UAE President Boosts Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund with US$40m Contribution

UAE President Boosts Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund with US$40m Contribution

Abu Dhabi, The Gulf Observer: President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has announced a significant contribution of US$40 million to the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund (MBZ Fund), reinforcing the UAE’s steadfast commitment to global conservation efforts.

The announcement was made by Razan Al Mubarak, Managing Director of the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund and UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28, during her address to delegates at the Asian Venture Philanthropy Forum (AVPN) Global Conference 2024 held at the St. Regis on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi.

Established in 2009 under the visionary leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the MBZ Fund has been instrumental in supporting grassroots species conservation programs across 170 countries. The latest contribution will augment the Fund’s endowment to over $70 million by 2028.

“The establishment of the Fund and this additional support for the endowment underscore President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed’s profound interest in environmental conservation and underscore the UAE’s enduring commitment to preserving nature and safeguarding species,” stated Al Mubarak.

The decision to more than double the original endowment was motivated by a comprehensive review of the Fund’s accomplishments. Over the years, the grants scheme has facilitated grassroots species conservation projects in 170 countries spanning all seven continents, including Antarctica.

H.H. Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Chairman of the Presidential Court for Development and Fallen Heroes’ Affairs, remarked, “The remarkable achievements of the Fund within a relatively short timeframe are commendable. It has already supported over 2,750 projects worldwide for the conservation of 1,700 species and subspecies. This extraordinary global impact has spurred the decision to increase support.”

The Fund’s endowment exclusively contributes to its small grants program, providing crucial support to direct species conservation initiatives with grants of up to $25,000 per project. The program prioritizes initiatives targeting the world’s most vulnerable species, particularly those listed as Endangered or Critically Endangered in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, which monitors the conservation status of 157,100 species across nine categories.

According to Al Mubarak, the conservationists are as valuable and endangered as the species they passionately protect. The MBZ Fund supports conservationists by facilitating scientific projects and offering visibility to their efforts.

Mohammed Al Bowardi, Deputy Chair of the Board of Directors of MBZ Fund, emphasized the urgency of the current conservation landscape, noting the unprecedented rate at which species are disappearing.

“The Fund and its small grants program have served as a lifeline for conservationists operating in challenging and, in some cases, perilous conditions. The new contribution from His Highness will further ensure the perpetuity of the endowment, extending its positive impact well into the future,” added Al Bowardi.