The General Directorate of Nature Reserves (GDNR) and Qatar Shell signed a collaboration agreement for the development and implementation of the Master Plan for Al Reem Biosphere Reserve.
Al Reem Reserve covers almost 10% of the total land area of Qatar and was declared a Biosphere Reserve under the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) program in 2007. A biosphere reserve is a unique concept which includes a protected area and surrounding land that are managed to combine both conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. The MAB program aims to efficiently manage natural resources for the well-being of both human populations and the environment.
Al Reem Biosphere Reserve is characterised by natural geomorphic landforms like the rocky flat-tops, Wadis, Rawdats, Sabkhas, Beaches and Rocky headlands. It is home to rich biological diversity including the Arabian Oryx, Rhim Gazelle, Rüppell’s Fox, Desert Monitor Lizard, Spiny-tailed Lizard, Ethiopian Hedgehog and also is a nesting ground for a wide spectrum of birds. Al Reem Biosphere Reserve also houses many Archeological sites including the ruins of Zubarra town which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Declaring Al Reem as a Protected Area and subsequently as a Biosphere Reserve has helped to overcome threats to the indigenous plants and all forms of wildlife, and has significantly enriched the biodiversity of the area. As part of the agreement GDNR in partnership with Qatar Shell will develop a comprehensive management and sustainable development plan for the Reserve in line with the UNESCO Guidelines for MAB programmes. Engagement with the local community will be an important component of this plan.
Anna Paolini, Director, UNESCO Representative in the Arab States of Gulf and Yemen said:
I’m very pleased that this agreement is taking place because it is supporting the management plan of Al Reem biosphere, which will enable us to give more sustainability to the overall area and foster activities that ensure the conservation of the Rawda, the agriculture land, and the coast line land. At the same time it will help foster proper visitation of the area for people to enjoy and understand the importance of the conservation.’
Mohammed Abu Jbara, CSR Manager, Qatar Shell said:
We are extremely proud to collaborate with the General Directorate of Nature Reserves in this endeavor. Qatar Shell continues to play a vital role in shaping the future of Research & Development in Qatar through ground-breaking research and thought-leadership into energy and environmental challenges faced by Qatar. Our programme of dynamic collaborations with both the local and international academic community ensures Qatar Shell meets its mandate to add value to the State of Qatar, in line with Qatar National Vision 2030.’
The signing ceremony was officiated by Nawaf Jabr Al Naemi, Office Manager, Director General Office, GDNR, Private Engineering Office, Anna Paolini, Director, UNESCO Representative in the Arab States of Gulf and Yemen, Mohammed Abu Jbara, CSR Manager, Qatar Shell, and other senior Officials from both sides.