Green List

United Arab Emirates


The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is located in the Middle East, bordering the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf. Largely an arid land with vast sand deserts, it is also characterised by sand dunes, oases, valleys, marshes, mangroves and salt plains, as well as the Al Hajar Mountains. Each of these ecosystems supports their share of local biodiversity. Flora species include, date palms, acacia and eucalyptus trees, and the indigenous terrestrial fauna includes, Arabian Oryx, Arabian camel and leopards. The marine life of the UAE is rich in fish, plants and corals, with over 500 different species of fish inhabiting the Gulf waters. The Arabian Gulf hosts large populations of dugongs, dolphins and marine turtles. The coral reefs and mangrove creeks are habitats for many marine creatures and are important fish breeding and feeding grounds, as well as protection for the shores from coastal erosion. Of the 51 protected areas in the UAE, terrestrial PAs cover 17.95% of land area and 11.27% marine. These protected areas come under IUCN Management Categories: II, IV and VI, as well as government delegated management.

Related Sites

Related Expert Assessment Group (EAGL): Middle East and West Asia


Date of Approval

EAGL fully trained

EAGL Chair
Middle East and West Asia

Allocated Reviewer
Mounia Essefiani

Standard Adaptation Status
Using Generic Indicators

Summary of Key Expertise

MEWA EAGLs are experts who are specialized in biodiversity and protected areas. They came from Jordan, UAE, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Palestine, Lebanon, Oman and Kuwait. They have extensive experience in and knowledge of the management of protected and conserved areas; in the West Asia region and the Middle East.

EAGL Members

Khaled Allam Harhash – EAGL Chair

Biodiversity and Protected Areas Expert – Financial Sustainability of Protected Areas Project - UNDP
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Khaled Allam Harhash – EAGL Chair

Khaled has more than 24 years of experience in Conservation of Biodiversity, Protected Area Management & Planning, Natural Resources Monitoring, Applied Ecology, Habitat Restoration, World Heritage Site Nomination & Management, Ecotourism Development and Strategic Planning.

Khaled is the Chair of EAGL Group for MEWA Region under WCPA/IUCN.

Khaled serves as an expert in the global task expert group of the IPBES for the development of the “the Way Forward for Scenario Development for IPBES“ and  in the Task force on scenarios and models for the implementation of the rolling work programme up to 2030 under the IPBES. He is also the coordinating lead author for two IPBES studies and a UN Environment study for West Asia.

In addition, Khaled conducted the Regional Situation Analysis for West Asia countries on Protected areas and biodiversity for IUCN as well as develop a module for Protected Areas planning and management for the CBD.

Khaled did several consultancies for different countries such as: Eritrea, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iraq, Palestine and Libya; and for international organizations such as: CBD, UNDP, IUCN, UN Environment, MedPAN, MedWet, GEF, UNESCO, FAO, US Forest, USAID, Italian Cooperation and EU. Khaled developed several management plans for different protected areas.

He has a B.Sc. in Zoology, a diploma in Environmental Management, a Master degree in ecology and a PhD in Ecology all from Cairo University in Egypt.

Ehab Eid – Vice Chair

Independent Consultant
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Ehab Eid – Vice Chair

Ehab is an expert in terrestrial and marine biodiversity conservation, protected areas management, multilateral environmental conventions (CITES and CBD). He has contributed to the development, review and assessment of several management plans at national and regional levels. His previous experiences, educational background and role as a national auditor of the Blue Flag program as well as his role as an international auditor of the Green Key played a major role in solidifying his current position.

Ehab holds a Master’s degree in Conservation, Access and Management of Species in Trade; the international framework from the International University of Andalucía in Spain with a biological first university degree. 

 He has been working for more than 19 years in the field of terrestrial and marine biodiversity conservation, protected areas management and fundraising. Ehab has also Published several peer-reviewed articles, authored or co-authored many books, chapters, guides, strategies, action plans, nature-based by-laws and guidelines at national, regional and international levels.

 He is a steering committee member at IUCN SSC, member in WCPA and CEC of IUCN, the regional vice chair of West Asia for the Expert Assessment Group of the Green List and the Species Survival Commission. In addition, Ehab mastered several training in nature conservation and climate change.

Dan Paleczny

Parks and Protected Areas Consulting Specialist
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Dan Paleczny

Dan is an expert in:

  • Management effectiveness
  • Land use planning
  • PA systems and management planning
  • Project proposals and development
  • Eco-tourism and visitor management
  • Strategic planning
  • Interpretation and education
  • Training and capacity building

Dan’s recent work includes project development with UNEP and GEF to address illegal wildlife trade in South Sudan and South Africa and Canada’s Nature Fund for new Indigenous Parks and Conservation Areas.

