Conservationists setting up a camera trap to monitor wildlife under a programme of MBZ Fund Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: A partnership between two Abu Dhabi entities for the protection of endangered flora and fauna in Africa and Asia is witnessing the return of species not seen for decades.

The announcement came on World Environment Day (June 5) from Mubadala Investment Company, which in 2021 committed $1.5 million (around Dh5.5 million) annually for three years to support the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund (MBZ Fund).

Razan Al Mubarak, managing director of the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi and the MBZ Fund, said: “In just over a year this remarkable partnership between the Mubadala and the MBZ Fund has delivered fabulous results. Species have been found after not being seen for decades, crucial data on the presence and absence of species has been collected enabling conservationists to develop and implement conservation action, and local communities have been engaged to protect their local species and their habitat. Furthermore, the support has enabled local conservationists to develop their own careers and local NGOs to implement conservation work.”

Mubadala’s contribution is focused on projects in countries where Mubadala and its portfolio companies have operations. In the UAE, Mubadala has led environmental efforts through its partnership with the Emirates Nature-WWF.

Homaid Al Shimmari, Deputy Group CEO, Chief Corporate & Human Capital Officer, Mubadala, said: “Partnerships are at the core of everything we do at Mubadala, and prioritising the protection of the planet is a key area of focus. We play an important role in raising awareness for environmental conservation. As a responsible investor, we will continue focusing our resources on sustainable transactions and ensuring we do our best to create a better tomorrow for generations to come.”

Laila Mostafa Abdullatif, Director-General, Emirates Nature-WWF, said: “As we head into another year of partnership with Mubadala, we look forward to making further contributions to the UAE’s commitments at COP28 and climate-related policies, supporting the UAE’s Green Growth Strategy. Together, we are co-creating solutions that work for our unique landscape, all as part of our Leaders of Change program. Strong and sustained partnerships play a key role and by leveraging the strengths of these collaborations, we can achieve transformative impact at scale.”

Preservation efforts

Through its partnership with MBZ Fund, Mubadala focuses on countries where portfolio companies operate such as Guinea, Indonesia, and Thailand, which also represent some of the world’s richest biodiversity hotspots. In Guinea, funds are directed to preserving endangered marine species including critically endangered marine turtles, threat assessments on the Atlantic humpbacked dolphin (Sousa teuszii), and the African manatee (Trichechus senegalensis).

In Indonesia, funds support the marine ecosystem, in particular coral reefs and seagrass, in the Makasaar Strait, as well as terrestrial ecosystems through wildcat conservation in Aceh Province. Furthermore, in Thailand, the support focuses on migratory wading birds - in particular the Spotted greenshank (Tringa guttifer), and their mud-flat and mangrove habitats in the northern Gulf of Thailand, and the Smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata), as well as other freshwater species located at Kaeng Krachan National Park.

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Programmes in UAE

In the UAE, Mubadala’s long-standing collaboration with Emirates Nature-WWF aims to maintain and restore local natural heritage and biodiversity, address climate and air quality issues, lower carbon emissions, increase energy efficiency and promote renewable energy, among other priorities.

Mubadala MBZ Fund Emirates-WWF
People learning about nature conservation in the UAE Image Credit: Supplied

Volunteer and training programs also contribute to the conservation blueprint of the UAE by providing members of the community with the opportunity to support on-ground initiatives and upskill their leadership capabilities in the process.