Education for Sustainable Development: Key Challenges

education-for-sustainable-developmentThe basic aim of 'Education for Sustainable Development' is to nurture an individual who is capable to solve environmental challenges facing the world and to promote the formation of a sustainable society. The first challenge is to have an ethos in schools that openly and enthusiastically supports the development of ESD (Education for Sustainable Development). This is partly down to the curriculum the school follows, but is mainly as a result of the interest and effort shown by senior management in promoting integration and whole school engagement; a critical element being teacher training. It is also down to the expectations that are put upon schools by education authorities when it comes to ESD.

With trained and motivated teachers, it is far easier to inspire and motivate students. Teachers can often use the environment as a vehicle for teaching certain concepts in their own specific subject. Once teachers have decided that this is something they feel is worthwhile, they will increasingly find ways to do so.

Using environmental issues in student learning shows students the bigger picture, which can significantly improve motivation. By letting pupils know why the work they are completing is important, and showing them where it fits in on a local and global scale, you’re enabling them to see its value.

Another challenge is being able to bridge the gap between what happens at home and what is taught in schools. For example, if a child is learning about recycling at school, but parents are not open to supporting their learning by adopting recycling practices at home, then the child, especially at a young age, receives very conflicting messages.

Schools are busy places and there are increasing pressures on teachers within the workplace. These can create additional challenges such as gaps between awareness and understanding; motivation to and knowledge of how to become more sustainable; individual to collective empowerment; finding time; budget restraints; linking infrastructure change to mind set change and whole community engagement.

However, with a more directed focus and commitment towards ESD in schools, children generally need very little motivation to care for their environment. You just have to give them a voice and they are away! The problem often comes from adults not understanding the bigger picture about caring for the long term future of the planet.

Strategy for GCC Countries

When it comes to educating locals and expats in the GCC, it can be categorized into three parts:

The physical change: looking at how schools, households and businesses can reduce their waste, water and energy and focus on more sustainable resources in general.

The mind set change: this is all about raising environmental understanding, awareness and action programmes throughout the school and business communities through workshops, cross-curricular activities and presentations, so that everybody is on the 'same page', as well as giving students and employees a voice. This leads to a fundamental change in attitudes and the choices people make.

Learning to respect others and appreciate the environment, as well as giving back to society: this is focused around the opportunities to learn beyond the workplace and home, and connect back to nature, as well as help communities in need. In a nutshell, it about being more caring.

Partnerships and action orientated behaviour within all 3 parts are crucially important to their success. Environmental awareness in itself is not enough, simply because awareness without leading to meaningful action and behaviour change goes nowhere.

Using environmental issues in student learning shows children the bigger picture

Using environmental issues in student learning shows children the bigger picture

This approach can be illustrated in the Beyond COP21 Symposium series that I am currently running globally with the support of Eco-Schools. The event consists of themed high impact presentations from, and discussions with, guest speakers on the SDGs Agenda 2030 and climate negotiations in and beyond Paris; individual & community action; pledge- making and practical activities/workshops.

Local sustainable companies and organisations are invited to showcase their initiatives and engage with students from a variety of schools, both local and expat, in each city or region. Successfully run in Dubai twice and with an upcoming event in Jordan, the Middle East region has certainly embraced the partnership approach when it comes to supporting environmental education initiatives that benefit all those involved.

Role of Technology and Social Media

The greatest role it can play is through the spread of information and ideas, as well as the sharing of good practice within the GCC. Sometimes the hardest thing is to know where to start and how to become motivated, and certainly both can help. Also technology can help to source important resources for teachers. Bee’ah’s School of Environment, which I have been recently developing new online resources for, is a very good example of how well this can work.

Please visit my website http://www.target4green.com for more information about my organization and its activities.

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Islamic Perspectives on COP

It is a ripe time to reflect briefly on the upcoming COP from an Islamic perspective. By now everyone is well aware of the cause of severe climatic disturbances which affect us all and the poorest and most vulnerable in particular: sheer greed and unbridled, reckless, consumption.

Islam has always provided the keys to a harmonious life in which humans refuse to take more from nature than they need for their sustenance and enjoyment. Islam has repeatedly warned about the imbalances and inequalities that would arise if one were not to follow its recommendations.

God created the world in balance (mizan): habitats, ecosystems and all forms of life. A balance that only humans are capable of breaking, due to their capacity to corrupt the Earth (fasaad), as repeatedly mentioned in the Quran. So much so that man’s actions have led to the climate change we are witnessing in the form of chronic drought, devastating floods and all manner of extreme meteorological phenomenon.

Mankind as Viceregent

Man, as vice-regent, or God’s representative on Earth – “Lo I am about to put a vice-regent on Earth” (Quran, 2:30) – has the highest degree of responsibility, al-Amanah, with respect to the rest of Creation: his peers and other living and non-living things. Therefore, he is responsible for exercising justice on Earth. This concept of justice is firmly rooted in the Islamic tradition, although it is not always exercised:

“O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not personal inclination, lest you not be just.” (Quran, 4:135).

Islam considers mankind to be stewards of resources endowed by Allah

Islam considers mankind to be stewards of resources endowed by Allah

In this practice, environmental justice is vital, based on fair and equitable management of the natural resources that have been created and which are available to all without exception: animals, plants and people. It is necessary to create sustainable and lasting economic models, distinct from the current financial debauchery, which reaches all sectors of the population and all regions of the planet with equanimity.

Islam Loves Nature

Islam is the Green Civilization. A civilization which loves nature and which is conscious of its value and fragility. Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) set an example as to how to relate to the world, and consistently urged restraint in our dealings with nature. He was especially careful in the use of water, this resource which is so rare and scarce in certain regions of the planet. His zeal reached such a degree that he encouraged people to carry out their ablutions with as little water as possible, even if they were bathing by a river.

