Supporting Partner Interview – CMS – Abu Dhabi

Lyle Glowka
Executive Coordinator
Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) Office – Abu Dhabi
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

Lyle is the Executive Coordinator of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), Abu dhabi, United Arab Emirates. A biologist and international lawyer, he has been providing legal and policy advice on biodiversity‐related issues to governments, intergovernmental organisations and NGOs for over 20 years.

Why a project on Dugongs and Seagrass ecosystems?
The GEF project is completely unique in that it is the very first example of a coordinated approach to dugong and seagrass conservation across a significant portion of the dugongs’ range. It recognises that dugongs, local communities and other migratory species, such as marine turtles, are all equally reliant upon healthy seagrass ecosystems.

What’s the role of the CMS Dugong MoU?
Dugongs are listed on Appendix II of the Convention on Migratory Species, indicating that international cooperation across their range is needed to improve their conservation status and conserve their seagrass habitats.

The Dugong MoU is a specialized CMS tool that promotes national and community-level conservation activities, and provides a platform for countries to come together on a regular basis to coordinate their approaches to implementing the MoU’s Conservation and Management Plan. The Dugong MoU Secretariat, which is hosted by Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi on behalf of the Government of the United Arab Emirates, recognized the need for significant funding to catalyse conservation activities in a large number of countries, and conceptualized the GEF project, spanning four years, eight countries and implemented by 41 partners. During the project’s implementation phase the Dugong MoU Secretariat and a group of scientific advisors will continue to engage actively by providing technical advice.

What is your dream project outcome?
I hope that the project will result in increased numbers of dugongs, and increase global awareness of the importance of seagrass ecosystems, while also helping to empower local communities to adopt sustainable fishing practices that are less threatening to dugongs and seagrass habitats.