The Regional Organization for the Protection of the Marine Environment (ROPME) has been initially established in 1979 as a result of the Article XVI of the Kuwait Regional Convention for Cooperation on the Protection of the Marine Environment from Pollution which agreed to be signed by the eight Member States after the Regional Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Areas in Kuwait during 15-23 April 1978.
The conference has adopted also the Kuwait Action Plan for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Areas, and the Protocol concerning Regional Co-operation in Combating Pollution by Oil and Other Harmful Substances (in cases of emergency).
The ROPME was especially established in early 1979 to implement the Kuwait Action Plan, as well as, the Kuwait Regional Convention and its Protocols. Subsequently, a UNEP Interim Secretariat administered the programmes and activities of the Organization until the ROPME Secretariat has been formally established in Kuwait on 1 January 1982.
ROPME is comprised of three administrative organs (the Council, the Secretariat and the Judicial Commission), scientific bodies (Remote Sensing Unit, RIIS, MEMAC) and legal instruments (Protocols and Guidelines).
The main objective of ROPME is to coordinate efforts of the eight Member States towards protection the marine and coastal environment and ecosystems in the ROPME Sea Area against marine pollution and stressors that might be induced from developmental activities or / and other drivers of change.
Tuning with this role, ROPME is entrusted to unify the exerted efforts of the Member States towards protection of the marine environment and combating marine pollution and environmental degradation. Other functions of ROPME as defined by Article XVIII of the Kuwait Convention include:
- convene and to prepare the meetings of the Council and its subsidiary bodies and ad hoc working groups as referred to in Article XVII;
- transmit to the Contracting States notifications, reports and other information;
- consider enquiries by, and information from, the Contracting States and to deliberate with them on questions relating to the Convention and its Protocols;
- prepare reports on matters relating to the Convention and to the administration of the Organization;
- prepare, maintain and distribute an up-to-date collection of national laws of all States concerned relevant to the protection of the marine environment;
- arrange, upon request, for the provision of technical assistance and advice for drafting appropriate national legislation for effective implementation of the Convention and its Protocols;
- arrange for training programmes in areas relating to the implementation of the Convention and its Protocols.
- perform such other functions as may be entrusted to it by the Council for the implementation of the Convention and its Protocols.