West Asia

West Asia is part of three eco-regions that incorporate a variety of ecosystems, all of which provide a wide array of services and ecological corridors for migratory species through the region.

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About West Asia: a variety of ecosystems

The IUCN Regional Office for West Asia (ROWA) was established in October 2004 covering the region of West Asia, which comprises of 13 countries including Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, the Syrian Arab Republic, Yemen and Iran in addition to the Gulf countries including Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

ROWA aims to be active in all 13 countries in various conservation and sustainable development activities. The critical issues facing the region are:

  • Land degradation, aridity and desertification
  • Unsustainable water extraction and use
  • Biodiversity and habitat loss, and species extinction.
  • Threats to sensitive marine ecosystems through pollution, habitat destruction, Invasive Alien Species, and unplanned coastal development.

79 Members


IUCN ROWA is only as strong as the undivided power of its Members. We are proud that over the past 10 years we have seen a substantial growth in the number of Members in the region. 

Our Mission


Secure Living in a Just and Healthy Environment. To work supportively, and in collaboration with our members and partners, including NGOs and governments, to achieve a new paradigm for sustainable development based on the concept of people centred development.

Our Vision

  • Understand, respect and improve the environment in its widest sense
  • Support and secure the abundance and diversity of nature
  • Ensure that people have secure rights and equitable access to natural resources
  • Understand the interdependence of poverty and the environment protection
  • Recognize the importance of sustainable natural resource use in meeting people's aspirations

Our Mandate 

  • Serving as a bridge between the national and regional/global levels, particularly in relation to regional environmental agreements and global environmental conventions
  • Involving both governments and civil society, notably by using the Union's gathering power to organize multi-stakeholder forums
  • Facilitating communication, coordination, and information exchange among different actors in the region, through the establishment of specialist networks and other mechanisms
  • Providing a neutral platform for multi-stakeholder dialogue on contentious environmental and developmental issues
  • Promoting the testing, refinement, and adoption of new tools and approaches to key conservation issues
  • Synthesizing information about previous and ongoing conservation and development initiatives, in order to assess their effectiveness and impact, identify lessons learned, and reveal gaps and future priorities

Our Work in West Asia

IUCN ROWA has taken a pragmatic direction to focus on the major priorities that draw all of the region's countries together.

According to this idea, the following programmes have been developed: The Drylands, Livelihoods & Gender Program, The Water & Climate Change Program, The Protected Areas & Biodiversity Program and finally The Marine & Coastal Management Zone Program.


Through this thematic method, IUCN ROWA will unite strengths of IUCN components to share knowledge in order to develop new models for conservation and sustainable management of natural resources. 
The thematic programmes' approach aims at using IUCN's considerable resources and long experience in terms of knowledge network, including a wealth of research and a wide range of expertise from governmental as well as non-governmental organizations, research institutions and universities.

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Meet our members and partners in the region

IUCN particular approach is based on a wide range of expertise. We provide technical solutions in the field of environment. Our network is based on the combination between scientific experts and civil society actors. Through its international influence, the union can promote the commitment of Non Governmental Organizations for environment conservation. 

Environment protection will progress with multi-stakeholders dialogue. IUCN ROWA is a key actor in this function gathering both states and fields actors with relevant international experts. Our network also integrates donators such as foreign cooperation agency and private sector.


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