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UAE President announces $40m for Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund

UAE President announces $40m for Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund
26 Apr 2024 11:50


President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has announced a contribution of US$40m to the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund (MBZ Fund).

The announcement was made by Razan Al Mubarak, Managing Director of the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund and UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28, as she addressed delegates at the Asian Venture Philanthropy Forum (AVPN) Global Conference 2024 at the St. Regis on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi.

Established by His Highness in 2009, the MBZ Fund has supported grassroots species conservation programmes across 170 counties. The new contribution will increase the Fund's endowment to over $70 million by 2028.

"The establishment of the Fund and this additional support for the endowment demonstrate the President's keen interest in the natural world and underscore the UAE's long-term commitment to nature and species conservation," said Al Mubarak.

The decision to more than double the original endowment was motivated by a review of the work and achievements of the Fund. Since its establishment, the grants scheme has supported grassroots species conservation programmes in 170 countries across all seven continents, including Antarctica.

"What the Fund has achieved within a timespan of just 15 years is impressive," said H.H. Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Chairman of the Presidential Court for Development and Fallen Heroes' Affairs. "Already, it has supported more than 2,750 projects across the world for the conservation of 1,700 species and subspecies. This incredible impact on a truly global scale is what has motivated the increased support."

The endowment of the Fund solely contributes to the Fund's small grants programme, which supports direct species conservation initiatives with up to $25,000 per project. The programme funds initiatives that target the world's most vulnerable species – those listed as Endangered or Critically Endangered in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, which tracks the conservation status of 157,100 species across nine categories.

The small grants programme also supports projects focusing on species classified as Data Deficient by the IUCN, about which little is known but are likely threatened with extinction.

"Listing a species as Endangered or Critically Endangered means that the amount of pressure on its survival – be it because of habitat loss, pollution, direct targeting by hunters and poachers, climate change, or a combination of factors – has reached a critical point," said Al Mubarak. "There is a real risk that such species may become extinct. Consequently, the Fund has prioritized Endangered and Critically Endangered species, providing streamlined, targeted and pragmatic support to enable conservationists working on the ground."

According to Al Mubarak, conservationists are just as valuable and threatened as the species they so passionately protect. The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund supports conservationists by helping them work on scientific projects that they deem important. It also supports young professionals in the field, providing increased visibility for the chosen projects, and the animal and plant species they focus on.

Mohammed Al Bowardi, Deputy Chair of the Board of Directors of MBZ Fund, said that the contribution comes at a time when species and conservationists need more support than ever before.

"Species are vanishing at an unprecedented and alarming rate. Addressing the extinction crisis is not just a moral imperative, but an act of self-interest and self-preservation as we all depend on nature for our well-being and continued prosperity," he added.

"The Fund and its small grants programme have served as a lifeline for conservationists who often work in challenging and, in some cases, dangerous conditions. The new contribution from His Highness will further ensure the perpetuity of the endowment, projecting its positive impact well into the future," said Al Bowardi.

Source: WAM
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