The international trend of marine science nowadays is directed towards the marine environment, focusing on the environmental changes witnessed globally and within the Arabian Gulf in particular.
Aiming at shedding light on different problems that affect the water quality in Shatt Al-Arab River, which flows into the Arabian Gulf and the only gate from Iraq to the marine world, and working with participating governmental jurisdictions and global institutions to study appropriate solutions and strategic implementation, the Marine Science Centre/ University of Basrah hold Basrah Marine Science Conference under the patronage of his Excellency Dr. Hussain Al-Shahristani, the Iraqi Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, on April 6th – 7th 2015.
Water quality of Shatt Al-Arab is challenged by different challenges including, but not limited to:
- Accumulation of thousands of tons of sediment at Shatt Al-Arab outlet.
- Reduced water discharge volumes within Shatt Al-Arab contributing to negative impacts on the environment.
- Increased concentrations of pollutants contributing to sediment quality deterioration and altered fluxes.
In addition to that, the physiographic nature of Shatt Al-Arab River, Khor Al-Zubair, and the North-West part of the Arabian Gulf form grave obstacles for the development of Iraqi ports and marine transportation. These challenges, and others, call for special attention for strategic implementation of management programs and practical plans, programs and projects to identify sustainable solutions for the regional marine environment.
During the conference, different topics were discussed under four thematic areas: Scientific Collaboration, Strategic Planning, Capacity Building, and Marine Resources.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature – Regional Office for West Asia (IUCN ROWA) was part of this conference, where Mr. Fadi Shraideh, ROWA Regional Director, highlighted the role of IUCN in protecting biodiversity in West Asia focusing on the challenges that face the region and the future vision for better conservation.
The management of important marine habitats and species in Lebanon was highlighted as a case study that represents IUCN ROWA’s role in supporting countries in marine biodiversity management.
Important recommendations were came out as a step forward finding appropriate solutions and better implementation, including but not limited to, strengthen the international collaboration with international NGOs and institutions, focus on studying the climate change impacts on water resources, building capacities and exchange experiences between participants, and establish a comprehensive approach for the management of Shatt Al-Arab River.
For more information, kindly contact:
Protected Areas, Biodiversity & World Heritage Programme Manager, Hany El Shaer at: