Environmental governance is a critical element of the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and the Trade and Investment Framework Agreements (TIFA) between the United States and key Middle Eastern countries. In 2011, EPA completed a 4-year project with the US Department of State focused on environmental governance and capacity building for the Middle East under the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI).
As part of the MEPI project, EPA conducted trainings, a pilot project in Morocco with the textile industry, developed a Public Participation Guide for the Middle East region, and helped advance the development of ecotourism and environmental conservation programs in the Daymaniyat Islands in Oman. These programs helped to further environmental governance in the Middle East.
Selected activities are detailed below.
EPA trained over 230 people from throughout the region in 12 regional training courses, covering all aspects of environment issues. Course topics included:
- Principles of Environmental Law and Enforcement
- Pollution Prevention and Cleaner Production (2 regional courses)
- Environmental Impact Assessment (2 courses)
- Environmental Compliance Inspection Courses
- Workshop on Marine Vessel Pollution in the Arabian Gulf
- Workshop on the Role of Public Participation and the Role of Science in the Development of Environmental Laws and Standards (2 courses)
- Institutional Strengthening and Organizational Development
- Principles of Hazardous Waste Management (2 courses)
To improve environmental performance in the textile sector in Morocco, EPA developed and implemented a project to develop:
- clear and enforceable standards and norms,
- systems to monitor and analyze ambient and discharge data;
- systems to encourage compliance with applicable requirements;
- inspections, permitting and notification of non-compliance; and
- an appropriate process for adjudicating violations.
The project resulted in the development of a wastewater discharge standard for the textile section; manuals for permit writers and inspectors; a brochure on pollution prevention in the textile industry; and a variety of training programs. The pollution prevention program led directly to reductions in water consumption, energy use, and pollution in key textile facilities in Morocco.
Following the success of this project in the textile sector, these efforts will be replicated in other sectors in Morocco.
EPA’s coastal management project in Oman has helped advance the development of ecotourism and environmental conservation programs in the Daymaniyat Islands in Oman.
As part of this project, The Environment Society of Oman (ESO) collected baseline data to inform continued monitoring and research, and then designed studies to assess the changing status of fisheries, turtles and large predatory fish, such as sharks. ESO provided this information to support ecotourism planning proposed for the central island of the Reserve, Jebel Kabir.
ESO also provided training and awareness education for government rangers and staff to help them become aware of environmental impacts and ecotourism opportunities. Stakeholders in Oman are now refining an ecotourism-based management plan, to be incorporated into management plans for the Reserve.
The Daymaniyats Island project serves as a case study for national Nature Reserve management planning. The project is continuing beyond EPA involvement, with leveraged funds.
- More information on Free Trade Agreements and Trade & Investment Framework Agreements
- Middle East Ministries and Other Resources
Back to: EPA's Programs in the Middle East
For additional information on EPA's work in the Middle East, contact:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of International and Tribal Affairs (2650R)
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20460