JEDDAH: The Saudi National Center for Wildlife has organized a program in honor of the Farasan Islands Reserve to mark the first International Day for Biosphere Reserves, on Thursday.
The initiative followed its registration with UNESCO’s scientific Man and the Biosphere Program in 2021.
The International Day for Biosphere Reserves is a global event aimed at raising awareness about the role and impact of biosphere reserves toward sustainability.
The Farasan islands, described as habitat hotspots, are located 50 kilometers offshore from Jazan and are among the largest islands in the Red Sea.
They are home to more than 230 species of fish, numerous endangered marine creatures, and 50 types of coral reefs. Rhizophora and mangrove forests are important incubators for young fish and crustaceans.
The three-day celebration will take place at Al-Ghadeer beach in Farasan under the patronage of Jazan Gov. Prince Mohammed bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz, and Minister of Environment, Water, and Agriculture Abdulrahman Al-Fadley. It will feature an exhibition, recreational, cultural, and folklore activities.
In a tweet, the center said: “The registration of the Farasan Islands Reserve as the first Saudi reserve ever in the UNESCO’s MAB Program confirms the Kingdom’s role in protecting environmental systems and developing biodiversity.”
Chief executive officer of the center, Mohammed Qurban, said the celebration aimed, “to highlight the importance of the Kingdom’s leading role in protecting the unique ecosystems and biodiversity.”
He noted the efforts of local people, government bodies, and voluntary associations in helping complete the site’s registration, and pointed out how it had strengthened the Kingdom’s presence in international forums.
The MAB Program was launched in 1971 and is UNESCO’s oldest intergovernmental scientific program. It was set up to ensure the rational and sustainable use of biosphere resources and improve the relationship between people and the environment.