Egypt assumes presidency of Red Sea, Gulf of Aden’s environmental conservation organization

Ahram Online , Thursday 3 Aug 2023

Egypt assumes the presidency of the 20th session of the Ministerial Council of the Regional Organization for the Conservation of the Environment of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden (PERSGA) in a meeting held in Egypt's Red Sea city of Hurghada on Thursday.

Red Sea, Gulf of Aden s
The meeting of the Ministerial Council of the Regional Organization for the Conservation of the Environment of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden (PERSGA) in Hurghada, Egypt on Thursday. Photo: Egyptian Cabinet

Egyptian Minister of Environment Yasmine Fouad attended the meeting alongside environment ministers of the organisation's member states.

During the meeting, Fouad took over the presidency of the session from Djibout’s environment and sustainable development minister, who represented his country as the president of the 19th session of PERSGA.   

In her speech to the meeting, she said that Egypt, which focuses on aligning climate change and biodiversity preservation, aims to use its presidency of the 27th session of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 27) to introduce initiatives for marine conservation and sustainable development in the region.

“COP27 will serve as a platform to introduce a range of initiatives related to biodiversity and nature-based solutions, furthering PERSGA's commitment to marine conservation,” the minister said.

Established in 1995 in Saudi Arabia, the PERSGA includes seven member states: Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen.

The PERSGA plays a vital role in marine conservation by developing policies, monitoring sensitive marine ecosystems and pollution sources, acting as a focal point for regional reporting, conducting capacity-building training, and coordinating environmental activities among member states.

Fouad also expressed gratitude for Egypt's selection to lead PERSGA for the second time since its first presidency of the 16th session in 2015, pledging to strengthen cooperation among member states in safeguarding the marine environment and biodiversity.

The council's efforts will focus on raising awareness about environmental issues, particularly among the youth, and engaging the private sector and civil society in safeguarding the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden's marine ecosystem, she said.

Furthermore, Fouad highlighted the significance of collective action in protecting the marine environment in the region against environmental challenges.

“Key challenges include addressing potential consequences of climate change, managing land-based pollution, and mitigating impacts of urban expansion and economic development,” she said.

The minister also stressed the importance of tackling pollution from oil and chemical spills from ships.

Fouad indicated that the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden hold international importance since they represent not only vital trade routes but also home to unique marine biodiversity.

The participants in the meeting also discussed PERSGA's financial status and approved the project plan and budget for 2023/2024.

Furthermore, the council explored ways to transform the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden into a special area by 2025 and efforts to prohibit ships from disposing of solid waste in the sea. It also discussed enhancing waste management infrastructure in ports.  

In addition, the participants in the meeting addressed mechanisms to enhance marine ecosystem services and transition towards a sustainable blue economy in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

The environment ministers further discussed the technical cooperation between the Mediterranean Action Plan Secretariat and PERSGA.

Short link: