The Middle East lies at the juncture of Eurasia and Africa and of the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean. It is the birthplace and spiritual center of religions such as Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Manichaeism, Yezidi, Druze, Yarsan and Mandeanism, and in Iran, Mithraism, Zoroastrianism, Manicheanism, and the Bahá’í Faith. Throughout its history the Middle East has been a major center of world affairs; a strategically, economically, politically, culturally, and religiously sensitive area. There are 884 species of birds known to breed in the Middle East, which encompasses the states or territories of Turkey, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Israel, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Jordan, Egypt, Sudan, Libya, and the various states and territories of Arabia proper.
The Birdlife Middle East Partnership is active in nine countries: Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Syria, Bahrain, and Qatar. Future plans for expansion includes Yemen, Iran, Oman, UAE and Afghanistan where contacts and mutual cooperation opportunities are undergoing.
The secretariat and the Regional Partnership work to:
- Develop the Regional Partnership and Network and strengthen regional, cross regional and global communication
- Enhance the knowledge base on bird species and sites in the Middle East
- Strengthen the regional capacity to conserve birds and their habitats, and raise the profile of Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas
- Set conservation priorities and coordinated initiatives in the region
- Guide, support and monitor the development and implementation of the Middle East Regional program
- Facilitate the Regional contribution to the global program, and the cross-regional development of joint initiatives