The agreement being signed
Deal signed to ensure biodiversity protection in AlUla
DUBAI, December 3, 2023
The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) and the conservation organisation Space for Giants have signed an agreement at COP28 to combine their areas of expertise in biodiversity conservation at AlUla.
The goals of the agreement are to be realised over the next three years through the collaborative design and delivery of integrated activities for the protection, management, and visitation and monitoring of biodiversity and natural landscapes in line with global commitments, the Saudi Green Initiative and Vision 2030.
Across AlUla County, RCU is creating five nature reserves – Sharaan, Al Gharameel, Wadi Nakhlah, Harrat Alzabin and Harrat Uwayrid – each with its own distinctive flora, fauna and geological features. These nature reserves cover a combined area of more than 12,500 sq km which places more than 50% of all land in AlUla County under active conservation. Patrolling the reserves are 154 wildlife rangers from AlUla County who have completed an 18-month training programme.
Areas of collaboration
•Ensure that the ranger force in RCU’s nature reserves has the equipment, capacity, systems and governance to protect community rights and ranger health and safety.
•Develop communications and technology architecture to provide rangers with the tools to patrol and protect the reserves and share data quickly.
•Develop the management capacity and systems of the reserves so that each achieves IUCN Green List certification by 2025.
•Calculate the potential for reducing carbon emissions and increasing carbon storage capacity at the reserves.
•Promote a nature-based, sustainable ecotourism model for AlUla.
Dr Stephen Browne, RCU’s VP, Wildlife and Natural Heritage, said: “RCU is a growing player in conservation through biodiversity conservation efforts including species reintroduction, habitat restoration, protected area management and Arabian Leopard conservation. Together with Space for Giants we aim to raise awareness among citizens and visitors about the conservation of biodiversity and heritage, as well as develop connections between biodiversity conservation stakeholders to create a more sustainably managed and functioning ecosystem.”
Dr Max Graham, CEO and founder of Space for Giants, said: “From our origin in elephant conservation, Space for Giants has grown to become a disciplined and innovative collaborator with organisations such as RCU that share our commitment to conservation. Our areas of expertise span conservation landscapes, conservation science, human-wildlife coexistence and frontline protection for those working in national parks and conservation areas. We are very excited to now be delivering this skill set in Saudi Arabia and to be able to deliver vital and long-lasting conservation benefits to the region.”--TradeArabia News Service