West Asia is one of the most arid regions in the world and will be hard hit by climate change. Water shortages and a scarcity of arable land are already major challenges. Combined with political instability and conflict, this will have a severe impact on people’s security and livelihoods and on conservation efforts.

Through a rapidly growing population and pressure for development, West Asia has lost much of its biodiversity and its ecosystems are being continually degraded. With this decline comes a decline in the goods and services from nature on which millions of people depend.

As environmental challenges are intimately linked with poverty and security, IUCN believes they must be treated in a holistic way. By involving governments, civil society and research institutions, we’re working to coordinate environmental activities and improve the management of the region’s natural resources.

In the Zarqa River Basin of Jordan we’re working on restoring drylands and exploring new ways to secure income for rural communities, giving special attention to women and other vulnerable groups.

In Syria and Lebanon, we’re making sure that the benefits derived from natural resources are shared fairly, improving the quality and security of local people’s lives.

And in Oman, we’re strengthening the eco-tourism sector, promoting responsible tourism that respects the country’s natural environment, as well as the traditions and cultures of local communities.

We’re also raising environmental awareness in the region by promoting communication and information exchange among West Asia’s different sectors.

This month we highlight some of IUCN’s work in the region. Learn about our conservation projects, watch some informative videos, read about our scientists in action, browse our photo gallery and test your knowledge of West Asia by having a go at our quiz!