Sultan bin Ahmed attends Xposure’s Conservation Summit

Sultan bin Ahmed attends Xposure’s Conservation Summit

Sultan bin Ahmed attends Xposure’s Conservation Summit

SHARJAH, 10th February, 2022 – Ocean conservation got a promising boost on Thursday as the Xposure International Photography Festival opened its first-ever Conservation Summit under the theme “Saving our Oceans” to explore hope and solutions for safeguarding the precious biodiversity of the global marine ecosystems.

The day-long summit dedicated to ocean conservation and visual storytelling opened at Expo Centre Sharjah in the presence of H.


Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah.

Held in partnership with the International League of Conservation Photographers, the summit began with a short video showcasing the incredible beauty and diversity of the ocean’s creatures found across the diverse climatic terrains of the planet.

Addressing a distinguished gathering of conservationists, biologists, ocean explorers, researchers and photographers, Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, expressed her appreciation to the Sharjah Government Media Bureau (SGMB) for drawing attention to a global issue of concern and helping provide active solutions to preserve the oceans and their wildlife.

The minister also thanked the International League of Conservation Photographers, environmentalists, and scientists participating in the summit for deliberating and formulating solutions on the challenges facing the planet.

Almheiri, said, “The focus on oceans at the Conservation Summit is an apt choice, as oceans are the largest and most important ecosystem of our planet.

The minister emphasised the importance of concerted global efforts to accelerate and implement sustainable solutions to achieve Goal 14 (Life Below Water) of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals(UN SDGs).

She pointed out that failure to do so would place the world in grave danger of losing one of the key resources essential for human existence.

The minister highlighted the various measures initiated by the UAE to protect its marine environment including regulating fishing activities, expanding the aquaculture industry, establishing marine protected areas, combating marine pollution, conservation of endangered marine species, and rehabilitating impacted marine areas.

She pointed out that the UAE’s goal to expand its mangrove cover from 30 million to 100 million trees by 2030 has contributed to strengthening the country’s marine environment resilience and maintaining its global leadership in the Marine Protected Areas category of the Environmental Performance Index (EPI).

In her address, Alya Al Suwaidi, Director of SGMB, stressed that the powerful imagery of underwater photographers has brilliantly captured the distress calls of the oceans and the seas and brought greater awareness on the urgent need to address human impacts on the marine ecosystem.

Al Suwaidi said, “The Conservation Summit theme, ‘Saving our Oceans’, transforms the slogan from a mere title to hundreds, thousands and millions of compelling and vibrant pictures that powerfully illuminate the irreversible threats facing the marine environment.

This has inspired Xposure to lead efforts to save the oceans and tell the stories of dangers looming ahead if no action is taken.

Delivering the opening address, Kathy Moran, former Deputy Director of Photography at National Geographic, said, “Despite the challenges of climate change, overfishing, and plastic pollution, the one word that has been paramount is “amal” or hope.

There is hope when it comes to our oceans – always.

Citing recent actions that have inspired hope, Moran highlighted the support extended to the UN by 100 countries including the UAE to protect at least 30 per cent of global oceans by 2030; Ecuador’s tripling of the size of its green reserves around Galapagos Islands, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) announcement that several species of tuna are no longer critically endangered.

Moran said, “This is proof that sustainable fisheries are possible and population rebounds are achievable.

Humpback whales are increasing in many parts of the world, and in waters closer to Sharjah, there is the largest year-round aggregation of whale sharks to be found anywhere in the world – and these offer tremendous opportunity for transboundary management and conservation initiatives.

“Yes, there are significant challenges to confront but there is always hope, and truth in storytelling is fundamental to how we understand and fix our relationship with the sea,” she said in conclusion
National Geographic explorers Brian Skerry, David Doubilet, Jennifer Hayes, Jeffrey Garriock, and Laurent Ballesta, who have witnessed the beauty and the devastation happening across all ocean ecosystems and have accumulated more than 80,000 hours combined underwater documenting changes, shared their inspiring experiences with audiences at the summit.

TDPel Media

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