Palermo conf on Socotra biodiversity

War among threats to Yemeni archipelago's rich flora and fauna

(ANSA) - Palermo, September 10 - Palermo is preparing to host a conference that will highlight how the Yemeni conflict and other threats have put the unique biodiversity of the Socotra Archipelago in peril.
    The archipelago, which is on UNESCO's World Heritage list, is in the northwest Indian Ocean near the Gulf of Aden. It is 250 km long and comprises four islands and two rocky islets. It has been declared to be of universal importance because of its rich and distinct flora and fauna.
    For example, 37% of Socotra's 825 plant species, 90% of its reptile species and 95% of its land snail species do not occur anywhere else in the world. The 18th International Friends of Socotra (FoS) conference taking place in Palermo from September 26 to October 6 aims to raise international attention about the need to protect this unique place.
    "Socotra is one of the most important biodiversity sites in the world," said Marco Livadiotti, who is one of the organizers of the event.
    "It is still relatively unexplored and mysterious. It is a natural sanctuary that we cannot compromise and lose". The conflict has prevented local and international experts from continuing their work on the island and monitoring the situation, while the climate crisis has had an impact, with recent storms causing severe damage. Other problems regard insufficient control by the local government of the development with new infrastructure and buildings for tourism.