The coastal zones of West Asia are under various degrees of stress as
a result of major demographic shifts from rural to coastal urban areas,
intense urbanization of coastal zones and dumping of untreated waste.
Furthermore, regional wars and internal conflicts have introduced new
dimensions to the region's environmental problems and have stressed both
financial and natural resources.
Actions at national and regional levels, the latter through the Regional
Organization for the Conservation of the Marine Environment of the Red
Sea and Gulf of Aden (PERSGA countries) and the countries of the Regional
Organization for the Protection of the Marine Environment (ROPME countries,
under the UNEP Regional Seas Programme's Kuwait Action Plan) focus on
the key environmental issues that have emerged in the region: physical
alterations, overexploitation of marine resources and marine pollution
(UNEP and PERSGA 1997, UNEP 1999, UNEP MAP 1996).