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Global Conservation Leaders Unite in Saudi Arabia’s Hima Protected Areas Forum, Setting Bold Agenda for Sustainable Future

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, April 26, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — The inaugural Hima Protected Areas Forum concluded in Riyadh on April 24th, marking a historic moment in the realm of conservation and sustainable development. Organized by the National Center for Wildlife (NCW) under the patronage of H.E. Eng. Abdulrahman AlFadley, Minister of Environment, Water, and Agriculture, the forum gathered diverse stakeholders from April 21st to 24th in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Organized by the National Center for Wildlife (NCW)

The name “Hima” holds significant meaning in Arabic, referring to a traditional system of land conservation and management practiced in many parts of the Arab world for centuries. It represents a holistic approach to sustainable land use, involving the protection of natural resources and ecosystems through community-based stewardship.

Throughout the event, esteemed keynote speakers from international entities provided invaluable insights into the critical importance of protecting and preserving our planet’s biodiversity. Dr. Sami Dimasi, representing the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Regional Office for West Asia, emphasized the imperative of transforming protected areas for sustainable futures. Additionally, Mr. Neville Ash, Director of the UNEP’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), highlighted Saudi Arabia’s ambitious efforts in conserving marine and terrestrial biodiversity. Dr. Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), underscored the importance of collaborative efforts in achieving environmental protection goals.

During the forum, several significant memoranda of understanding (MoUs) and agreements were signed on the sidelines, further cementing commitments to conservation and sustainable development. Notably, one of the MoUs was inked with the University of Oxford, solidifying collaborative research and academic partnerships to advance biodiversity conservation efforts. Additionally, an agreement was reached with the IUCN, reaffirming commitments to joint initiatives aimed at enhancing biodiversity conservation, promoting sustainable resource management, and strengthening environmental protection efforts.

In alignment with the Kingdom’s ambitious 30*30 goals, aimed at preserving 30% of the Kingdom’s land and marine areas by 2030, the forum highlighted Saudi Arabia’s dedication to environmental conservation on a global scale. The outcomes of the forum include a series of recommendations, emphasizing community participation in natural heritage protection practices, diversification of funding sources for reserves, harmonization of national legislation with international best practices, acceleration of the declaration of marine and terrestrial protected areas, and investment in eco-tourism activities.

In addition to discussions and agreements, the forum featured an accompanying exhibition showcasing innovative technologies, conservation projects, and sustainable practices. Side events, including workshops and networking sessions, provided participants with valuable opportunities to engage with experts, share best practices, and forge new partnerships.

Reflecting on the success of the forum, Dr. Mohammed Ali Qurban, CEO of the National Center for Wildlife, remarked: “The inaugural Hima Protected Areas Forum has set a precedent for inclusive and collaborative conservation efforts in the region. By bringing together diverse stakeholders and fostering dialogue, we have taken significant strides towards ensuring the long-term sustainability of our natural heritage.”

The inaugural Hima Protected Areas Forum concluded with a renewed commitment to collaboration, innovation, and action in safeguarding our natural heritage for future generations. As delegates depart with a shared sense of purpose and determination, the momentum generated by this landmark gathering will continue to drive positive change in the conservation landscape.

For more information and to access resources from the forum, please visit https://hima.ncw.gov.sa/ .

About NCW:

The National Center for Wildlife is a leading institution dedicated to wildlife conservation, research, and education in Saudi Arabia. Established to protect and preserve the Kingdom’s rich biodiversity, NCW works tirelessly to promote environmental sustainability and raise awareness about the importance of wildlife conservation.

Photo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/2398172/National_Center_for_Wildlife.jpg
Photo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/2398174/National_Center_for_Wildlife.jpg
Photo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/2398173/National_Center_for_Wildlife.jpg
Logo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/2398177/HIMA_Logo.jpg
Logo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/2398175/National_Center_for_Wildlife_Logo.jpg

Hima Protected Areas Forum
From local reserves to global partnerships, the forum's exhibition showcases diverse environmental initiatives
HIMA logo
National Center for Wildlife Logo

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