Inception workshop of the Project Strategic Ecosystem Management of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden took place over two days March 26th - 27th 2014 at PERSGA Headquarters in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It joined specialists from the World Bank, National Coordinators from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Djibouti, Sudan and Yemen in addition to PERSGA specialists.
The workshop marked take off of the Project’s activities after the special agreement of the Project has been signed between the World Bank and PERSGA towards the end of 2013 and it has been officially inaugurated during PERSGA Focal Points Meeting on February 26th 2014. PERSGA Focal Points and the Secretary General comprise the Steering Committee of the Project. The workshop focused on procurement, financial management and social environmental safeguard arrangements of the project.
In his opening address PERSGA Secretary General Prof. Ziad Abu Ghararah pointed out that the Project will contribute in supporting efforts of PERSGA Member States in protection of biodiversity and establishing principles of sustainable management of marine and coastal resources. It will enhance and improve the efficiency of the network of marine protected areas. It will also improve fisheries management and support positive community participation in conserving resources through implementation of on the ground projects. Prof. Abu Ghararah added that the Principle of Ecosystem Based Management “EBM” that the Project adopts features a number of tools, namely improving the roles of Marine protected Areas in conserving reproduction habitats and trophic balance for important fish species thus enhancing biodiversity, yet EBM enhances the management of MPAs for the benefit of local communities through incentives based approach for sustainable management of coastal and marine resources. EBM also builds on social and environmental monitoring for assessment of management impacts and enlightening Decision Makers and the Public of affective management measures to follow.
Head of the World Bank Delegation in turn thanked PERSGA for taking the initiative to adopt this important project, which will mark a significant point in fostering collaboration between the World Bank and PERSGA for the achievement of goals of sustainable development in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. He emphasized that this strategic ecosystem is worth higher international support for what it enjoys of biodiversity and the goods and services it provides to the communities inhabiting it.