Dubai: Wadi Wurayah National Park (WWNP) in Fujiarah, the UAE’s first mountain nature reserve, has been added in the country’s tentative list of nominations for UNESCO World Heritage Site status.
The nomination of WWNP has been submitted to UNESCO’S World Heritage Centre for assessment on the basis of the “outstanding universal value” of Wadi Wurayah’s natural heritage. A formal nomination document was drawn up by the Fujairah Environment Authority, working in collaboration with the Cultural Heritage Department of the Ministry of Culture and Youth. This was then submitted to UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) by the UAE National Commission for UNESCO.
A detailed explanation of the WWNP environment and biodiversity and of its international significance will be prepared for evaluation by UNESCO scientific teams.
WWNP, which covers an area of 220 square kilometres, is managed by the Fujairah Environment Authority. It was first declared as a nature reserve in 2009, under the terms of a decree issued by His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Fujairah.
It has been recognised since 2010 as an important wetland, under the terms of the international Ramsar Convention, because of its freshwater ecosystem and has also received recognition under UNESCO’s ‘Man and Biosphere’ programme.
Scientific studies have shown that the Wadi Wurayah National Park is home to at least 860 different species of plants and animals, including rare mammals like Caracal and Blanford’s Fox and the UAE’s only native orchid, the Helleborine Orchid.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Sharqi, Crown Prince of Fujairah, said: “I am delighted that the first steps have now been taken for recognition of Wadi Wurayah as a World Heritage Site. Under directives of H.H. Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Fujairah, the Fujairah government has given all types of support to the Wadi Al Wurayah National Park. With the only permanent waterfall in the UAE, and with a population of endangered plants and animals, it is a unique part of the country’s biodiversity, and a key element of our environmental protection programme.
The Crown Prince of Fujairah added: “I am also pleased to announce the launch of Wadi Al Wurayah new official identity brand. Aesthetically resonating with the ancient and rich heritage of the Wadi. The identity shall serve the programs vision in becoming an iconic world heritage site as well as its newly developed purpose that shall educate people about the unique characteristics of the wadi and its conservation efforts.”
Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth, said: “I commend the efforts of the Fujairah Environment Authority and other Fujairah institutions in working to preserve and protect Wadi Wurayah, a key part of the country’s biodiversity. Its addition to the UAE’s Tentative List of World Heritage sites registered with UNESCO brings the total number of UAE registered properties to 13, including both tangible and intangible heritage of the UAE”.
Aseela AlMoalla, director-general of Fujairah Environment Authority, said: “the work is still going continuously in order to highlight the role we play in preserving the environment and the natural heritage of the UAE. The Fujairah Environment and the Ministry of Culture and Youth teams are working day and night with the goal of reaching best practices.”