Prophet Muhammad (SAW) prohibited the killing of animals that were not intended for the table, and the felling or uprooting trees without just cause. He also called for frugality in eating, urging people not to consume more than necessary and what the body is able to assimilate, thereby preventing disease and the hoarding of food.

This brief overview invites us to become aware and to take individual and collective action, based on the most genuine Islamic principles, which are true for all mankind.

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Eco-Friendly Ways To Redecorate Your Home

When you are redecorating your home, it is important that you try to do it in an eco-friendly way. The world is changing, and more people need to be doing everything that they can to save the planet through their everyday life. If you want to play your part in saving the planet, you shouldn’t be wasting your old furniture and you should try to use less harmful paint and materials. We have put together some tips on how you can redecorate your home in an eco-friendly way. Make sure to keep reading if you’d like to find out more about this.

Thermal Curtains

Our first tip is to replace your curtains with thermal ones which can help to reduce the amount of energy that you use each month as they keep the heating in the room and thus keep your house warm in the winter season. You’ll find that there are plenty of thermal curtains available and you can get a lining that you can hang behind your current curtains if you like. You’ll love being able to use less energy every month while also having some nice new curtains hanging in your living room.

Don’t Get a New Kitchen

We know that it can be tempting to get an entirely new kitchen but if you want to redecorate your home in an eco-friendly way you should think about working on the smaller things. Instead of getting a new kitchen installed, you could replace your worktops with some laminate worktops for kitchens.

Alternatively, you could try to decorate your cupboards with some paint or decorations. Working on the smaller things like fixtures and fittings will be much more environmentally friendly than ripping your old kitchen out and replacing it.

Buy Real Wood Flooring

If you are thinking about replacing your current flooring, you should try to opt for real wood flooring. It is always a good idea to avoid buying carpet as this can be full of pollutants and chemicals which can cause problems for the environment.

You’ll also find that these chemicals will enter your home and remain there until it comes time to replace the carpet. If you want to redecorate your home in an eco-friendly way, you should avoid carpet and opt for real wood flooring.

Add Some Plants

If you are looking for a splash of colour in your home, then you should think about adding some plants. Not only is this an eco-friendly option but it can also make your home look amazing. When you have plants inside, you’ll find that they convert the carbon dioxide to oxygen. This makes your home a lot fresher and your air will be purified. Make sure to try this out if you want to add something new to your home.

Upcycle

Getting sick of your old furniture and thinking about replacing it? It’s time to upcycle some of your pieces in an attempt to redecorate in a more eco-friendly way. Upcycling is really easy, and you’ll find loads of advice online about how you can transform your old chair into something new.

The more furniture you are able to reuse the better because you won’t be wasting anything in the process. Make sure to consider upcycling instead of investing in new furniture and throwing your old pieces away.

Use Low-VOC Paint

Our final tip for those who want to redecorate their home in an eco-friendly way is to only use low-VOC paint. You’ll find that this type of paint contains less harmful ingredients that can affect your home and the environment.

Think about the number of toxic emissions that will be in your home if you choose one with a lot of volatile organic compounds. You’ll find that there are plenty of low-VOC options available for those who want to give their home a fresh coat of paint.

Final Verdict

If you are thinking about redecorating your home, you should try to do it in an eco-friendly way. Make sure to think carefully about whether you actually need to rip out your old kitchen or not and if you could be satisfied with updating some of the fixtures and fittings.

On top of this, you should aim to only use low-VOC paint which will release a lot less harmful toxins into your home and the environment around us. If you think that upcycling could work for you, you should try to repaint or reupholster some of your favourite old pieces of furniture. You’ll find that you love how they look when they are finished, and you’ll feel proud of your own accomplishment.

Make sure to take all of our advice on board if you want to redecorate your home in a more eco-friendly way. Get started and see what you can come up with.

Air Quality in Abu Dhabi: Perspectives

Sandstorm_MiddleEastThe air quality topic has taken relevance in the media lately, perhaps because 95% of the world’s population is breathing unhealthy air, or because in a year it can contribute to the deaths of more than 6 million people [1]. We are starting to realize that those beautiful sunsets which we enjoy across the Middle East are the result of pollutants and dust; and most likely each one of us know of someone with asthma or any other respiratory disease whose condition worsens under poor air quality.

Poor air quality is more common in the big and developed cities instead of impoverished rural areas far away, which is the case of other environmental pressing issues like limited access to water and energy. It is in these cities where you, the reader, is most likely to live in. The unique characteristics of each region influences its ability to disperse or aggravate the situation.

In the Middle East, the harsh natural conditions combined with increasing emission of pollutants are threats to maintain a clean air. Herein, a brief air quality outlook for Abu Dhabi is provided, presenting perspectives on the sources of emissions, current state, as well as some of the responses from the administration in terms of policies and measures.

Impact of poor air quality

Poor air refers to air entering your body not only carrying oxygen to energize your cells, but also pollutants. These pollutants can be miniscule particles of dust or harmful chemicals, the most common being sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, ozone, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds and hydrogen sulfide.

The effects on human health range from nauseating odors to heart and lung diseases, and even cancer, depending the vulnerability and exposure of the receiver [2]. This same poor air is metabolized by plants and animals, and some of the pollutants even end up being deposited in oceans, water bodies and soils through the rain.

Influencing factors

The accumulation of pollutants in the air is influenced by the capacity of the environment to disperse those pollutants, and the rate at which new pollutants are received by the atmosphere. Three factors have been determined to be the most influential for the air quality of an area: The terrain, the meteorology, and the emissions.

