Arab Millennium Ecosystem Sub-global Assessment

The Arab Region

Geographical coverage

Geographical scale of the assessment Set of sites
Country or countries covered Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco
Any other necessary information or explanation for identifying the location of the assessment, including site or region name

Three sites were selected to be the focal sites for the Arab Millennium Ecosystem Assessment: Sinai Peninsula, Egypt; Tafilalet Oasis in Morocco; and Assir National Park in Saudi Arabia.

Conceptual framework, methodology and scope

Assessment objectives

• To produce an integrated assessment of the Arab region, including three local assessments in different countries: the Sinai Egypt SGA, the Assir Saudi Arabia Assessment and the Tafilalt Morocco Assessment (with support from Saudi Government). • To meet the needs of and communicate the assessment information to decision-makers; • To build capacity to undertake integrated assessments of ecosystems of key partners; • To help develop and test methodologies for integrated multi-scale ecosystem assessments and methodologies for integrating local and “scientific” knowledge; • To promote widespread adoption of integrated assessment approaches in the region; • To build a framework for the collection, analysis, and synthesis of ecosystem-wide data for decision making at multi-level, including the local community; • To link and incorporate the outcomes into global assessments; and • To identify networks of actors and organizations playing critical roles in the sustainable management of ecosystems of those sites and to bridge gaps between science, technology, and sustainable development and define the existing resource base devoted to bridging these gaps.

Mandate for the assessment

The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) was called for by the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2000. Initiated in 2001, the objective of the MA was to assess the consequences of ecosystem change for human well-being and the scientific basis for action needed to enhance the conservation and sustainable use of those systems and their contribution to human well-being. The Arab Region Sub-global Assessment started in the latter stage of the MA as an associate assessment; as such, it was intended to go beyond the global MA.

Conceptual framework and/or methodology used for the assessment

Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA)

URL or copy of conceptual framework developed or adapted

System(s) assessed

  • Marine
  • Coastal
  • Forest and woodland
  • Cultivated/Agricultural land
  • Mountain
  • Dryland

Species groups assessed

Ecosystem services/functions assessed


  • Food
  • Water
  • Medicinal resources


  • Air quality
  • Climate regulation
  • Regulation of water flows
  • Regulation of water quality
  • Waste treatment
  • Erosion prevention

Supporting Services/Functions

  • Habitat maintenance
  • Soil formation and fertility
  • Primary production

Cultural Services

  • Recreation and tourism

Scope of assessment includes

Drivers of change in systems and services


Impacts of change in services on human well-being


Options for responding/interventions to the trends observed


Explicit consideration of the role of biodiversity in the systems and services covered by the assessment


Timing of the assessment

Year assessment started


Year assessment finished


If ongoing, year assessment is anticipated to finish

Periodicity of assessment

One off

Assessment outputs


Saudi Arabia Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, Summary for Decision-Makers:

Ecosystems and Human Well-Being, Egypt, Sinai:

Ecosystem Assessment of Tafilalt Oasis, Synthesis:


Communication materials (e.g. brochure, presentations, posters, audio-visual media)

Journal publications

Training materials

Other documents/outputs

Tools and processes

Tools and approaches used in the assessment

  • Geospatial analysis
  • Scenarios
  • Economic valuation
  • Response Options

Process used for stakeholder engagement in the assessment process and which component

Identification of stakeholder groups/interests, local consultations, interviews, questionnaires

Key stakeholder groups engaged

Local inhabitants, Bedouins, local government, district or governorate government, central government, NGOs

The number of people directly involved in the assessment process


Incorporation of scientific and other types of knowledge

  • Scientific information only

Supporting documentation for specific approaches, methodology or criteria developed and/or used to integrate knowledge systems into the assessment

Assessment reports peer reviewed



Accessibility of data used in assessment

Websites, reports, Summary for decision-makers, main report.

Policy impact

Impacts the assessment has had on policy and/or decision making, as evidenced through policy references and actions

Some local services were provided to local beneficiaries, for example drilling of wells for water provision, protection measures for palm trees and creeping of sands, education services

Independent or other review on policy impact of the assessment


Lessons learnt for future assessments from these reviews

• Engagement of those who are going to implement the assessment is necessary in the planning stage • Need for strong coordination • Need to develop an impact strategy to engage actors of change from the inception phase and keep their policy interest • Field visits are important

Capacity building

Capacity building needs identified during the assessment

• Strengthening productive capacities of individuals, agencies, and communities in the planning, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating of conservation programmes. The people of the assessment areas need to participate in protecting and sustainably managing their natural resources. They also need to share in the benefits of natural resources from their area. Moreover, they need education, health services, and training to be more productive. • Raising the environmental awareness of local society through integrating environmental themes into university and school curricula, promoting green media, and supporting youth clubs and eco-industry. • Reviving traditional knowledge, innovations, and techniques in conserving resources.

Actions taken by the assessment to build capacity

Network and sharing experiences, Sharing of data/repatriation of data, Workshops, Developing/promoting and providing access to support tools, Formal training, Communication and awareness raising

How have gaps in capacity been communicated to the different stakeholders

• Workshops • Visits and interaction with local communities, local government, and governorate • Summary for decision makers

Knowledge generation

Gaps in knowledge identified from the assessment

The most significant gap in knowledge identified from the assessment is related to lack of reliable and timely information. Another constraint is that existing data and information are not adequately managed due to a host of factors, including the lack of financial resources, trained workforce, awareness and availability of information, and/or institutional setup. Other constraints relating to the processes of environmental information collection, production, and dissemination are evident. Furthermore, monitoring organizations do not feed their results into a common information system, and there is no comprehensive methodology for data collection.

How gaps in knowledge have been communicated to the different stakeholders

Additional relevant information