The United Arab Emirates was officially accepted as the host for the 13th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (COP13) to take place in Dubai in 2018.
The announcement was made on 8th June 2015 during a plenary session attended by over 800 delegates from 160 countries meeting in Uruguay, who are attending the 12th Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (COP12). The Contracting Parties are meeting in Punta Del Este from 1 to 9 June 2015 to approve a new Strategic Plan to guide national and international actions to conserve and wisely use wetlands in the next triennium, 2016 to 2024.
“The UAE’s decision to host COP13 confirms our support to the Convention at the regional and international level,” said H.E. Eng. Marian Mouhammed Saeed Hared, Acting Assistant under Secretary, Water Resource and Nature Conservation Affairs. “Wetlands have received the attention of the government and the UAE vision 2024 confirms the importance of conserving our rich natural environment and protecting these fragile ecosystems from urbanization and human activities.”
The United Arab Emirates has been a party to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands since 2007 and has designated 5 wetland sites onto the List of Wetlands of International Importance (‘Ramsar Sites’), considered to be of high value to the country and the world because of the ecosystem services they provide. Although the United Arab Emirates is better known for being situated in one of the most arid regions of the world, the wetland ecosystem in the country is one of the most unique and diverse in the Arabian Pennisula. It includes marshes, vast tidal flats, fresh water aquifers, mangroves and coral reefs.
On behalf of all the Contracting Parties , COP12 President, Jorge Rucks, Under-Secretary, Ministry of Housing, Territorial Planning and Environment, Uruguay, expressed thanks to UAE for the invitation extended to host COP13.