The first two are responsible for the wind, the rain, heating effects amongst other phenomena that creates atmospheric conditions of stability, influencing the mixing and dispersion of pollutants. However, as you may have inferred, there is very little that we can do to modify these.

The third factor, emissions, are divided into natural and anthropogenic origin. Natural emissions are the product of natural occurring events and are virtually inevitable, such as the dust from the desert. Anthropogenic emissions on the other hand result from man-linked activities such as combustion of fuel or industrial processes. As we are in control of these processes and can modify them, it is the focus of the air quality management efforts.

Situation in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi’s conditions are defined as arid, indicating very little precipitation and large barren areas. The combination of winds over desert raises dust and sand particles capable of travelling long distances. Therefore, the background levels of particulate material (PM) are significantly high in Abu Dhabi, especially after a dust event has occurred. These dust events are more common during the summer months due to stronger winds.

In addition, anthropogenic emissions have increased exponentially since the 60’s because of the rapid economic growth experienced by the emirate. The oil exports initiated a new age for Abu Dhabi; soon new industries had to be run, millions of expatriate workers arrived, magnificent development projects were envisioned, and with these, an increased demand for water, electricity, transportation and land use. Emissions from industrial activities, energy generation and transportation are the main pressure on the quality of the air in the emirate [3].

Air quality in Abu Dhabi

The air quality of a site is evaluated against standards defined by the national authority based on international guidelines or local studies. Standards are given in terms of maximum ambient concentration of a given pollutant at which not harmful effects on human’s health are expected. This is usually micrograms of a pollutant per cubic meter of air.

Abu Dhabi hosts a network of 20 monitoring stations constantly feeding real time information [4]. The results from such monitoring was summarized in the latest State of the Environment Report covering the period 2007 to 2015 [3].

Compliance with the UAE Standards and Trend analysis per pollutant in the Abu Dhabi Emirate [3]

Particulate matter [5] and ozone seem to be the pollutants of concern for the emirate; although the increasing trend of the other pollutants may indicate the need for additional measures of control before it reaches undesirable levels.

The PM results don’t come as a surprise, as it is not difficult for an Abu Dhabi inhabitant to perceive the dust, even in their homes with doors and windows closed. This dust originates mostly from sand from the desert surroundings, infrastructure development and construction activities, but also from combustion of fuels and transformation of other pollutants. I personally notice less dust on the environment during the weekends when the construction works are paused.

Ozone is not emitted directly by a source, but it is the result of the interactions between other pollutants, UV radiation, oxygen, etc. This complex process of formation difficult the task of identifying and managing precursor agents. Some suspected sources include oil and gas activities, petrol stations, fuel combustion during transportation and even vegetation.

It is also important to note that air quality conditions are perceived in a localized manner, rather than the same conditions across the whole emirate. As such, areas in proximity to industries, power plants, refineries, highways, construction sites, etc. are more likely to present poor air quality.

Arab region is among the worst performers in air quality

Also, the impacts on one’s health are consequent to other factors such as pre-existent health conditions or age. As an effort for managing the impacts, the Environment Agency has released an app with live air quality indicators geographically represented available to the public [6].

What is being done?

With a demand for resources increasing rapidly, the threat on clean air is unceasing. The authorities have recognized air pollution as the primary environmental threat to public health in the UAE [3,4]. The efforts from the administration include:

  • Strengthening the regulatory framework for air quality and monitoring compliance,
  • Maintenance and extension of the monitoring network,
  • Integrated efforts from all influential institutions and departments in Abu Dhabi and in the UAE for knowledge exchange and implementation of measurements for resource efficiency and public awareness,
  • Continuous reporting and warnings accessible to the public,
  • Active research for sources and pollutants identification,
  • Motivating for transitioning to cleaner and more efficient sources of energy,
  • Improving the quality of fuels used for transportation and promote lower emissions vehicles, among other measures.

The longer the wait for effective actions to be implemented, the more resources will be required to mitigate or contain the negative effects of pollution. The administration has embarked in the complex task of maintaining economic growth without compromising the environmental resources and is starting to turn into green growth strategies for such end.

Role of the Public

As citizens we also have a responsibility to play as those harmful pollutants result from creating resources to supply our needs. Citizens can help by reducing electricity and water consumption at home, use lower emissions vehicles, prefer local products or ensure appropriate waste disposal, to name a few.

If you or someone of your family is sensitive to air pollution, maintain informed about outdoor conditions and limit the exposure if required, limit the access of dust into your household and replace frequently the air filters in your ventilation system.

It is important to remember that air quality and climate change are strongly linked. Most of the activities that release pollutants also release greenhouse gases or aggravate the heating effect on the atmosphere. On the other hand, expected climate change effects in the Middle East include increased temperatures and reduced precipitation. Having less rain diminishes the natural cleaning of pollutants in the atmosphere, and higher temperatures increase the need of energy for cooling, which if supplied from fossil fuels, causes more emissions.

Conclusion

The harsh natural conditions of the region and a rapid increasing demand for resources are an unceasing threat for clean air. It can be said that the air in the emirate of Abu Dhabi is of good to moderate quality, with localized areas of attention, and being particulate matter and ozone the pollutants of concern. Attention is also required to other pollutants that although at safe levels, have shown an increasing trend in concentration during the past 10 years.

The goal of a clean air requires the combined efforts and commitment of the administrative institutions, the industrial sector, the research bodies and the citizens. It is necessary to turn the traditional development model into a green growth strategy capable of maintaining economic objectives without compromising the environmental resources and the welfare of the citizens of the region.