Dan was the IUCN project director for the Italian-funded planning and development of Egypt’s Valley of the Whales World Heritage Site (2005-08). With IUCN, he developed a GEF project for Egypt parks, carried out a bibliographic review of Kuwait’s terrestrial and marine biodiversity, and conducted Green List site evaluations in Jordan and Egypt.

He also worked with the Ontario and Yukon governments in Canada for about 35 years, including as the Director of Yukon Parks. Dan has a PhD from the University of Greenwich that included field research on management effectiveness at four national parks in Egypt. He is a WCPA member, an Adjunct Professor with University of Alberta and a board member of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society-Yukon Chapter.

Thuraya Said AL Sariri

Assistant Director General of Nature Conservation, Ministry of Environment and Climate change affairs, Oman.
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Thuraya Said AL Sariri

Thuraya has an experience in designations of protected areas, preparing national & strategic management plans, evaluating files for MAB and World heritage lists and conservation planning and governance. 

 Thuraya is Sultanate of Oman’s representative in Man and Biosphere Reserves Council and Natural Expert in World Heritage Committee in UNESCO.  She is a member of the International Commission of Protected areas in IUCN. She Joined the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs in 2000 as an environmental specialist for over six years in the Marine Pollution Control Section. Since mid-2015, Thuraya is working as an assistance director general of nature conservation to develop and follow up implementation of all natural programs and activities on marine, biodiversity conservation and development of protected areas in Oman.

 She is also a member of different international and national committees relating to biodiversity and climate change affairs and she is the author and co-author in several published articles. Thuraya works as an internal consultant for the designation of nature reserves, preparing management and legislations for protected areas and preparing the national adaption strategy of climate change and mapping of land degradation in Oman.

 Thuraya has a PhD from Surrey University in UK on the Coastal Zone and Climate Change Management in Oman and MSc from Southampton University in the UK and Bachelor Degree on Biology from Sultan Qaboos University.

Tamer Khafaga

Regional Chair IUCN-CEM
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Tamer Khafaga

Tamer is an expert in biodiversity conservation, habitats restoration, protected area management, environmental site assessments, terrestrial habitats management (Semi-Arid, Arid and Hyper Arid Ecosystems) and endangered species management.

Tamer is a professional with an extensive understanding of biodiversity conservation, habitats restoration and protected area management. He has proven record of conducting environmental site assessments, an expert in the terrestrial habitats (Semi-Arid, Arid and Hyper Arid Ecosystems), and coordinating endangered species management.

Tamer is instrumental in driving efficiency across different aspects of conservation programs through active supervision and continuous follow-ups on the allocated tasks.

Nizar Hani

Manager, Shouf Biosphere Reserve
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Nizar Hani

Hani is a protected areas / biodiversity conservation specialist with almost 20 years of relevant field experience. He is currently an Environmental Specialist at the Ministry of Environment, managing  the Lebanon’s first declared biosphere reserve, the Shouf Biosphere Reserve. He was one of four Field Coordinators on the Lebanon Mountain Trail project responsible for delineating and mapping 100 km of footpaths.

Hani is intimately familiar with trail planning and design, mechanisms for controlled grazing, forest and landscape restoration, environmental awareness and education. Over the years, He has developed excellent communication and workshop facilitation skills and he participated in more than a dozen regional workshops on biodiversity and protected areas including, most recently, the III Congress of Biosphere Reserves organized by UNESCO in Spain (Feb 4- 9, 2008).

Hani holds a BS in Chemistry and Master’s degree in Agricultural Sciences. Hani speaks Arabic and English fluently and good in French.

Nabegh Ghazal Asswad

Conservation Officer, BirdLife International Middle East, Syrian Society for the Conservation of Wildlife (Science and Research Advisor)
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Nabegh Ghazal Asswad

Nabegh is an expert in conservation planning for Sites of Special Importance to Biodiversity, Site assessment and Bird Census for conservation purposes as well as habitat and biodiversity surveys, conservation planning, bird ringing, ecological monitoring, wildlife and woodland ecology and plant taxonomy

Nabegh have carried out habitat and Biodiversity surveys at various sites in Syria and was involved in teaching Wildlife Ecology at Aleppo University and then Conservation Management at Nottingham University. He also carried out a study to propose a site as a Protected Area in Syria, which was officially adopted in 1999.

Nabegh was involved in several activities that raises awareness on the Conservation of Globally Threatened species and revising the status of Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Syria as well as updating the national hunting legislation through the delegation from the Syrian Society for the Conservation of Wildlife (SSCW).

Nabegh recently started working with BirdLife International Middle East as Conservation Officer to oversee the EU New Life Egyptian Vulture Project in the region. He also participated in several IUCN and BirdLife workshops and attended the 2014 IUCN World Parks Congress and Rainforest Summit. Nabegh participated in the recent Green List assessment for some sites in the Middle East.

