Towards New Partnerships in Water Management

Market-exchange economy and territory-bound nation state were not designed to accommodate a communication revolution that can envelop the globe and connect everyone and everything on the planet simultaneously. The result is that we are witnessing the birth of a new economic system and new governing institutions that are as different from market capitalism and the modern territorial state as the latter were from the feudal economy and dynastic rule of an era ago. Markets, in effect, are linear, discrete and discontinuous modes of operation. The new communications technologies and partnerships, by contrast, are cybernetic, not linear. The operational assumptions that … Continue reading

Medina 2.0: Cities’ Power to Shape a Greener Future

The current rate of urbanization is one of the global megatrends, which will manifest itself in many of the challenges faced in the upcoming decades. UN reports estimate that nearly 70% of the world’s population will be urban by 2050. The way in which cities deal with this rapid rate of urbanization will determine whether international objectives such as Sustainable Development Goal 11, aimed at making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable, will be achieved. Urbanization has further impacts on many more of the goals defined in the UN 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development. Achieving these goals … Continue reading

Environmental Outlook for the Arab Region

The overall environmental outlook in the Arab region is bleak, despite progress on some fronts, according to the latest report of the Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED). Entitled Arab Environment in 10 Years, the report crowns a decade of annual reports on the state of the environment in the Arab world. The AFED reports have become major references for highlighting progress, identifying problems facing the Arab world, and recommending alternative solutions.  Key Issues at Stake Having an environmental organization focused solely on the Middle East is essential when considering the characteristics specific to the region. As outlined in … Continue reading

Renewable Energy in the Middle East

The Middle East energy sector has played and will continue to play an important role in the regional as well as global economy. The oil and gas sector is the largest economic sector in the region. In addition to satisfying energy needs for economic and social development, it is the source of oil and gas export revenues contributing to economic development. Regional countries are heavily dependent on oil and gas to meet their domestic energy demand. Oil contributes more than half of the total energy demand in the Middle East while the rest is contributed by natural gas. Widespread use … Continue reading

Sustainable Development in Jordan: Perspectives

During the last few decades, sustainable development emerged as a hot topic in many reform agendas and strategic management plans in Jordan. The picture is not always optimistic where poverty, climate change and wars to name but a few of the continuous burdens, yet, some results have been successfully reaped. In this article, I will provide a reflection on the sustainable development journey in Jordan. Firstly, what the country achieved from the year 2000 to 2015 and secondly, what challenges the country has to counter from the year 2015 to 2030. Millennium Development Goals – Year 2000 to 2015 Jordan … Continue reading

Qatar’s Fight Against Climate Change

Qatar's environmental records have always been in news, of course for the negative ones, but it has always strived to work towards reduction of GHGs emissions. Qatar is already doing plenty to help poor countries with financing and it seems unfair to focus on per capita emissions for a country with estimated population of 2.27 million making it the 143th most populous country on earth. (For climate talks, that is heresy). This may sound harsh, especially since Qatar's contribution to global warming is tiny compared with the United States, China or India. In recent years, Qatar is making itself a benchmark … Continue reading

#InspireMENA Story 1: Humanizing Architecture – Through the Eyes of Abeer Seikaly

Through the jasmine-scented roads of L’weibdeh (Jordan) I navigated my way to Abeer Seikaly’s studio, an old house that resembles Jordan's genuine and inspiring identity. Abeer Seikaly is a young Jordanian architect who has been featured on several global and local media platforms because of her innovation "Weaving a Home" that was shortlisted for the 2012 Lexus Design Award. Influence of Education and Local Knowledge Top architecture schools in the Arab world are heavily influenced by international trends in built environment and sustainability, and unfortunately Arabic reference material is largely ignored in teaching. The emerging thinking around built environment and its relationship … Continue reading

CDM Enhancing Africa’s Profile Among Investors

The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is an extremely simple concept. Companies in developed economies can continue with their polluting ways so long as they pay for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions elsewhere in the world. Substitute Egypt, Libya, Sudan, Zimbabwe and a string of other African countries for 'elsewhere'. CDM may not figure highly on the financial radar screens of many entrepreneurs and business people across the globe. They're probably much more exercised over the merits or otherwise of business banking services, But maybe they should be looking at CDM, not least because entrepreneurial activity and green make interesting bedfellows these days. … Continue reading

Green Finance in Middle East

Green finance is among the most important enablers that would boost innovation and increase the adoption of green solutions and practices across different industrial sectors. Green finance, which has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, provides public well-being and social equity while reducing environmental risks and improving ecological integrity. Middle East is making good progress towards green growth and low-carbon economy. “The latest regional trends highlight the need for green financing mechanisms to support transition to green economy”, said Ruba Al-Zu’bi, CEO of EDAMA. “While green may be the obvious feasible and sustainable approach, access to finance makes it … Continue reading

Key Questions about COP21 Climate Agreement

The headlines from the CO21 Climate Summit tell an inspiring story. Agence France-Presse reported an outbreak of “euphoria” as the international climate accord was sealed. Reuters hailed a global “turn from fossil fuels.” The Guardian headlined “a major leap for mankind.” As the euphoria of delegates at the UN climate talks in Paris fades, it is time to get down to the business of saving the planet and ask what it means for me. This time, they were. They managed to seal a pact that sets a surprisingly ambitious target for limiting global warming, reflects the vast differences between countries … Continue reading

Green Finance: Powering Sustainable Tomorrow

Green finance provides linkage between the financial industry, protection of the environment and economic growth. Simply speaking, green finance refers to use of financial products and services, such as loans, insurance, stocks, private equity and bonds in green (or eco-friendly) projects. Green finance, which has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, provides public well-being and social equity while reducing environmental risks and improving ecological integrity. For example, global interest in green energy finance is increasing at a rapid pace – in 2015, investments in green energy reached an all-time high figure of US$ 348.5 billion, which underscores the significance … Continue reading

CSP-Powered Desalination Prospects in MENA

Conventional large-scale desalination is cost-prohibitive and energy-intensive, and not viable for poor countries in the MENA region due to increasing costs of fossil fuels. In addition, the environmental impacts of desalination are considered critical on account of GHG emissions from energy consumption and discharge of brine into the sea. The negative effects of desalination can be minimized, to some extent, by using renewable energy to power the plants. What is Concentrated Solar Power The core element of Concentrated Solar Power Plant is a field of large mirrors reflecting captured rays of sun to a small receiver element, thus concentrating the … Continue reading

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