Emirati elected President of International Association for Falconry

ABU DHABI, Majid Ali Al Mansouri, Secretary-General of the Emirates Falconers’ Club, was elected with a great majority by the delegates as President of the International Association for Falconry and Conservation of Birds of Prey (IAF) at the conclusion of the General Assembly held on the 22nd of October in Bamberg, Germany.

This is a new achievement for the UAE and its valuable efforts in preserving human heritage, preserving falconry and sustainable hunting. Formerly the UAE led one of the most important achievements in falconry history which was the registering of the falconry heritage in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in UNESCO which happened in 2010.

The IAF is a non-profit organisation founded in 1968 to preserve the art of falconry and its associated traditional culture of wild birds and prey through conservation of natural habitats. The organisation also encourages hunting by falcons in the context of the sustainable use of wildlife. IAF is the largest global falconry organisation, with 115 clubs and falconry institutions in more than 90 countries, representing more than 70,000 falconers around the world.

Majid Al Mansouri expressed his pleasure in representing the UAE in the IAF and winning the Presidency, and he said, “The UAE’s leadership of the IAF is a crowning of the UAE achievements in this field for decades and it increases the importance of winning the Presidency of the IAF that happened in the year where we celebrate the centennial of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Due to his vision In 1976, falconers gathered from all around the world to discuss the future of falconry, which means that the UAE’s leadership of the IAF is an extension of the efforts of Sheikh Zayed, the First Falconer and one of the most important environmentalists in the world, whose vision reached what modern nature protectors later defined as sustainable hunting.”

He added, “The Presidency of the Federation is a good opportunity to convey the successful experience of the UAE to the world, not only in the preserving of falconry but also in the environment in general, and how our ancestors taught us the responsibility of being falconers which requires us to be patient, adaptable and enduring, having harmony with the environment, respect for nature, and knowledge that we work in a team to achieve common goals. As we are keen to educate our children our presence in the Presidency of the IAF will help to spread this vision on a wider scale.”

He extended his sincere thanks and appreciation to President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, for their unlimited support in safeguarding heritage in various fields, especially Arab falconry. He also thanked H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in Al Dhafra Region, and Chairman of the Emirates Falconers’ Club, who has been directing and following up the efforts and achievements of the Emirates Falconers’ Club since its establishment.

In particular, during his tenure as Vice President of the IAF for the Middle East and North Africa region he developed the IAF strategy for this region and as a founding member of the Emirates Falconers’ Club and Secretary General has contributed to the Sheikh Zayed Programme to launch falcons which has succeeded in releasing to the wild more than 1,600 falcons.

His other achievements include projects of increasing falcons in captivity which have produced more than 3,500 falcons to relieve pressure on wild falcons, as well as the establishment of the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital, the largest of its kind in the world and major projects to increase Houbara inside and outside the UAE leading to the production of more than 200,000 Houbara and more than 137,000 birds being released to the wild to increase their numbers.

During his tenure as a Secretary General of the Environment Agency, he made a comprehensive shift in the Agency until it became independent and has actively contributed to the UAE’s national policies and environmental strategies including in health, safety, security, water resource management, the response to avian flu and integrated management of coastal zones.

Al Mansouri is the Secretary-General of the Emirates Falconers’ Club and Managing Director of the International Fund for Houbara Conservation and has led a number of major international conservation initiatives such as the CITES and the Abu Dhabi Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI) which was launched in 2002 in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). He was awarded the ‘Best Environmental Personality Award’ in the Gulf Cooperation Council in 2008.

Source: Emirates News Agency