Much of the conservation effort in Egypt has focused on the establishment of a network of protected areas in order to protect the best known sites. So far, 21 protected areas have been declared in Egypt with a land area of 78,000 km2 or some 8% of the total area of the country. The Government of Egypt has a stated objective to protect 15% of the land area.
Egypt has two designated Ramsar wetland sites. Lake Bardawil which is two interconnected hypersaline lagoons consisting of islands and peninsulas. The site provides important spawning area for fish, supports commercially important fish populations, and is an important wintering and staging area for about 500,000 birds. Lake Burullus is a shallow, saline lagoon containing numerous islands and islets connected to the sea by a narrow channel. The area provides important wintering, staging and breeding habitat for birds.
In common with many countries in Africa, Egypt has a number of environmental issues: agricultural land being lost to urbanisation and windblown sands; increasing soil salination below Aswan High Dam; desertification; oil pollution threatening coral reefs, beaches, and marine habitats; other water pollution from agricultural pesticides, raw sewage, and industrial effluents; very limited natural fresh water resources away from the Nile which is the only perennial water source; rapid growth in population overstraining the Nile and natural resources. Many of these issues as well as sports and food hunting have a direct impact on Egypt's Important Bird Areas.
Egypt is party to a number of International conventions including Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands. The Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol has been signed but not yet ratified.
In summer 1994, two ornithological surveys were undertaken of some of the islands north of Hurghada, at the Gulf of Suez mouth in the Egyptian Red Sea. Their primary objective was to ascertain the number and species of breeding seabirds.