Uruq Bani Ma’arid Reserve is home to more than 120 indigenous plant species, as well as endangered animals
The Uruq Bani Ma‘arid Reserve in Saudi Arabia has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The decision was taken during the extended 45th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee held in Riyadh between the 10 and 25 September. The successful nomination of the site marks Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO Natural Heritage Site and celebrates Saudi’s continued efforts to protect and maintain its natural ecosystems and cultural heritage.
Saudi's commitment to the conservation of natural heritage and the sustainable development of natural heritage is of strategic importance to Saudi Vision 2030.
Chairman of the Heritage Commission and Saudi Minister of Culture, His Highness Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan Al Saud said: “The inscription of the Reserve on the UNESCO World Heritage List as the first Natural Heritage Site in the kingdom contributes to highlighting the importance of natural heritage on a global scale and reflects the outstanding value of the Reserve.”
Situated along the western edge of ar-Rub al-Khali (The Empty Quarter), Uruq Bani Ma’arid Reserve occupies an area of over 12,750sqkm and is an exceptional showcase of the environmental and biological evolution of flora and fauna in Saudi Arabia and provides vital natural habitats for the survival of more than 120 indigenous plant species, as well as endangered animals living in harsh environments, including gazelles.
The reserve is home to the only free-ranging herd of Arabian Oryx in the world
The inscription of the Uruq Bani Ma’arid Reserve as a World Heritage Site comes as a result of joint national efforts by the Saudi Ministry of Culture, the National Commission for Education, Culture and Science, the National Centre for Wildlife and the Heritage Commission.
The inscription of the Uruq Bani Ma’arid Reserve adds to the six other UNESCO sites in Saudi, which are Al-Ahsa Oasis, Al-Hijr Archaeological Site, At-Turaif District in ad-Dir'iyah, Ḥimā Cultural Area, Historic Jeddah, and Rock Art in the Hail Region.