 References

[1] Health Effects Institute. 2018. State of Global Air 2018. Special Report. Boston, MA: Health Effects Institute.

[2] DEFRA. 2018. Air quality: explaining air pollution – at a glance. Available online at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/air-quality-explaining-air-pollution/air-quality-explaining-air-pollution-at-a-glance

[3] Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi. 2017. Abu Dhabi State of the Environment Report.

[4] Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi. 2016. Available at https://www.ead.ae/Pages/Green%20Business/air-quality.aspx

[5] Here reference is made to PM10, or particulates with a diameter smaller to 10 µm.

[6] Gulf News – Environment. 2018. Abu Dhabi launches live air-quality app. Available at https://gulfnews.com/news/uae/environment/abu-dhabi-launches-live-air-quality-app-1.2262492

Halobacterium – A Model of Life in the Dead Sea

Biodiversity is one of the Earth’s greatest treasures that spellbound biologists for centuries. It is widely agreed that biodiversity is essential to increase appreciation for the value of biodiversity, since the ecosystems services, through biodiversity, play a fundamental tile in maintaining and enhancing the well being of the world, it is well-known that human health, wealth, security and culture are affected by any changes in the ecosystem. Still, additional research is required to understand the relationship between the ecosystem and biodiversity.

Microorganisms can exist even in the most inhospitable habitats with extreme conditions. Despite their size, these unicellular organisms have a huge impact on different aspects of human life such as health, industry and agriculture. Furthermore, microorganisms play a vital role in biogeochemical cycling and ecosystem functioning; therefore, understanding their role in the environment will provide us with knowledge that can be applied towards preserving and sustaining our natural ecosystems.

Halobacterium – Native Flora of the Dead Sea

For the majority of mankind's history and from the anthropocentric view, the Dead Sea has been considered the model of an absolutely lifeless body of water. However, this concept was proven inaccurate with the discovery of halophylic Archaea, the native flora of the Dead Sea. An example of a well-adapted and widely distributed halophylic microorganism is Halobacterium sp [HS].HS exhibits a highly acidic cytoplasm saturated with potassium Chloride, with potassium acting as antifreeze to keep the cell metabolism functioning. With HS being able to withstand very high levels of salinity, they can be used to engineer a new type of crops.

HS serves as an excellent model system for the study of archaeal genetics. Halophiles have recently been targeted for their potential use in environmental and biotechnological applications. With few exceptions, little is known about the applications of extremophiles that can be a great source of novel commercial applications. Before HS proteins application becomes widespread, many key features of HS genes regulation need to be identified.

Promises and Challenges

The Dead Sea presents an interesting challenge to the biologists in term of the microbial ecology and understanding the biological processes. Microbes that live in the Dead Sea serve as an excellent example of the development of several unique biochemical and molecular mechanisms to adjusting to a hostile environment. Since little is known on the contribution of the different genera and species of halophilic Archaea to the community in the Dead Sea, it will be of a great significance if further holistic studies will be conducted to solve the major puzzle of the microbial population dynamics and explore the possible connection between HS to the other different communities of the Dead Sea.

Toxic organic compounds frequently contaminate industrially produced highly saline environment, therefore microorganisms that are able to degrade organic compounds under high saline conditions would be valuable for their ability to “clean” out these environments. Based on the fact that Haloarchaea possesses some degree of organic degrading capacity. Dong-Jin Ha et al suggest the usage of HS as a biological treatment tool for highly saline industrial waste effluents that contaminate the environment. Their study evaluated the usage of HS in order to degrade the IPA (isopropyl alcohol) that is used in a number of industries, including pharmaceuticals, textile production, and cosmetics. Their results indicate that the GAPDH isolated from HS may be valuable in industries involving IPA processing.

Furthermore, by blending the genes of Halophiles with crop genes, scientists will be able to engineer new crops that are able to grow in soils with higher than average salinity. This will allow, to some extent, the use of water with above average salinity to water the crops.

Further studies aiming to explore HS operon regulation and gene expression will generate new horizons for their application. There is a great advantage of understanding the molecular mechanisms of the HS regulatory systems, since it will make manipulating many proteins production an easy mission creating a new generation of novel and unknown value based products, as well as environmental and other possible utilities.

To conclude, the Dead Sea and its surrounding environment have been extremely degraded due to unsustainable anthropogenic activities. The significant strong ethical, cultural, environmental and economic benefits from conservation of the Dead Sea make it essential that the current economic practices taking place at the Dead Sea Basin be reconsidered.

 

About the Authors

Nura A. Abboud is an environmental activist and Founder of the Jordanian Society for Microbial Biodiversity (JMB), the only NGO in the Middle East concerning the microbial biodiversity. Nura specializes in molecular biology, biological sciences, microbial biodiversity, genetic fingerprinting and medical technologies. Her vision is to establish an eco-research center in the astonishing desert south of Jordan. She has received several scholarships and awards including honorary doctorate in Environmental leadership.

Amir Dakkak is in his third year at the University of Edinburgh majoring in Environmental Sciences. His main passion is water scarcity and water sustainability in the MENA region. He runs the blog Water Source that addresses water problems and sustainability. Amir has worked with Emirates Environmental Group on various environmental issues including water scarcity.

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Water-Energy-Food Nexus in Arab Countries

water-energy-foodAddressing water scarcity, both natural and human-induced, in the Arab region is considered one of the major and most critical challenges facing the Arab countries. This challenge is expected to grow with time due to many pressing driving forces, including population growth, food demand, unsettled and politicized shared water resources, climate change, and many others, forcing more countries into more expensive water sources, such as desalination, to augment their limited freshwater supplies. The heavy financial, economic, environmental, as well as social costs and burden to be borne cannot be overemphasized.

