Sustainable Development Success Stories

Planning and Development of Strategic Action Programme for the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden

Location  The Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden (Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Jordan, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Arab States).
Responsible Organisation

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Regional Organization for the Conservation of the Environment of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden (PERSGA).


The enclosed Red Sea is facing increasing problems due to the destabilization of dunes as a result of shipping activities, coastal development, and grazing and harvesting for fuel and building material in mangrove areas. Additional problematic factors include the rapid increase of tourism in the northern part of the region, and the lack of stock assessments and management in fishing. Certain fish stocks (e.g. sharks) are known to be highly over-fished, yet no agreements exist on exploitation of common stocks, and law enforcement and surveillance is poor.

This project, one of several projects implemented under the Strategic Initiative for Ocean and Coastal Management, enables the analysis of major threats to the coastal and marine environments of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden region, with the richest concentration of marine biodiversity in the world, and the identification of actions needed to address them. To guarantee a fair and uniform coordination as well as sustainability of the programme, the project was implemented by the regional organization (PERSGA).

The problems related to environment and natural resources management were identified in each country during the first phase of the project. This was done as desk studies in the more developed countries and country field surveys in the less developed countries where there were gaps in information. To facilitate the implementation of public awareness projects, NGOs are involved in planning and implementation. Furthermore, several of the projects are community-based, i.e., planned together with, and implemented by, local organizations and agencies at the community level.

Issues Addressed Ocean and coastal management, Sustainable Funding Mechanisms.
Results Achieved

Coastal/marine surveys were fielded in four countries in the southern Red Sea. Draft Country Reports have been produced for 7 countries involved. Two Task Force meetings & a draft session were held.

Self-financing solutions/projects were important elements, which helped to facilitate the implementation of the Strategic Action Plan (SAP). There is potential for tourism development in the Region. Eco-tourism is expected to generate part of the financial resources needed for the management of marine protected areas. Fishing will also be easier to manage once surveillance and enforcement is in place.

Lessons Learned The development of the SAP has primarily been a regional activity, although many of the activities of the programme will be country-based. This is mainly due to the wide difference in social, political and economic systems among countries in the region. In the countries surrounding the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, a regional organization such as PERSGA is met with greater respect than most international agencies and organizations. This is an important aspect when it comes to implementation of the programme.

PERSGA Coordinator or SAP Chief Technical Advisor
Regional Organization for the Conservation of the Environment
Of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden (PERSGA)
P.O. Box 1358, Jeddah 21431
Saudi Arabia
Tel. (+966) 2 6514472