Cross-cutting Principles and Issues: 

In line with PERSGA’s comprehensive approach to conservation, activities within each program element have been designed to work towards the following primary principles and cross cutting themes: 

Poverty alleviation: in accordance with the Millennium Development Goals, PERSGA’s projects intend to make a direct contribution to poverty alleviation and socio-economic development. The Jeddah Action Plan (1982) specifically spells out the need to “achieve continuous socio-economic development on a sustainable basis taking into account environmental considerations”. Additionally, although “the conservation of the marine and coastal areas is considered as the axis of the Action Plan”, and so constitutes PERSGA’s primary focus, the fact that the health of the environment also has a great effect on human health and well-being has been recognized as an integral connected priority. 

Mainstreaming environmental considerations into development proposals: developing a synergy between economic development and biodiversity conservation by demonstrating increased efficiency, better risk management, the use of more sustainable environmental products and services, and the incorporation of environmental assessments into development planning. This approach is supported by the World Economic Forum’s “Global Competitiveness Report 2001/2” which found strong correlations between sustainable environmental performance and levels of economic development. Countries with strong environmental policies have no disadvantage in their macro-economic growth patterns, and a healthy natural environment can and does provide additional socio-economic benefits generated from tourism, rural employment, quality of life and health, etc. 

Applying the Precautionary Principle and the Eco-system Management Approaches: in accordance with the Jeddah Action Plan (1982) which “sets forth a framework for an environmentally sound and comprehensive approach to coastal area development” and the Convention on Biological Diversity - Program of Work on Marine and Coastal Biological Diversity, ecosystem and precautionary approaches have a central role in guiding all activities undertaken as part of PERSGA’s Operational Framework, and thus provide the foundation for its implementation. The success of any program of work depends on scientific research and an understanding of how the broader ecosystem functions, especially in terms of its component parts and their connectivity. There is a need to move away from environmental protection narrowly-focused on particular habitats or species, which does not take into account the interconnectedness of all the systems, cycles, processes, and complex life needs that make the marine world the biodiversity powerhouse that it is. 

Good governance and public participation: PERSGA aligns its activities with the broader objectives of the UN- Millennium Declaration that cover other important dimensions of human development, most importantly good governance and public participation. Reaching the MDGs requires new commitments by PERSGA Member States to good governance and participatory management processes. The strength of governance rests on how participatory, transparent and accountable it is, as well as how effective it is in making the best use of resources and its extent of equitability. The type and extent of participation in conservation depends on local circumstances and site-specific issues, such as traditional rights to land, resources, and management; how well indigenous/local community customs, practices and understanding of the marine environment parallel with national laws; the available mechanisms and governance approaches to environmental protection; the degree of stakeholder interest in the area; and the type and degree of development and industry around coastal areas.

On-the-ground activities: PERSGA ensures the plans and policies produced under the SAP Phase 1 are translated into concrete actions; when taken together, the paper-to-performance process offers a model of effective implementation and good governance. As capacity building at all levels is fundamental to the creation of strong programs, PERSGA conducts extensive training and skill-building workshops on a variety of themes and needs, engages in educational outreach and awareness building, and works to strengthen the institutional base of both PERSGA and its Member States.

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