Sharjah - HE Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of Sharjah Media Council and Chairman of the Supreme Organising Committee of the Sir Bu Nair Festival, announced the details of the 20th edition of the festival today at Sheraton Sharjah Beach Resort & Spa. The Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA) is organising the festival, which will be held on April 25th and 26th during the Year of Tolerance.
The 20th edition of this three-day festival will be held at Sir Bu Nair Nature Reserve this April, with the theme ‘The Sea Is Our Life’. With activities, events and programs that are both educational and entertaining, it will target all sectors of society. The festival emphasises Sir Bu Nair Nature Reserve’s importance and status and its environmental, tourism and cultural value; it also helps the younger generation relate to their environment and heritage.
EPAA is keen to develop a theme for each edition of the festival to reflect the festival’s purpose and content. This island, which is considered one of the most important marine reserves, is a preferred nesting site for sea turtles in the Gulf region.
A number of government entities are cooperating to organise the Festival, including EPAA, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), Sharjah Broadcasting Authority, Sharjah Police General Directorate, Sharjah International Marine Sports Club, Emirates Marine Environmental Group and Tilal Properties.
His Excellency said, “The Sir Bu Nair Festival is being held under the slogan ‘The Sea is our Life’. It is an eagerly awaited annual event that celebrates this beautiful island, its resource and its history. We pledge to preserve the treasures that we have inherited and to preserve this heritage for our children.” He pointed out that this is the 20th festival, launched according to the directives and under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah. During the last festival, His Highness announced that rest areas would be created on the island. His Highness continues to support nature reserves, the environment and initiatives that help to raise awareness about the environmental and heritage-related treasures. His Excellency said, “Today, we continue to protect and preserve nature and its elements. Sir Bu Nair is an important part of the UAE’s history. As an internationally important ecosystem and a tourist attraction, the island is not only a haven for birds, turtles and endangered species, it is also an inspiring destination with stunning views and a good place for fishing.”
He added, “We emphasise the importance of Sir Bu Nair Island, and we ask everyone to promote it as a site of environmental and cultural importance and a place that is of interest to tourists. I am sure that all who visit and experience the Sir Bu Nair festival will make lasting memories; we invite everyone to visit the festival and experience the island’s hidden beauty.
He concluded, “We thank the EPAA for organising this Festival, and we appreciate the efforts of the participating government entities, which surprise us each year by working as one team to achieve a unified goal and spread the Emirate of Sharjah’s message about preserving our environmental and historical heritage. We thank the media for their continued support and their efforts to raise awareness about the island's importance as a natural treasure and to highlight the tourism-related and environmental importance of Sir Bu Nair Island." HE Hana Saif Al Suwaidi, EPAA Chairperson, said, “Sir Bu Nair Island has maintained its original historical, cultural and environmental characteristics thanks to the protection and interest that has been accorded to it. Amiri Decree No. 25 of 2000 – issued by His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah – declared the island a Protected Area. Now Sir Bu Nair attracts international environmental organisations. As per His Highness’ directives, the island is being protected and listed in the relevant international agreements. In addition to other God-given characteristics, it has a rich ecosystem with a variety of birds, sea turtles, coral reefs and beaches, which serve as a haven for nesting sea turtles.” Mrs Al Suwaidi continued, “EPAA has organised this Festival for the past 20 years to highlight Sir Bu Nair Island’s unique environment and to promote its environmental, cultural and historical significance and its value for heritage competitions, tours and different events. By attracting the attention of various government entities, community organisations, volunteer groups, individuals and tourists from many countries, the festival helps to promote the island and emphasise the importance of preserving wildlife and protecting the marine environment. We will continue the island as a distinguished tourist destination in line with the directives of the Ruler of Sharjah with plans for new tourism projects.” She added, “The launch of Sir Bu Nair Marine Research Centre in cooperation with Emirates Marine Environmental Group will enhance our work with marine surveys and studies. The Centre’s strategic project to restore coral reefs and conserve biodiversity involves establishing a national coral farm to grow coral reefs, especially threatened species on the Red List. The species selected have very high growth rates compared to growth rates recorded in other parts of the Arabian Gulf. “We also launched the three-year Sharjah Pearl project in the Protected Area on Sir Bu Nair Island in cooperation with Emirates Marine Environmental Group. The project, which includes the development of a new system to manage marine conservation, aims to preserve coastal and marine ecosystems and biodiversity on Sir Bu Nair Island, and to enhance the management and development of long-term scientific monitoring programs. The project aims to use Sir Bu Nair Island as a model for the management of marine nature reserves in the country.”
Mrs Al Suwaidi thanked Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi and the participating organisations for their continued efforts to make the festival a success; she also thanked the festival’s official sponsor, Tilal Properties.
Sir Bu Nair Island is 110 kilometres north of Sharjah. Sea salt is extracted here, and the island has a visible well and oil. The island is known for its sandy beaches, clear water and rich coral and fish life. It was declared a Protected Area by Amiri Decree No. 25 issued by His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.
The island is of international importance. It was listed in the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in order to protect its ecology and rich biodiversity. It was also included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation and Management of Marine Turtles and their Habitats of the Indian Ocean and South-East Asia.
© Press Release 2019