Furthermore, the water scarcity challenge in the Arab world is being compounded by its multiple nexuses with the various development sectors, such as water and human health, water and environment, water and food, water and energy, and many other interdependencies, which carry within them many cross-cutting issues of human rights, social, economic, legal, technical, political, and security nature.

It is important to address the various linkages of the water sector with other sectors like energy, food, health, and economic development as a whole and that professionals in all sectors should think and act beyond the boundaries of their own sector, to achieve effective and integrated resources planning and management.

Water-Energy Nexus

Amongst the most important inter-dependencies in the Arab countries is the water-energy nexus, where all the socio-economic development sectors rely on the sustainable provision of these two resources. In addition to their central and strategic importance to the region, these two resources are strongly interrelated and becoming increasingly inextricably linked as the water scarcity in the region increases.

In the water value chain, energy is required in all segments; energy is used in almost every stage of the water cycle: extracting groundwater from aquifers, feeding desalination plants with its raw sea/brackish waters and producing freshwater, pumping, conveying, and distributing freshwater, collecting wastewater and treatment and reuse.  In other words, without energy, mainly in the form of electricity, water availability, delivery systems, and human welfare will not function.

Water-Food Nexus

The water-food linkage represents another important and vital nexus in the Arab countries. Under the current unstable food security situation (fluctuating energy prices, poor harvests, rising demand from a growing population, the use of biofuels and export bans have all increased prices), the ability for the Arab countries to feed their growing population is severely challenged by competition over increasingly limited water resources.

Agriculture is currently challenged by competition among sectors on available water resources. While the majority of water in the Arab region is used inefficiently in the agricultural sector (about 85% with less than 40% efficiency), which is not only crucial for food production but also employs a large labor force of rural population, the contribution of agriculture to GDP is significantly low.

Hence, and using the argument of higher productivity per drop, voices are increasingly advocating for shift of water resources from agriculture to meet pressing demands of the industrial and municipal sectors.  The negative repercussions of that on the agricultural sector and rural population are most evident.

Future Outlook

Based on the current trends in population growth and their associated water, food, and energy demands in the Arab region, water security, energy security and food security are inextricably linked, perhaps more than any other region in the world, and that actions in one area have strong impacts on the others.

Hence, a nexus approach that integrates management and governance across these three sectors can improve these security issues; support the transition to a green economy, which aims, among others, at resources use efficiency and policy coherence.

A proper understanding of the nexus will allow decision-makers to develop appropriate policies, strategies, and investments to explore and exploit synergies, and to identify trade-offs among the development goals related to water, energy and food security. Moreover, a nexus perspective increases the understanding of the interdependencies across these three sectors and influences policies in other areas of concern such as climate change and environment.

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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.

solar-africa-greenpeace

The rationale behind CDM is a fascinating one. It’s predicated on the belief that it’s far harder and costlier for industrialized countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions than developing countries. That’s because developing countries usually start from a less-cluttered and less-regulated historical background. However, projects demonstrating reduced greenhouse gas emissions must also meet sustainable development and additionality criteria in order to qualifying for CDM support.

Put simply, this means any project or venture must clearly show that the use of resources not only meets human needs but also doesn’t harm the environment at the same time. And any greenhouse gas reductions made as a consequence would have happened anyway, with or without CDM funding. The international treaty, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), was the forerunner to the legally binding Kyoto Protocol, adopted by almost all countries of the world.

Under Kyoto, the most highly industrialized countries are required to achieve quantifiable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Less-developed countries, which are much more likely to suffer disproportionately from the effects of any climate change, don’t have such targets. According to the UNFCCC secretariat, the CDM and other market-based mechanisms, adopted as part of the Kyoto Protocol negotiations, allows emission-reduction projects in developing countries to earn certified emission reduction (CER) credits, each equivalent to one tonne of CO2. These CERs can be traded and sold, and used by industrialized countries to meet a part of their emission reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol.

The mechanism, says the UNFCCC secretariat, stimulates sustainable development and emission reductions, while giving industrialized countries some flexibility in how they meet their emission reduction limitation targets. The UNFCCC announced at the beginning of February 2013 the number of CDM projects registered had reached the 6,000 mark. Last week, the UNFCCC secretariat and the East African Development Bank (EADB) signed a partnership agreement to establish a regional collaboration centre in Kampala, Uganda, in an effort to increase participation in CDM projects.

It is the second such centre in Africa, the first one being opened several months ago in Lomé, Togo, by the UNFCCC in collaboration with the BanqueOuestAfricaine de Développement. UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Christiana Figueres, said, “The two regional collaboration centres in Lomé and Kampala are designed to help Africa increase its attractiveness and potential for CDM. Our goal is to build capacity, reduce the risk for investors in such projects and help make the continent an increasingly attractive destination for CDM projects.”

The office in Kampala will be operational from May 2013. Besides hosting the office, the EADB is also expected to provide personnel, as well as administrative and logistical support. EADB Director General Vivienne Yeda lauded the partnership between the two organizations and said, “This partnership with UNFCCC is key for us at EADB as we invest in sustainable development and seek to ensure sustainability in all our operations. We hope that the new office will help increase the regional distribution of CDM projects in East Africa where there is an acute need for sustainable development.”

