Launch of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden Strategic Ecosystem Based Management Project “SEM”, First Regional Steering Committee Meeting, February 2014

PERSGA Strategic Ecosystem Based Management Project “SEM” supported by GEF, implemented by the World Bank and executed by PERSGA was endorsed by the World bank Board in August 2013. Project Agreement between PERSGA and the World Bank was signed in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia On November 4th 2014. The Project got into effect upon signature. PERSGA immediately started forming the Project Management Structure, which includes three levels: Regional Steering Committee, National Steering Committees and National Coordinators in all Partner Countries and a Project Coordination Unit at PERSGA.

The Regional Steering Committee responsible for Mainstreaming and Oversight of the Project Activities held its first meeting on February 26th 2014. The main items on the Meeting’s Agenda were: Presentation of the Project and First Year Workplan by the Project Coordinator; Discussion of the Project’s Outputs and Implementation Arrangements; and Official Launch of the Project

The Meeting joined all the Project Steering Committee Members

  • Dr. Abd el Baset Al Seirafy, Focal Point Saudi Arabia; Chairman
  • Prof. Ziad Abu Ghararah PERSGA Secretary General
  • Dr. Mohannad Hararah, Focal Point Jordan
  • Dr. Amr el Sammak, Focal Point Egypt
  • Dr. Hana Mohamed Focal Point Representative Sudan
  • Mr. Aden Hassan Focal Point Representative Djibouti

And the Project Coordination Unit Members

  • Dr. Mohammad Badran, Project Manager
  • Dr. Maher Amr, Coordinator Component 1
  • Dr. Ahmad Khalil, Coordinator Component 2
  • Mr. Bashar el Bataineh, Component 3
  • Mr. Mohammad Satti, Financial Manger
  • Mr. Najm el Dien Awad, Procurement Officer
  • Eng. Islam Taha, IT and Information Dissemination Coordinator

The Project Manager, Dr. Mohammad Badran delivered a 30 Minute presentation introducing the Project and outlining the First Year Workplan. He demonstrated integration of the SEM project in PERSGA General Program and emphasized the Strengths of the Project as well as the shortages in the Region that the Project will handle. He discussed the Project in context of the International Waters GEF Focal Area. Moving then to the Project structure, management and reporting requirements. The presenter highlighted the methods and criteria for selecting consultants, pointing out that all consultancies in the Project will be for individual consultants, which puts more burden on the PCU but keeps PERSGA in better control of the Project. As the project focuses on local communities, this supports selection of a good number of consultants from the Regional, especially that the World Bank Guidelines in selecting consultants give good weight to cultural factors in selecting the consultants such as language and social background.

The Chairman opened the floor for discussion, starting with a question on the criteria of the scientific approach of the Project and what will guaranteed the quality of data collected by the Project. Response was that the project will follow robust scientific approach, where it will start with identifying monitoring gaps and strengths in the countries associated with a revision and update of PERSGA Standard Survey Methods. This will be followed by inter-calibration exercises. The monitoring process itself will be conducted through contracts with well established research centers and scientific institutes in the Region. Further discussion focused on the consultants and several PSC members emphasized the importance of giving priority to regional consultants or in the case of having international consultants from outside the Region, have national specialists working with them as a means of keeping the momentum and building human resources in the participating countries.

Concluding the discussion, the Chairman Mr. Ziad Daghistani on behalf of Dr. Abd el Basset Al Seirafy, Saudi Arabia Focal Point gave the floor to Prof. Ziad Abu Ghararah PERSGA Secretary General to officially declare the Project Launch. Prof. Abu Ghararah thanked all PERSGA Focal Points for their support throughout the long process of realizing the Project and thanked PERSGA staff who worked very hard to reach to this moment. With that in the Name of Allah and his Almighty Blessings Prof. Abu Ghararah declared the Project Officially Launched.