Egypt’s Minister of Environment Yasmine Fouad has highlighted the need to preserve marine life and coral reefs in the country’s Red Sea region.
The minister’s remarks came as she participated, on Monday, in the 19th session of the Regional Organisation for the Conservation of the Environment of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden (PERSGA), chaired by Djibouti.
The meeting aimed to discuss a number of issues related to protecting the environment in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. This is alongside preserving and developing resources, and approving the PERSGA’s work plan and budget for the years 2021 and 2022.
During her speech, Fouad stressed the importance of strengthening joint cooperation at the regional Arab level to preserve the environment and biodiversity.
The minister noted Egypt’s readiness to participate in the member states’ awareness campaign to preserve the marine environment in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.
The campaign is considered a continuation of the organisation’s efforts to raise environmental awareness for all groups, especially youth and children. It also calls for the participation of the private sector and civil society in this campaign.
Fouad referred to Saudi Arabia’s efforts during the previous session, which worked on three main topics, namely: adapting to the effects of climate change on the marine environment; managing ecosystems and how to follow up on oil pollution events; and raising awareness and training.
The minister added that Egypt has clearly benefited from these efforts especially the training related to combating oil pollution. These exercises, which took place with the participation of the private sector, contributed to stopping the oil pollution in the Gulf of Suez resulting from 12 companies.
She pointed out that the organisation supported Egypt in assessing the current situation of coral reefs in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, as well as the impacts of climate change on coastal areas.
According to Fouad, the organisation has a major role in contributing to reducing pollution resulting from the use of plastic and its damage to the marine environment. It has launched the first campaign to preserve the marine environment to clarify the dangers and harms of using plastic on the marine environment.
Fouad presented a proposal to the members regarding the need to focus efforts on the issue of climate change and its effects on the marine environment. Studies indicate that coral reefs in the Red Sea region were affected by the effects of climate change, which necessitates setting strict measures to preserve those reefs.
PERSGA is an intergovernmental body, including Egypt, Djibouti, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. The body is dedicated to the conservation of the coastal and marine environments found in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aqaba, Gulf of Suez, Suez Canal, and Gulf of Aden surrounding the Socotra Archipelago and nearby waters.
The organisation aims to improve the sustainable management and use of the RSGA’s coastal and marine resources. Sustainable management and use will be reflected in reduced threats to the environment, improved livelihoods of participating coastal communities and improved institutional, legal and financial arrangements.