Mina Esteghamat

Managing Director; Centre for Conservation and Development of Sustainable Ecosystems (ZIPAK).
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Mina Esteghamat

Mina is an expert in ecosystem-based natural resource and protected areas management

Mina completed her B.Sc. & M.Sc. in Forestry and Forest ecology in Iran, and has a Ph.D. in Agroforestry, from India, Pune University.

She is currently the Managing Director of ZIPAK, the Iranian national NGO, and working as Senior Research Associate/ project Manager in Ecosystem-based Natural Resource/ Protected Areas Management. She is also member of the regional IUCN Expert Assessment group for the Green List (EAGL), member of IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) and the IUCN Regional Committee, as well as being appointed as senior fellow in the Global Alliance of Evergreening and International Support Group of IYRP.

She has fieldwork and research experience with NGOs, academic environments and relevant organizations as well as UN agencies.

Khaldoun Ameen Alomari

Manager, Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi
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Khaldoun Ameen Alomari

As a person with over 22 years of experience in the field of biodiversity conservation and protected area management, Khaldoun has good experience in all the criteria of the Green List with a focus on good governance and the management effectiveness, design & planning and conservation outcomes.

Khaldoun is a biologist with a life-long vocation and action in the field of nature conservation, his main area of expertise is related to the development and management of protected areas and their relevance to ecotourism and local community involvement and participation in the sustainable management of natural resources.

After doing his university in Jordan University of Science and Technology (J.U.S.T), he worked 9 years for the The Royal Society for the Conservation of nature (RSCN) in Jordan, then he worked 5 years with IUCN regional office for west Asia and is now employed by the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD).

He manages the Terrestrial Protected Areas (TPAs) & Infrastructure & Maintenance Section;  and manages the  planning and execution of all related activities including setting and implementing TPAs management plans, patrolling within the TPAs, he also oversees infrastructure development and maintenance projects to ensure provision of high-quality infrastructure, effective management of TPAs, and compliance with wildlife laws and regulations within and outside TPAs.

As part of this work, Khaldoun is involved with many on-the ground conservations projects and activities, ranging from species and site conservation projects to environmental education, to capacity building.

Sulafa Tariq Al Shaalan

Academic, International Environmental law expert
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Sulafa Tariq Al Shaalan

 Sulafa got her Master’s degree in international environmental law in 2003 with ‘Climate Change Convention’ as her thesis. She also did a doctoral thesis on the impact of armed conflict on climate, biodiversity and cultural heritage.

 Since 2014, Sulafa has been teaching international environmental law in university and works with the local government and relevant ministries in her province to publish knowledge of International Environmental Law.

 Sulafa organizes several environmental activities with NGOs and local government to share and publish our knowledge for raising environmental awareness about mitigating pollution, conservation of (biodiversity and climate change), in our community.

Gregory Simkins

Conservation Manager, Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve
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Gregory Simkins

Gregory is an expert in protected area planning, eco-tourism and species re-introduction.

Gregory is the Conservation Manager for the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR) and has worked in the field of conservation and protected areas management since 2001.

Simkins began his career as a Field Guide with the Emirates Group in 1999 at the newly opened Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa. In 2001, he became a Reserve Officer and was heavily involved in the planning and implementation of eco-tourism activities within the protected area of the DDCR, which was created in 2002.

In 2003 Simkins took on his current role and was appointed Conservation Manager for the DDCR. He is responsible for the overall management of the Reserve and has been at the forefront of its development from conception in 2003 to its current international recognition.

Simkins also manages the wildlife at the Reserve looking after a number of different species including the Arabian Oryx, Arabian and Sand Gazelles, as well as managing the horse stables, camel farm and falconry. He also plays a major role in conducting key conservation research studies throughout the DDCR. Prior to joining the Emirates Group, Simkins studied at the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg in Kwazulu-Natal, where he undertook a four year Bachelor of Science in Agriculture.

Leina AlAwadhi

Senior geology specialist and head of the Natural Reserve Section, Biodiversity Conservation Department at the Environment Public Authority, Kuwait
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Leina AlAwadhi

Leina AlAwadhi is a senior geology specialist and head of the Natural Reserve Section, Biodiversity Conservation Department at the Environment Public Authority in the State of Kuwait. She is a focal point of CBD National and Ramsar, and a rapporteur of the National Biodiversity Committee. Mrs. AlAwadhi is also a member in CoP Bureau, Asia Pacific Region. Mrs. AlAwadhi has participated in many conferences and seminars and delivered many international conference presentations. She has attended many workshops and forums, and has written a number of books.

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