The Kampala office is expected to enhance capacity-building and provide hands-on support to governments, non-governmental organizations and businesses interested in developing CDM projects in more than 20 countries in the region. Among the countries that can seek support from the new office are Egypt, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Libya, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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النفايات مصدر

القراءة المتوالية في بحث وتوصيف اختصاصات ومسؤوليات المجالس البلدية ومعالجة القواعد القانونية المنظمة لها أثارت اهتمام المتابعين لما جرى نشره من موضوعات في صفحتنا على الانستغرام، وان ذلك الاهتمام يدعم الاهداف والمقاصد التي تبنيناها في تبصير المجتمع بقضايا المجالس البلدية واختصاصاتها كمنصة مهمة تجسد في جوهر مهامها قيمة مجتمعية، وينبغي ان تكون فاعلة في صون الحقوق والمصالح الاجتماعية بمختلف اتجاهاتها المعيشية والاسكانية والاجتماعية والاقتصادية والبيئية والحضرية.

waste-dump-gcc

الاهتمام الذي لمسناه من المتابعين لهذه الموضوعات يجسد الصحوة الاجتماعية في الاهتمام بكفاءة العضو البلدي واختيار الانسب الذي يحقق مصالح المجتمع، كما ان معالجاتنا لمشكلة النفايات والاهمية الاستراتيجية للمجالس البلدية في ايجاد الحلول العملية في الحد من تصاعد هذه المشكلة البيئية ذات البعد الصحي والاجتماعي اثره الفعلي في تحفيز شخصية ضليعة في قضايا معالجة النفايات وطرق التخلص منها والحد من اضرارها في طرح المرئيات القيمة في شأن مخاطر النفايات وجوانب الخلل في آليات العمل للحد من مخاطرها الاجتماعية والصحية والبيئية.

الحوار في شأن المعضلات المحيطة بواقع النفايات وتعثر الاجراءات العملية التي تستجيب لمتطبات المرحلة المرتبطة بواقع مشكلة مكب النفايات في عسكر الذي وفق التقارير الفنية من المفترض ينتهي عمره الافتراضي في الفترة القريبة، ما يتسبب في حدوث مشكلة بيئية تشابه ما هو حاصل في دولة عربية، ذلك ما اشار اليه محدثنا وقال مشكلة المخلفات المنزلية وبشكل خاص العضوية منها صارت مصدر خطر حقيقي على صحة وحياة الانسان بسبب تلوث المحيط البيئي للانسان بالروائح الكريهة والادخنة المتصاعدة من المخلفات المنزلية التي يجري حرقها يدويا دون الالتزام بالمعايير البيئية والاشتراطات الصحية، وتسبب ذلك في تراجع الحركة السياحية في البلد المذكور والتسبب في الخسائر المالية التي يجري جنيها من السياحة، ويرى ان ذلك يلقي بمسؤولياته على المجتمع في الحرص على اختيار الكفاءات لعضوية المجالس البلدية التي تتميز بقدراتها في دعم مشاريع الدولة لمعالجة المشكلة والحد من مخاطرها الاجتماعية والبيئية.

الحديث في مشكلة النفايات والمخلفات المنزلية والملاحظات والمخرجات والمقترحات التي ابداها محدثنا ويرى ضرورة الاخذ بها لتجاوز المخاطر الصحية والبيئية المحدقة، عاد بنا الى مشكلة المخلفات المنزلية عام 2016 التي انتشرت في الشوارع والطرقات، وحالة الارباك والارتباك في اتخاذ الاجراءات الادارية والفنية والعجز في محاصرة ما عرف بمشكلة القمامة.

الحالة التي شهدناها دفعتنا مسؤولياتنا المهنية والاجتماعية في اعداد سلسلة من المقالات بلغ عددهم (13) مقالا جرى نشرهما في صحيفة الوسط في الفترة من 07 يوليو 2016م – العدد: 5053 واختتمنا السلسلة بمقال (أزمة النفايات… مراجعات نقدية) جرى نشره في 10 نوفمبر 2016م – العدد: 5179، وبينا في سياقهم معضلة النفايات والحل الذي ينبغي اعتماده، وبالارتكاز على ذلك نرى ضرورة العمل على مراجعة المواقف والارتكاز على معايير الكفاءة لا الولاءات في اختيار الممثل الذي يمكن ان يساهم في تقديم المفيد في تغيير الحالة والارتقاء بالمشاريع التنموية التي تطرحها الحكومة وذلك بما يساهم في انجاز الاهداف الوطنية للتنمية المستدامة.

Zero-Waste Kitchens and Low-Energy Cooking

Food is the single largest source of waste. Worldwide, we throw away about a third of our food. More food ends up in landfills than plastic or paper. The enormous amount of wasted food depends on our cooking and eating habits.  Generally, it is easy to be sitting at home, in front of your television, consuming whatever you want then throwing every‑thing in the trash. But have we ever thought, where does the garbage go?

Zero-Waste Kitchens

Given that most of the domestic waste originates in the kitchen, a green home should definitely include a zero-waste kitchen. Zero waste kitchens is not about recycling more of our kitchen waste from plastics containers, metal cans and glass jars. It is about acting on needless waste and stopping it from coming into our homes in first place. Bea Johnson  introduced the concept of the 5Rs in her book Zero Waste Home which are Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot. The first and the second R address the prevention of waste, the third R encourage thoughtful consumption while the fourth and fifth Rs are the last stage processing of discards.

The Egyptian cuisine is considered one of the most time consuming and tiring kitchens with a lot of organic wastes. On top of that it is not energy efficient because of long cooking time. A lot of initiatives in Egypt started to promote for the idea of zero waste food. They collect food leftovers and pack them nicely and give them to needy people. Other NGOs can come to your door step and take for example cooking oil. Some also pay for it as incentives to encourage people not to throw it away. Throwing oil is not only a waste but also cause blockage for the sewage system. Food waste can be transformed to several sources of energy like biogashttps://www.cleantechloops.com/food-waste-to-energy/ and biodiesel or even can be transformed to liquid fertilizers and compost.

