Ras Mohammed Development Project
Egypt’s Protected Areas Self-Financing Project (EPASP), together with the Ministry of Environment and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have organized a workshop in Sharm El-Sheikh in December 2017 to discuss the development project that launched in Ras Mohamed Protected Area.
Secretary General of South Sinai Governorate Mahmoud Issa gives a keynote speech to commence the workshop in presence of Executive and Security Leaders of South Sinai, representatives of Official Authorities, members of the local and civil societies, members of the tourism sector, and South Sinai Chamber of Toursim.
EPASP Director Mahmoud Sarhan outlined the Ras Mohammed Protected Area Development Plan. Launching early December 2017, the project aims to develop the entrance of the park, and create a new gateway with a distinctive environmental design suitable for Ras Mohammed being the most important marine reserve in the world. The project will then design and install a set of information boards and directional guidelines that will provide interesting and useful information about Ras Mohamed’s habitats and natural resources. A variety of beaches will be developed and equipped with basic beach services such as umbrellas, environmentally friendly restrooms, visitors’ facilities, parking lot, as well as the main camping sites and the mangrove areas.
Construction designs were presented and discussed to ensure that the new developments cater to the needs of the community, visitors, and all users of the proteced area. A field visit to the park was also carried out after the workshop to discuss the project. The implementation of this project comes within the framework of the Ministry of Environment’s plan to develop Ras Mohammed in preparation for the Conference of Parties (COP14) for the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) Conference scheduled to be hosted in Sharm El-Sheikh in November 2018.
The Opening Ceremony – Wadi Degla & The Petrified Forest
The Ministry of Environment, together with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Global Environment Facility (GEF), Egypt’s Protected Areas Self-Financing Project (EPASP) have been working on establishing a development plan for both Wadi Degla and the Petrified Forest Protected Areas in Cairo, making them ready for the public.
Following the rigorous development interventions that started last April 2017, an opening ceremony was held today at the Petrified Forest and Wadi Degla in the presence of the Minister of Environment Dr. Khaled Fahmy, members of the parliament, UNDP representatives, Ministry of Foreign Affairs representatives, universities, governmental bodies, press, partners and collaborators, as well as nature lovers and the general public.
The Petrified Forest will be open to the public for the first time, marking the petrified trees areas (the Open-Air Museum), building a new walking trail, installing information panels, directional signs, information points, tents, camp sites, and seating areas. Building the right facilities was integral to ensure the inclusion of the persons with disabilities, along with advancing the park’s infrastructure and all visitors’ facilities (water stations, bathrooms, information centers, and administrative offices).
Parallel results have been achieved in Wadi Degla Protected Area with the installation of new information panels, border signs, creating a games area, installing signage for mountain biking lanes, local handicrafts market, a demonstration garden, park trails, and an expanded parking lot. This, along with improving equipping the administrative offices with the necessary supplies, and improving washrooms and toilet facilities.
In this demanding environment, EPASP supported by UNDP, executes the necessary interventions and underpins the Ministry’s plan to develop and conserve the Protected Areas in Egypt. The project is committed to raising awareness of the importance of biodiversity in protected areas, improving management and financial structures, supporting the local communities, and advancing the parks’ infrastructure.