These coastal and marine resources are threatened by pollution, habitat destruction and the introduction of invasive alien species. Unplanned coastal and industrial development, tourism and tanker oil spills are of growing concern. The disposal of brine from desalination plants – and its potential impact on the region’s fisheries - is another concern in the Arabian Peninsula.
As a result of this expressed need, the establishment of a specific IUCN ROWA thematic programme on Marine issues was identified by members and secretariat in the ROWA Intercessional Plan 2005-08 with an emphasis on the assessment and impact studies of marine ecosystems and the promotion of regional collaboration and multi-stakeholder dialogue.
Therefore IUCN ROWA in cooperation with the IUCN Global Marine Programme and IUCN Center for Mediterranean Cooperation has taken the step to establish a Marin Programme in November 2007, which is operating from Jeddah – Saudi Arabia. IUCN State Member in Saudi Arabia; The Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (PME), is graciously hosting the Marine Programme office.
The Marine Programme will focus on consolidating assessments on West Asia status-quo with regard to marine coastal zone ecosystem management, establishing a functioning network in marine and coastal management at the regional level and addressing the threats of global climate change to marine ecosystems of the Red Sea.