birds, bringing well-known conservation practitioners in the UAE and the Middle East to speak at the seminar organized on 10 May. The speakers included: Mr. Lyle Glowka, Executive Coordinator at the CMS Office Abu Dhabi, Dr. Ibrahim Khader, Regional Director - Middle East Division from BirdLife International, Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Executive Director of Terrestrial and Marine Biodiversity at the Environment Agency and Ms. Muna Omran Al Shamsi, Head of the CITES Section at Ministry of Climate Change and Environment.
In her opening remarks, Ms. Aisha Al Murr AlMuhery, Head of Natural Resources Conservation Section, shed more light on the conservation efforts carried out by Dubai Municipality to protect migratory birds at Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary and other protected areas of the city.
Mr. Lyle Glowka commended the long-standing observance of World Migratory Bird Day by the Environment Department of Dubai Municipality as a statement of its loyalty towards the ideas behind AEWA-CMS. Dr. Ibrahim Khader informed the audience about the ill-fate of migratory birds which are often subject to illegal killing and captivity. He drew attention to the illegal, killing of birds and the initiatives of BirdLife International to address this issue in the Middle East.
The seminar also covered the efforts undertaken locally in the Emirate of Dubai, with Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri noting the conservation challenges faced by migratory birds and the scope of opportunities to protect these temporary visitors which have journeyed long distances ever since the existence of the planet Earth, dazzling people with their beauty and magnificence.
Ms. Muna Omran Al Shamsi spoke about threats migratory birds face across the world highlighting the regulations implemented by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change to control illegal trade of migratory birds in the UAE.
The event also showcased displays by Dubai Customs, Falcon Heritage and Sports Centre and Veterinary Services Section – Public Health and Services of the Department of Dubai Municipality. The displays illustrated the work carried out in the Emirate of Dubai to regulate illegal killing, taking a trade of migratory birds in the UAE.
A workshop which applied the “Systems Thinking” approach conducted by Esmat El Faki, Senior Nature Conservation Officer, was well received by the audience at the seminar. The audience broke into groups, each identifying the gaps in the illegal, killing taking and trade of migratory birds using systems thinking. The groups actively participated and brainstormed new opportunities and scope for new relationships between different systems that have a stake in the illegal trade and captivity of migratory birds.
Dubai Municipality realizes that in order to combat illegal killing, taking and trade of migratory birds, there is a need to involve and educate end users, communities and citizens of UAE to spread the message at the grass-root level. With this aim, a Social Media Photo Contest was organized by the Awareness Section of Dubai Municipality’s Environment Department, which demonstrated how its outreach effort targeted the country’s citizens with the theme “Protection of Migratory Birds in the UAE”. The contest received an excellent response from the public which resulted in array of impressive pictures of migratory birds with the hashtag #WMBD_Photo_Contest_Dubai_2016.
To continue the celebrations, an awareness-raising activity at Bin Sougat Mall is also being organized for 12 May for the citizens of UAE. Dubai Municipality will be distributing booklets on World Migratory Bird Day and educating people about the importance of this day and migratory birds.