Introducing PERSGA

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

PERSGA is an official regional organization based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, responsible for the development and implementation of regional programmes for the protection and conservation of the marine environment of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, and was formally established in September 1996, with the signing of the Cairo Declaration by all cooperating parties to the Jeddah Convention.

Major functions of PERSGA include the implementation of the Jeddah Convention, the Action Plan, and the Protocol. It has also been given responsibility for preparation and implementation of the SAP and related activities. PERSGA has played an active role in promoting regional cooperation and has recently supported regional workshops concerning environmental assessment (EA), Marine Protected Areas, navigation risks and living marine resources. In addition, a series of national workshops have been sponsored by PERSGA to facilitate the development and review of Country Reports prepared as part of the SAP process.

PERSGA can trace its origins back to the early 1970's. The Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization, ALECSO, with the assistance of UNESCO, convened a meeting in Bremerhaven, Germany in 1974 where initial ideas for interdisciplinary research were discussed. Subsequent meetings identified key regional concerns and proposed plans of activity which gave rise to the Programme for the Environment of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden known as 'PERSGA'. An interim secretariat was established in Cairo to implement this programme, under the auspices of ALECSO. The secretariat moved to Jeddah in 1980.

From 'Interim Secretariat' to 'Regional Organization'
One of the most significant achievements of PERSGA has been the development of new international laws. In February 1982 the plenipotentiaries of the governments in the region signed The Regional Convention for the Conservation of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden Environment (the Jeddah Convention) together with a Protocol Concerning Regional Co-operation in Combating Pollution by Oil and other Harmful Substances in Cases of Emergency. The main focus of the Convention concerns the prevention, reduction and fight against pollution. It also includes an Article directing the contracting parties to establish a regional organization to implement the agreement.

This regional organization was established in September 1995 under the umbrella of the Arab League. At the first Council Meeting in Egypt, the Cairo Declaration formally announced the creation of the Regional Organization for the Conservation of the Environment of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, which keeps the title 'PERSGA'.

Administration and funding
PERSGA is governed by a Council. This is composed of the Ministers in charge of the environment from each of the Member States. The Council meets annually to approve technical and financial policies. The daily affairs are managed by the PERSGA Secretariat, a small but dedicated team of professionals drawn from the countries of the region.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia hosts the PERSGA Secretariat in Jeddah and all of the Member States contribute to the budget.

Specific regional programmes are assisted with grants provided by international donors.

Contact PERSGA
For further information about PERSGA and the Strategic Action Programme, contact either Dr. Nizar Tawfiq (Secretary General) or Dr. Mohammed Fawzi (Deputy Secretary General). Questions about the SAP should be directed to either Dr. Fareed Krupp (Chief Technical Advisor) or to Dr. Dirar Nasr (PERSGA/SAP Coordinator).

PERSGA produces a quarterly newsletter called Al Sambouk. Interested parties should request that their names be added to our mailing list.

P.O. Box 53662
Jeddah 21583
Saudi Arabia
Tel.: 02-657-3224; 02-657-3228; 02-653-4563.
Fax: 02-651-4472.