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  • ̀

    Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary Ramsar Site,

    Dubai, United Arab Emirates

    Ramsar Site No. 1715

    Ramsar Advisory Mission Report

    13-17 May 2017

    G. Randy Milton, Robert McInnes, Keith Wilson and Lew Young

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    i

    Contents

    RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE RAMSAR ADVISORY MISSION ................................. iv

    National Government ................................................................................................................. iv

    Dubai Municipality .................................................................................................................... iv

    List of Abbreviations ..................................................................................................................... vi

    1.0 INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................................... 1

    2.0 BACKGROUND ...................................................................................................................... 1

    2.1 Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary Ramsar Site ....................................................................... 1

    2.2 Site Description ..................................................................................................................... 3

    2.3 Development Projects Adjacent to RAKWS ........................................................................ 8

    2.4 Reporting on Changes to Ecological Character .................................................................. 11

    3.0 OBJECTIVES OF THE RAMSAR ADVISORY MISSION ................................................. 13

    4.0 REVIEW OF EIA’S AND SITE MEETINGS WITH DEVELOPERS / PROJECT

    CONSULTANTS .......................................................................................................................... 15

    4.1 Dubai Creek Harbour Development .................................................................................... 15

    4.2 Dubai Water Canal Development ....................................................................................... 23

    4.3 Dubai Healthcare City II Development ............................................................................... 27

    4.4 Meydan Developments ........................................................................................................ 30

    4.4.1 Meydan One .................................................................................................................... 31

    4.4.2 Meydan Horizon .............................................................................................................. 32

    4.4.3 Meydan Canal ................................................................................................................. 33

    4.5 Festival City Expansion and Golf Residence Development ............................................... 37

    4.6 Dubai Culture Village Development ................................................................................... 38

    4.7 Dubai Design District .......................................................................................................... 38

    4.8 The Lagoons Development – Dubai Properties Group ....................................................... 39

    4.9 Ras Al Khor Visitor’s Center .............................................................................................. 40

    4.10 Main Conclusions from EIA Reviews and Consultations ................................................. 41

    4.11 Policy Level Challenges .................................................................................................... 44

    4.11.1 National Wetland Policy ............................................................................................... 44

    4.11.2 Boundary of RAKWS ................................................................................................... 45

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    ii

    4.11.3 Buffer Zone of RAKWS ............................................................................................... 45

    4.11.4 Wetland Vulnerability Assessments ............................................................................. 48

    4.11.5 Dubai Municipality Planning Guidance ........................................................................ 48

    4.11.6 Data and information sharing ........................................................................................ 49

    4.11.7 Understanding the efficacy of financial compensation ................................................. 49

    5.0 STAKEHOLDER FORUM – IDENTIFYING CHALLENGES AND ACTIONS ............... 50

    5.1 Participant Views of RAKWS Importance to Themselves and Dubai ................................ 51

    5.2 SWOT Analysis................................................................................................................... 52

    5.3 Identifying Actions .............................................................................................................. 53

    6.0 RAMSAR CONVENTION AND IMPACTS TO DESIGNATED SITES: Adverse, Neutral

    or Beneficial Human-Induced Change in Ecological Character ................................................... 54

    6.1 Overview ............................................................................................................................. 54

    6.2 Proposed Meydan Canal...................................................................................................... 55

    6.3 Ras Al Khor Visitor’s Centre .............................................................................................. 56

    7.0 NATIONAL POLICY FOR WETLANDS ............................................................................. 57

    8.0 SITE MANAGEMENT: RAS AL KHOR WILDLIFE SANCTUARY ................................ 58

    8.1 Steering Committee ............................................................................................................. 60

    8.2 Terms of Reference for the future operation of the RAKWS Management Steering

    Committee ................................................................................................................................. 61

    8.3 Management Planning ........................................................................................................ 62

    8.4 Monitoring ........................................................................................................................... 63

    9.0 RAS AL KHOR COMMUNICATION, CAPACITY BUILDING, EDUCATION,

    PARTICIPATION AND AWARENESS (CEPA) ....................................................................... 65

    9.1 Building a Future Leadership Role in Wetland Management ............................................. 66

    10.0 ACTION PLAN .................................................................................................................... 67

    11.0 RECOMMENDATIONS ...................................................................................................... 68

    National Government ................................................................................................................ 68

    Dubai Municipality ................................................................................................................... 68

    12.0 ACKNOWLDEGEMENTS .................................................................................................. 70

    ANNEX 1: Request form the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Climate Change and

    Environment to the Ramsar Secretariat requesting a Ramsar Advisory Mission for the Ras Al

    Khor Wildlife Sanctuary and Ramsar Site. ................................................................................... 71

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    iii

    ANNEX 2: Itinerary for the Ramsar Advisory Mission 13-17 May 2017, Dubai, United Arab

    Emirates ........................................................................................................................................ 72

    ANNEX 3: Representatives of developments adjacent to Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary and

    Ramsar site during meetings with the Ramsar Advisory Mission Team 14 – 16 May 2017. ...... 74

    ANNEX 4: Lake Chilika Ramsar Site: Listing and Removal from the Montreux Record .......... 75

    ANNEX 5: Development of the International Wetland Park and Visitor Centre, Hong Kong in

    mitigation for wetland loss at the Mai Po Inner Deep Bay Ramsar Site. ..................................... 78

    ANNEX 6: Buffer zone around Ramsar Sites .............................................................................. 79

    ANNEX 7: Case study - Buffer zone around the Mai Po Inner Deep bay Ramsar Site, Hong

    Kong SAR, P.R. China. ................................................................................................................ 82

    ANNEX 8: Participants in the 17 May 2017 Ramsar Advisory Mission Workshop, Dubai,

    United Arab Emirates. .................................................................................................................. 85

    ANNEX 9: Results of the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunites, Threats (SWOT) exercised

    conducted during the 17 May 2017 Ramsar Advisory Mission Workshop, Dubai, United Arab

    Emi