Tales of water, West Asia
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Shaping a sustainable future in West Asia

Few regions are as diverse and fascinating as West Asia, the convergence point of Mediterranean, Persian and Arabic civilizations. Spanning Mediterranean forests, deserts, mountains, mangroves and coral reefs, this region has it all ecologically but is undergoing some profound environmental changes.
Yet it is the political and social upheaval that is now grabbing global attention - the wave of democracy sweeping across the Middle East and North Africa marks a new era for civil society.

> Read more
> Read Dr Odeh Al-Jayyousi's article about green activism in Jordan
IUCN expert Odeh El-Jayyousi

Al Hima: reviving traditional knowledge in West Asia

Al Hima workshop in Lebanon

The pre-Islamic system of environmental protection known as ‘hima’—Arabic for protected area—means that the local population decides how to manage ecosystems and how to reap their benefits.

> Read more

IUCN in West Asia

Julia Marton-Lefèvre

IUCN's Director General describes the West Asia region and some of the environmental challenges it faces as well as IUCN's efforts to tackle them.

> Watch interview

Bird diplomacy in action for Syria’s last remaining ibises

Northern Bald Ibises at their wintering grounds on the Ethiopian highlands in November 2011

Formerly thought to be extinct in the wild in the Middle East, the Critically Endangered Northern Bald Ibis was rediscovered on a remote cliff of the Syrian Palmyra desert in April 2002. IUCN is involved in saving this enigmatic species.

> Read full story

Restoring the Zarqa River in Jordan

Zarqa River

For decades, the Zarqa River in Jordan has been increasingly over-exploited and polluted. IUCN, in close cooperation with one of its Members, the Jordanian Ministry of Environment, is working to reverse this trend, coming to the rescue of the river basin itself and the people that need it to survive.

> Read full story

Waqf for Water

Waqf for Water

This film introduces the idea of Waqf fund, which helps solve water problems in the Middle East region

> Watch video

A bird’s eye view of conservation

Khaldoun Al Omari working in the field

Khaldoun Al Omari works within IUCN’s Protected Areas Programme in West Asia. He makes sure that IUCN’s work in this field has the highest standards possible and benefits both nature conservation and the lives of people that directly depend on it.

> Read full story

The power of dialogue

Working with local communities to find solutions to environmental challenges

Fidaa Haddad’s job is to make sure that local communities in West Asia, especially women, have a say in how their natural resources are managed.

> Read full story

Test your knowledge

An old man in the Jiddat Al Harasis desert, Oman How much do you know about the people and environment of West Asia? Find out by having a go at our quiz then challenge your friends! And if you are not on Facebook, use our website version.
> IUCN Facebook Quiz
> Website version


Wonderful West Asia

Iran Discover the amazing diversity of the region with our Flickr photo gallery.
> Photo gallery


Facts and figures

Illegal irrigation in the Zarqa River in Jordan Water use per capita in Jordan is among the lowest in the world.
> More West Asia facts.



Check here for selected publications about conservation in West Asia , or search our catalogue.
> Selected Publications
> Search catalogue


Tunas in Trouble

Thunnus obesus or Bigeye tuna. For the first time, all species of scombrids (tunas, bonitos, mackerels and Spanish mackerels) and billfishes (swordfish and marlins) have been assessed for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™.The situation is particularly serious for tunas.
> Read full story


Social networking

Facebook and Twitter Stay informed with our Facebook and Twitter channels.
> IUCN on Twitter
> IUCN on Facebook


IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature © 2011

IUCN helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges. It supports scientific research, manages field projects all over the world and brings governments, non-government organizations, United Nations agencies, companies and local communities together to develop and implement policy, laws and best practice.

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Photo credits: Header banner © Taco Anema, Tales of Water ; Odeh Al-Jayyousi © IUCN WAME; Bird diplomacy © G.Serra; Al Hima © IUCN WAME; Restoring the river © Dana Khrais; A bird's eye view © Khaldoun Al Omari ; the power of dialogue © Fidaa Hadadd; quiz © Jim Thorsell ; photo gallery © Alireza Bolhari; Facts and figures © Borjana Pervan; Tunas © University of the Azores.