Board & Rulers Decree

Under the chairmanship of HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, also the Chairman of Emirates, a management board was hand-picked to oversee the establishment and operation of the DDCR. From tourism and conservation specialists, to senior government figures, each member of the Board is committed to nurture and protect the DDCR.


HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum

Chairman of Emirates and President of the Department of Civil Aviation

General Secretary and Head of Operations

Mr. Ali Soori

Executive Vice President

Ruler’s Decree

After months of preparation, detailed legal work and extensive infrastructure development, the Dubai Conservation Reserve was written into law under a special Ruler’s Decree by His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai and Vice President of the UAE. Under the Board’s instruction, Al Maha’s successful conservation team officially took over the operations of the DDCR.

(Translation from original Arabic – not for legislative use).

The Ruler’s Court

Law No. (11) of 2003 on Nature Reserves within the Emirate of Dubai

His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai, issued the law, following a scrutiny of federal law no 24 of 1999 on environmental protection and development, Local Order no 61 of 1991, issued on July 15, 1991, on environment protection systems in Dubai and Local Order no 2 of 1998, issued on March 1, 1998 on the setting up of several natural reserves in Dubai. The new law was promulgated with the aim of preserving the natural environment, wildlife and marine life.

The law includes the following articles:

Article (1)

The law is “law on Setting up Nature Reserves in the Emirate of Dubai”, No 11 of 2003.

Article (2)

References of terms used in this law:
Emirate: Dubai
Ruler: His Highness the Ruler of Dubai.
Municipality: Dubai Municipality.
Natural Reserve: Any land area or coastal interior waters that are distinguished for their high value cultural, scientific, tourism, or their aesthetic, vegetation, animal and fisheries wealth, or those with peculiar natural physical characteristics.

Article (3)

Nature Reserves in the emirate are established in their specified geographical locations and within set areas and borders, with a decree issued by the Ruler at a proposal submitted by the Municipality.

The size of the natural reserve’s area and its borders can be modified by a decree issued by the Ruler at the recommendation of the Municipality.

Article (4)

Setting up natural reserves in the emirate have the following objectives:

  • Protecting the natural environment, preserving their original states, and ensuring the maintenance of their aesthetics in any development thereof.
  • Preserving the natural resources and the bio-diversity of life within the protected areas, including the preservation of vegetation, animals and migrant and resident birdlife.
  • Protection of the geology and geographic features of the reserves.
  • Actively manage the reserves in a manner which assists the propagation of rare and endangered species, and their reintroduction.
  • The monitoring of wildlife and naturally occurring species, their numbers, areas of breeding, the growth of populations, and the natural habitats in which they occur.
  • The protecting of locations that are considered the natural range and environment of the species, whether animal or plant, and specifically protecting areas critical to the breeding, growth or development of the populations.
  • Contributing to the development of ecologically-based tourism in the emirate.

Article (5)

The Municipality is in charge of supervising these Nature Reserves and managing them. The Director General of the Municipality shall mandate the formation of a Board of Directors responsible for the supervision of any Nature Reserve.

The board shall include a number of nominated experts and specialists in the field.

Article (6)

To achieve the aforementioned objectives, the Municipality shall provide for the following tasks and actions:

  • The mapping of general policies regarding Nature Reserves and development of plans and programmes, and their implementation.
  • Monitoring environmental phenomena and enumerating wildlife and marine creatures in the reserves, and recording the finds in a special registers created for that purpose.
  • Forming necessary implementation plans to streamline the works and conservation works required within Nature Reserves.
  • The setting up organisations, establishments and infrastructure, and providing necessary supplies to protect the Reserves and to encourage the development of nature-based tourism.
  • Putting together the necessary systems to protect wildlife in the Reserves in a way that guarantees the protection of animals, plants, birds, natural resources, underground water and eco-diversity.
  • Enactment of rules and regulations for the investment of infrastructures, utilities and establishments built within Nature Reserves, provided that they do not contradict measures aimed at protecting habitats and wildlife.
  • Specifying fees for visitor entry.
  • Taking the necessary measures to ensure the registration and recognition for the Nature Reserves from regional and international organisations, and to exchange information and expertise with them on all matters that relate to Nature Reserves and their protection.
  • Seek the assistance of experts and specialists, and to form where necessary specialised committees, in matters which relate to research and specific studies of natural reserves, the monitoring of environmental phenomena, and enumeration of animals and plants within Nature Reserves.
  • To action any other tasks and assignments that fall within the objectives of establishing Nature Reserves as is deemed necessary.

Article (7)

Finances for Nature Reserves shall come from the following sources:

  • Financial allocation for Nature Reserves by the Municipality from its annual budget.
  • Returns from the establishments built within Nature Reserves.
  • Visitor entry fees.
  • Any donations or financial assistance from inside or outside the country, approved by the Government of Dubai.

Article (8)

Individuals and public and private sector establishments are prohibited from undertaking any works or activities in the natural reserves or in the adjoining areas that would destroy natural life, negatively impact on it, damage wildlife and marine life or affect the aesthetic look of the natural reserves. The following actions are particularly prohibited:

  • The hunting, transportation, or killing of any animals in the Reserves, or doing anything that could lead to the damage, harm or destruction to wildlife.
  • The taking of any living animals, rocks or soils from a reserve, or to interfere with their natural topography in any way.
  • The damaging of any geological or geographic features or formations, or the interference with any areas or locations which are considered the habitat of animal, plant or bird species, or interferes with their breeding and the growth of the populations.
  • The bringing in of any kind of animal or other species that are foreign, or may be a danger to the naturally occurring species.
  • Any activity that may pollute the soil, water or air within the Nature Reserve in any way.
  • To develop or build any establishment, create roads or pathways, use vehicles, or practice any agricultural, industrial or commercial activities without the permission and an approved license from the Board of Directors as recommended to the Municipality.
  • Conducting any other work that affects the natural balances and natural processes within Reserves.

Article (9)

Municipality staff and inspectors assigned by the Director General can act as judicial controllers to detect the actions that violate the rules of this law, or the decisions and instructions issued in the light of this law. They have the right to impound all tools/equipment or any goods which may pose a contravention to the laws, and to issue the relevant and necessary detection notices.

Article (10)

Without ignoring any other penalties which may exceed those included in the provisions of any other law, all violators of the provisions of this law, or of the decisions based on it, may be imprisoned, or fined to for the amount of not more than Dh 500,000 (AED FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND) or both penalties. The court, when delivering the judgments of conviction, can order the confiscation of goods and any equipment seized used in the crime, or those that were supposed to be used, without any adverse impact on the rights of others, who may have been acting in good faith. Besides the penalties, the specialised court can in addition order compensation for the damage incurred or caused by the actions.

Article (11)

The Natural Reserves considered as such under local order no 2 of 1998 are also considered Natural Reserves, and are placed therefore within the light of this law, and fall under its rules.

Article (12)

The Municipality Director General has issued the necessary rules for the implementation of these laws.

Article (13)

All texts or legislation that presently may contradict this law are hereby considered null and void.

Article (14)

This law is to be published in the official gazette and comes into effect from the date of its publication.

Issued in Dubai on December 17, 2003

Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum

Ruler of Dubai