Low Energy Cooking

Every winter we notice an increase in demand for gas cylinders.  Gas consumption increase during winter season due to long cooking time to prepare warm meals. It is not only waste of energy but waste of time as well.  We can reduce cooking time by following some simple practical tips.

  • Marinate the meat that we will consume along the month or even a week and then freeze them. They will take less time when cooked grilled or baked.
  • Another simple tip that is often overlooked way to reduce cooking time. Cook items you eat often in bulk – such as beef, chicken, rice and beans, or pasta – and freeze the leftovers for later use. If you’re freezing cooked pasta, drizzle a little oil over it to prevent sticking when you defrost.
  • Always make essential food components in a large quantity and freeze them. Like chopped onions, garlic, tomato sauce, broth etc.
  • It is important to match the size of any pot or casserole you use on the stove top elements.
  • Turn the heat down to the lowest setting after reaching boiling point. Higher heat just escapes round the side of the pot or boils the liquid faster but doesn’t cook its contents faster.
  • Optimize the use of a preheated oven by cooking several dishes, either at once, or in a row.
  • Don’t turn on the oven too soon before using. Just a few minutes is enough for pre-heating.
  • Turn off the oven or stovetop a few minutes early. The residual heat will keep cooking the food.
  • Use pressure cooker. It uses less energy than standard cooking pans. Reduction ranges from 70% up to 90 % and consequently reduces cooking time.
  • Adding one spoon of vinegar on meat reduce cooking time because it makes it more tender.
  • Do not add salt till late in cooking. Salt increase cooking time when added to beef for example. Add salt only if you are boiling water, as it makes it quicker to reach boiling point.
  • When you use the blinder, mixer or food processor, use it once for adequate amount not every day for small amounts. Freeze the extra amount for another use.

To conclude, it is not difficult to have a zero waste kitchen and it is easy to transform your kitchen’s trash into valuable cash. Cooking can also be enjoyable, quick and yet energy efficient. We need always to remember that zero-waste kitchen is not only a physical kitchen, but it is mainly a mindset and lifestyle. 

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المخاطر البيئية لمرادم النفايات في دولة الكويت

دولة الكويت هي احدى دول الخليج العربي الغني بموارده الطبيعية, وهي كذلك من أعلى الدول نسبة في توليد النفايات الصلبة مقارنة بعدد السكان, حيث ينتج الفرد الواحد – في الكويت-  يوميا حوالي 1.4 كيلوغرام من النفايات. اضافة الى ذلك مازالت الطرق البدائية هي المستعملة في التخلص من النفايات الصلبة. و المدهش اكثر هو أنه على الرغم من صغر مساحة دولة الكويت الا انه يوجد عدد كبير من المرادم  المنتشرة بكثرة. هناك 18 عشرة موقعا لردم النفايات, 14 منها مغلقة, و 4 مواقع مازالت مستعملة. مرادم النفايات في الكويت هي خطر محدق بالبيئة وصحة المجتمع.  واضافة الى ان تكديس النفايات الصلبة يحمل كارثة بيئية نتيجة للردم الخاطئ لتلك النفايات. والذي يتسبب في انبعاثات غازات سامة وروائح كريهة وربما نشوب بعض الحرائق التي تؤثر سلبا على البيئة وكذلك الحياة الصحية للساكنين بالقرب من مواقع مرادم النفايات. 

مرادم النفايات

تبلغ مساحة دولة الكويت 17,820 كيلومتر مربع, ومنها 18 متر مربع تستعمل مكب ومردم للنفايات الصلبة. حيث تستقبل المرادم كافة أنواع النفايات سواء نفايات الصرف الصحي او النفايات الصناعية او مخلفات المنازل والانشاءات. وفي الحقيقة فان حواي 90 في المئة من النفايات المنتجة تجد طريقها في المكبات المنتشرة للردم بطرق بدائية بدون فرز للنفايات في ظل ما تخفيه هذه النفايات من ملوثات و أبخرة سامة تهدد صحة الأنسان وتسبب في حدوث الكوارث البيئية.

والجدير بالذكر انه قد تم اغلاق عدد من المرادم لمدة تجاوزت العشرين سنة وذلك لأسباب عديدة منهامنها اعمال الصيانة, عدم اختيار المكان المناسب لردم النفايات وقربها من المناطق السكنية, اختيار المرادم العشوائي وعدم وجود الضوابط التي تحدد بموجبها نوعية وكمية النفايات مما يساعد على تخمر النفايات وتولد وتصاعد للأبخرة السامة. وتشمل هذه أماكن مكبات النفايات في منطقة الصليبية, كبد, القرين, الشعيبة, وغرب اليرموك والوفرة.

كما ذكرنا ان اغلب النفايات المنتشرة في المرادم تدخل في نطاق النفايات الخطرة من المواد الكيميائية والنفايات السائلة التي تؤدي الى التلوث المباشر للتربة والمياه الجوفية وتضاعف من المخاطر الصحية على حياة السكان.

ويعد مردم جليب الشيوخ و الصليبية والقرين من اكبر المرادم للنفايات الصلبة في بلدية الكويت. على سبيل المثال يستحوذ مردم القرين على مساحة تبلغ 1 كيلومتر مربع, وقد كان يستخدم لردم مخلفات البناء والنفايات المنزلية وغيرها لسنوات عديدة ما بين عام  ال 1975 ال 1985 وقد قدر حجم النفايات المدفونة في مردم القرين الى خمسة ملايين متر مكعب من النفايات.

