The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, in cooperation with the International Wetlands Organization, has launched an electronic portal to estimate waterfowl population. This portal is an electronic interactive platform that includes the latest data on the status and distribution of waterfowl populations in the world.
The launch took place after a discussion session was held during a global symposium organized by the International Wetlands Organization in partnership with the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, which provided financial support for the development of the portal.
The discussion was attended by a leading international committee that included representatives from the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, the Treaty on Migratory Species (CMS), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the African Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Convention (AEWA), the East Asia-Australia Pathway Site Network (EAAF), and the Masar Site Network West/Central Asia Aviation and the Western Hemisphere Shorebirds Sanctuary Network (WHSRN), which are the main users of the new portal, and EAD was represented by Dr. Salem Javid, Acting Director of the Department of Terrestrial Biodiversity.
With more than 870 species of waterfowl, the new web portal will provide the latest information on estimates of waterfowl numbers and trends for more than 2,500 waterfowl groups, ranging from the magnificent flamingos that can be seen regularly in the coastal and inland wetlands of the UAE to cranes. The majestic saros is more than 1.5 meters long making it one of the tallest birds that spread in the wetlands and paddy fields of Southeast Asia and Australia.
It also includes other waterfowl species from sandpipers to plovers, including the unique crab plover that currently breeds on two Abu Dhabi offshore islands, and the conservation of all these species requires accessible information on their condition and migration patterns to help governments and researchers make decisions to protect them. .
Dr. Sheikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary-General of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, said that the new portal will contribute to making access to information about key waterbirds much easier for authorities concerned with managing and monitoring these birds such as the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi and will certainly help us identify the sites of new wetlands that can be included. To the Ramsar Convention.. The support we have provided will be very useful to users ranging from governments to researchers and those interested in conservation at the national, regional and worldwide levels.
For his part, the Acting Executive Director of the Terrestrial and Marine Biodiversity Sector at the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi Ahmed Al Hashemi, who also participated in the launch of the portal, said that the development of the interactive portal by the International Wetlands Organization is an important achievement, and the support provided by the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi came in a timely manner and led To develop this tool that will serve as a support system for waterfowl and wetlands around the world.
Al-Hashemi urged governments, NGOs and experts around the world to provide their feedback on the portal and how it contributed to supporting them in implementing their work and submitting their suggestions for improvements in the portal’s mechanism of work in the future.
Dr. Salim Javid said access to the latest information on the size and trends of birds is critical for government organizations responsible for wetland and waterfowl management.
Added: Interactive maps allow us to set a threshold of 1? From the total number of each waterfowl population by identifying target sites, identifying conservation priorities, planning protection measures at the local level, including them within protected area networks, as well as declaring the sites as Wetlands of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention.
He stated that the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi conducted a program to assess and monitor the breeding of migratory waterfowl in Abu Dhabi. In addition, the main migratory waterfowl studies conducted by the Agency remotely via satellites gained us important insights into the sites of migration of birds, their migration patterns and the use of wetlands along the flight paths, which helped us protect important sites.
Dr. Javid pointed out that the authority is also coordinating the International Waterfowl Census (IWC) in the UAE, a long-term initiative within citizenship science that gives volunteers the opportunity to visit important wetlands across the UAE and collect data on waterfowl. Collected by a group of volunteers, they provide useful data on waterfowl that feed estimates of waterfowl populations.
He said that since many wetlands around the world are under threat from development activities, climate change and the impact of invasive species, we need to work together to protect them and because wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems in the world, we also need to restore some of the degraded wetlands that She desperately needs her protection and recovery.
He noted that the United Nations had recently declared this decade the “United Nations Decade of Ecosystem Restoration” to reverse and restore degraded ecosystems.
The portal provides links to 160 species of threatened waterfowl according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The portal also supports the development and work of the Ramsar Convention in relation to the Treaty on Migratory Species and the Convention on Biological Diversity, as well as regional initiatives / major bird migration pathways.
The open and improved interactive portal is also characterized by easy access to basic information on waterbird populations and trends, and will also provide an additional feature of maps identifying distribution sites of waterfowl species in the world. This portal can be used by national or local authorities working in the field of wetland management or site managers This enables them to access a shortlist of waterfowl populations to verify available information and identify wetlands of potential international or national interest.
This will assist in making informed and critical decisions about the protection and conservation of wetlands Increasing the number and area of these sites of international importance will help governments achieve their goals under the Convention on Biological Diversity to enhance coverage of protected areas The portal also provides opportunities to support the identification of Important Bird Areas and Key Biodiversity Areas throughout around the world.
The new portal replaces the waterfowl estimation portal launched at the Ramsar Conference in 2012 and has been extensively used by governments, NGOs, researchers and others around the world over the past decade as waterfowl around the world are trying to adapt to the constant changes in climate. As well as shifts in landscapes and habitats affected by human development projects, to continue to support data users, the information on the portal must be regularly updated to reflect the latest knowledge about the status, trends and trajectories of waterfowl migration.