Middle Eastern Important Bird Areas
A total of 391 sites have been identified as Important Bird Areas (IBAs ) in the Middle East, in all covering more than 300,000 Km2 or about 5% of the land area of the Middle East.
The sites were carefully selected according to criteria, which confirmed that they held regionally or globally important population of birds. Seven main habitat-types can be distinguished in the Middle East: woodland, bush land, grassland, agricultural, desert, wetland and marine. IBAs have been identified in all of these ecosystems.
Wetlands dominate the inventory, comprising half of all IBAs. Other habitat types are represented by lower, but roughly similar, numbers of the sites. The large number of the wetlands selected as IBAs reflects their great importance to birds and other wildlife in a region where water resources are usually scarce.
Proportion of Each Country Covered by Important Bird Areas
About a quarter of the sites have some form of legal protection of their biodiversity, representing more than a third of the total area covered by IBAs. Thus the majority of all IBAs in the Middle East are unprotected by law.
Protection of Important Bird Areas by National Law
About two-third of IBAs in the Middle East are not immediately threatened, or are under a low degree of threat of destruction or degradation of their habitats or their value to birds. The IBAs in most urgent need of attention are those whose important habitats or bird populations are under a high degree of threat of destruction or elimination, and where most if not all of the habitat(s) or population(s) are likely to be irreversibly lost unless immediate action is taken.
- Raising the profile of IBAs in the Region. Successful production on national IBAs inventories (Jordan, Palestine)
- Arranging for Annual Regional Meeting to review, update and evaluate the regional programme.
- Enhancing regional Partnership and networking within the region.
- Training on Database Bird Census Management plans/site/IBAs and Civil society.
- Conservation of Wadi Gaza, Wetland Conservation/Palestine.
- Site Action Project Development/Project formulation.
- Production of awareness materials on IBAs.
- Ecotourism related activities: Information Packages, Business plans, Documentaries.
- Seabird Programme as a new initiative.
- Adoption of Sit Support Group concept within the Middle East Program.
- Unifying Arabic names of Birds.
- Assisting in the conservation efforts of the Bald Ibis.
- Fundraising for IBAs: Jordan Valley (Jordan, Palestine, Aden lagoons (Yemen), Ras el Ein (Lebanon), Jerihco (Palestine).
- Contributions to National BSAPs (Jordan, Palestine)
Synergy with Conventions (CITES, CBD, RAMSAR)
For more information on the Middle East IBA Programme contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, BirdLife Middle East Division Office.