The King Salman bin Abdulaziz Royal Reserve Development Authority has been officially announced as a government member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
The authority was recently granted IUCN membership in recognition of its efforts to empower local communities in nature conservation and wildlife protection, and the restoration of key flora and fauna throughout the country.
It is one of the first entities in the Kingdom to obtain IUCN membership, allowing it to draw on international databases specialized in wildlife protection, and the expertise of 18,000 specialists linked to the world body.
The authority will now be able to form partnerships, exchange experiences with members, and participate in the IUCN quadrennial meetings and conferences.
The authority seeks, through this membership, to ensure the sustainability of the environment, in line with the objectives and goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 plan and the Saudi Green initiative.
Fahad Al-Shuwaier, director general of communication at King Salman Royal Reserve, told Arab News that the authority applied for the membership with comprehensive detail of all its environmental projects.
Al-Shuwaier said the IUCN advisory board meets every three months to discuss applications received from across the world.
Dr. Ahmed Al-Bouq, director general of wildlife conservation at the National Center for Wildlife Development, said the IUCN membership would aid in following best international practice.
Al-Bouq cited the example of the Farasan Islands’ Archipelago Reserve that became a UNESCO-listed entity by adhering to international benchmarks.
“The membership gives you guidelines and allows you to benefit from the expertise of a large number of international experts,” added Al-Bouq.
“When talking about biodiversity, you need a huge company of international experts, as it is impossible to attract experts in every subspecialty in biodiversity.
“You may find one expert who specializes in a certain branch of microbiology, and sometimes you find a very small number of experts who specialize in other disciplines,” he explained.
He said that “what links these experiences to each other is usually international organizations.” International partnerships were important for determining standards.
“When dealing with any organization that deals with protection, the first thing you need to do is to draw a baseline, and then examine the international standards that you aspire to reach, and thus draw (up) a plan to implement these standards.”
He said the most important part of the system was community involvement, a key factor recommended by international organizations concerned with protected areas. The main objective was not to prevent people from entering such areas, but to regulate the sustainable use of natural resources, said Al-Bouq.