Wadi Wurayah National Park nominated as UNESCO World Heritage Site

Wadi Wurayah National Park nominated as UNESCO World Heritage Site

FUJAIRAH, 24th March, 2022 (WAM) -- The UAE’s first mountain nature reserve, Fujairah’s Wadi Wurayah National Park, WWNP, has been inscribed on the UAE’s tentative list of nominations for UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

The nomination has been submitted to UNESCO’S World Heritage Centre for assessment on the basis of the Outstanding Universal Value, OUV, 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 by the UAE National Commission for UNESCO.

A detailed explanation of the Park’s environment and biodiversity and of its international significance will now be prepared for evaluation by UNESCO scientific teams.

"I am delighted that the first steps have now been taken for recognition of Wadi Wurayah as a World Heritage Site," H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Crown Prince of Fujairah, said. "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 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. On this occasion I am also pleased to announce the launch of the Wadi Wurayah new official identity and brand. Aesthetically resonating with the ancient and rich heritage of the Wadi, this will serve the vision of becoming an iconic world heritage site as well as its newly developed purpose to educate people about the unique characteristics of the wadi and its conservation," he added.

Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth, added, "This announcement is a testament to collective efforts to sustain and preserve UAE heritage sites. 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 Al Moalla, Director General of Fujairah Environment Authority, said that "work is still continuing in order to highlight the role we play in preserving the environment and the natural heritage of the UAE. The teams of the Fujairah Environment Authority and the Ministry of Culture and Youth are working day and night with the goal of reaching best practices."

She expressed her gratitude for the support the Authority is receiving from H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad which had made possible the nomination of Wadi Wurayah in the tentative list.

WWNP, which covers an area of 220 sq.km., 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 H.H. Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi.

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.