26/02/2014 PERSGA 15th Regional Focal Points Meeting

The 15th Meeting of PERSGA National Focal Points was held on 26th February 2014 at PERSGA Headquarter in Jeddah. The one-day meeting was attended by delegates from six member states (Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Yemen) representing PERSGA Focal Points, and discussed several agenda with focus on the implementation of the ongoing Council Biennium (2013-2014). The Meeting was chaired by HE Dr. Abdul_Basit Al-Sairafi, the Undersecretary of Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (PME), Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The Meeting was initiated with a brief opening address by HE Dr. Ziad H. Abu Ghararah, PERSGA SG. He welcomed the country delegates and outlined main achievements and activities recently accomplished by PERSGA. Theses chiefly include the great advancement in partnerships with international agencies last year, which has witnessed the signing of several agreements for implementing new joint projects and activities. At the top of this comes the agreement signed between PERSGA and the World Bank for implementing the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden Strategic Ecosystem Management Project, funded by the Global Environmental Facilities. Several other agreements for new joint projects and initiatives that were also signed with the UNEP and the IMO for supporting PERSGA activities coming under the Regional Program of Action for Protection of Marine Environment from Land Based Activities; the Regional Initiative for Blue Carbon; the Regional Initiative for Implementation of Ecosystem Based Management; the Regional Program for Reduction of Pollution from Maritime Activities and Shipping; the Regional Training Program; and others. All these come alongside with completing the joint project on Reduction of Unintentional Emissions of Persistent Organic Compounds with the UNIDO; and another joint initiative with FAO to build up the Regional Mechanism for Cooperation in Management of Fishery and Mariculture in PERSGA region; as well as fostering PERSGA continuous cooperation with regional organizations such as ISESCO and the Arab League. Dr. Abu Ghararah concluded his opening address expressing his great thanks to the Focal Points and the member states for their fruitful cooperation with PERSGA, which has certainly been the essential block for building partnerships with international organizations and agencies. He also thanked the delegates for coming.

The Chairman, Dr. Abdul-Basit A-Sairafi addressed the Meeting, welcoming all country delegates, wishing them a nice stay in Saudi Arabia. He outlined the Meeting agenda and declared the start of the program after the agenda were approved by the Meeting.

The main agenda of the Meeting program included discussion of the ongoing program activities for the current Biennium 2013/2014, which was based on the SG report to the Meeting, and presentations by PERSGA Program coordinators on activities accomplished in 2013 and those projected for 2014. The meeting also discussed the current status of the ratification of Regional Protocols and MoUs. A session of the Meeting has also discussed arrangements for implementation of the new regional Full-Sized Project “Strategic Ecosystem Management of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden” in partnership with the World Bank, which will enter the implantation phase this year.

The Regional Organization for the Conservation of the Environment in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden