Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) - Middle East

Hima kfar zabad IBA sign. Photo: David Thomas

BirdLife’s Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) programme aims to identify, monitor  and protect a network of sites critical for the long-term viability of wild bird populations, across the range of those bird species for which a sites-based approach is appropriate.

The Middle East Regional IBA inventory was published in 1994. It identified a total of 391 sites as IBAs, 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.

Currently the Partnership is updating and publishing national inventories for the region. Since the year 2000, Countries that have already contributed updated national IBAs inventories including Jordan, Palestine, Iraq, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE and Lebanon. Ongoing efforts include Kuwait, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Oman. With generous support from the Hima Fund, the Partnership is engaged in an attempt to integrate the results of IBA monitoring into a regional synthesis showing the status of IBA in the region, and an overview of the findings.

Other initiatives such as the CEPF (Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund) for the Mediterranean and the Eastern Afromontane hotspots, provide an opportunity to mobilize resources to conserve IBAs in eligible countries. The Hima fund supports interventions at Middle Eastern IBAs which use the traditional hima approach to ensure that conervation benefits human user communities as well as birds and other biodiversity. 


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