The UAE's environment ministry joined the International Union for Conservation of Nature as a state member, it was announced on Monday.
Dr Abdullah Al Nuaimi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said the move was another indication of the country's commitment to conservation and sustainability.
"Our ... leadership views nature conservation as one of its key priorities and an integral part of the country’s sustainable development strategies," he said.
The UAE is a signatory to major international conventions on climate and biodiversity.
"The ministry’s membership into the IUCN, the oldest and largest international environmental organisation, reaffirms our country’s commitment to supporting global conservation efforts and tackling important environmental issues, from climate change to biodiversity loss," Dr Al Nuaimi said.
With nearly 1,400 government and non-government members across 185 countries, the IUCN is involved in data gathering, analysis, research and advocacy. Its knowledge products, including the Red List of Threatened Species, Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas, and Key Biodiversity Areas, are global benchmarks for conservation.
"The UAE has a long-standing partnership with the IUCN, particularly through our work with its Species Survival Commission– the publisher of the Red List," said Razan Al Mubarak, managing director of the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, and a candidate for the post of IUCN President.
"The IUCN, SSC, and the IUCN Global Species Programme has enjoyed a close working relationship with the UAE for the past 20 years, particularly on issues such as species conservation and reintroduction, as well as Red List assessment and training," she said.
Dr Shaikha Al Dhaheri, secretary-general of Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, chair of the IUCN National Committee, and IUCN Regional Councillor for West Asia, said the agency had been a long-time supporter of SSC’s Reintroduction Specialist Group.
"Our reintroduction of the scimitar-horned oryx in Chad is a conservation success story and an excellent example of what can be achieved through partnerships," she said.
"The joining of the ministry as an IUCN member fills an important gap in memberships from the UAE.
"With the ministry becoming a state member, we now have a full set of IUCN memberships in the country.
Before the ministry’s joining, the UAE had four IUCN members – two government entities and two NGOs. These included EAD, Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, Emirates Nature-WWF, and Emirates Environmental Group.