أما مردم الصليبية فقد استقبل حوالي اكثر من 500 طن من النفايات يوميا مآبين العام 1970 الى 2000م على مساحة شملت 3 كيلومتر مربع. ويعد جليب الشيوخ من اكبر مرادم النفايات في الكويت ويغطي مساحة 6 كيلومتر مربع, قد كان مردم للنفايات المنزلية والصناعية ما بين العام 1970 و 1993 وقد قدر حجم النفايات المردومة فيه حوالي 20 مليون متر مكعب.

ومع مرور السنوات بدأت مشاكل المرادم في الكويت بالظهور نتيجة للنمو السكاني والتوسع العمراني والحاجة لبناء شبكات الطرق, وللأسف لعدم التعامل السليم والادارة  الجيدة للمرادم وضعف الخبرات للعمال البلدية فقد تفاقم الأمر سوء من انتشار للغازات السامة وتلوث للمياه الجوفية. ونتيجة لذلك أغلقت العديد من المرادم على الرغم من ان بعضها لم تستوفي القدرة الاستيعابية لها, ولكن بسبب عدم مطابقة المواصفات والشروط البيئية التي يتم استخدامها لمواقع ردم النفايات.

الخلاصة

الهدف من هذا المقال هو دق ناقوس الخطر مع كمية المرادم العشوائية الموجودة في دولة الكويت, والتي جميعها مخالفة لمعايير الاشتراطات البيئية والصحية وعدم تطبيق الاساليب الحديثة في معالجة النفايات لصلبة وضعف الادارة والرقابية في معالجة هذه القضية الخطيرة التي تؤثر على حياة وصحة مئات الألوف من السكان في دولة الكويت.

 

ترجمة

إيمان عبدالله أمان

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Environmental Education: Key to a Better Future

environmental-educationTomorrow's leaders need to be equipped for tomorrow's challenges, and we must adequately prepare our children for the future they will inherit. As climate change is being felt across the globe and its long term catastrophic impacts have never been so scientifically clear, environmental education is the key to a better future. In an era where more and more children are disconnected from nature, we should recognize the importance of making a real investment in environmental education and outdoor learning. Studies have shown environmental education engages students in learning, raising test scores, and encouraging youth to pursue career in environmental and natural resources. And not only that: environmental education can help children perform better in social studies, science, language, arts, and mathematics.

Engagement at Different Levels

The secret to environmental education is to act at different levels, engaging the entire school and addressing students, teachers, parents, administrators and all members of the schools community. Eventually, it will link up all the participants within the community. The components of this initiative depend on interaction and participation, with teachers undertaking a guiding role by encouraging students to discover solutions on their own.

At first students should determine and check the extent of their use of natural resources in the school. Through this, they evaluate their efforts in the field of environmental management. 

As a second step, children should set up and run Eco Clubs. Eco Clubs provide an opportunity to students to participate in environmental projects and activities. They also serve as a forum through which the students share environmental problems, along with the school staff, parents and the community surrounding the school, in order to work on finding solutions, and promote a positive environmental behavior. In this component the schools can implement internal and external projects, such as introducing efficient methods of irrigation, lowering the volume of waste, reducing the consumption of electricity and water and trying to reduce air pollution.

The third step focuses on organizing training courses for teachers and releasing educational resources in different themes and curricula, helping them to teach environmental concepts in innovative ways and through various educational materials. This will help teachers to adapt and to provide students with information about different habitats, biodiversity, climate change and other issues faced at the local level, as well as faced by the planet on a global level.

The final step should be to connect students to environmental causes and issues, and identify solutions through the provision of field trips. Additionally, such trips can be associated with the educational curriculum as they offer direct learning method. This helps boosting the understanding of various concepts by the students, and increasing the chance of using multiple senses such as eyesight, hearing, etc., which helps to raise their capacity to understand what they have learned. The success and engagement of schools to take on the environment field trips is great and extensive and it represents a set full of amazing adventures of exploration and knowledge.

Undoubtedly, the final and greatest outcome is to educate our children on the importance of becoming good environmental citizens.

Challenges in the Middle East

The Middle East region faces difficult natural conditions, and it is clear that steep population growth, poverty and the consequent degradation of natural ecosystems make it a priority when it comes to Environmental awareness and sustainability goals. One of the biggest challenges is certainly the lack of awareness. 

Most countries are blessed with high levels of education, with a large portion of the population pursuing secondary and higher education. Unfortunately however, human development and wealth are not always synonym with high environmental awareness and interest in sustainability issues… Jordan and Lebanon, for example, have their primary focus in tourism, which mostly contributes to their GDPs.

An interesting survey conducted in the Sultanate of Oman revealed that the environmental awareness of the Omani public was related to education level but also to gender and age. Males were found to have a higher level of knowledge about environmental issues than females. Males were also more environmentally concerned and tended to engage in more environmental behaviors than females. Younger and more educated respondents tended to be more knowledgeable and concerned about the environment than older and less educated respondents.

Eco Clubs provide an opportunity to students to participate in environmental projects and activities.

Eco Clubs provide an opportunity to students to participate in environmental projects and activities.

Another challenge that countries such as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar are faced with, is trying to reduce their consumption patterns. Even though awareness levels seem to be higher than in other countries, these nations are notorious for their unsustainable consumption rates. For instance, KSA and the UAE’s water consumption have reached 265 and 550 liters per capita per day respectively, which significantly exceeds the world’s average. 

Participation of Emirati Youth

Educating the UAE youth and preparing them to lead the country’s sustainable future is the first goal in the UAE national environmental awareness strategy and the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment encourages the youth to innovate and be part of global environmental efforts.

Recently the UAE has taken a major step including environmental education in all schools: back in November Thani Ahmad Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, announced that awareness of climate change and how to help save the environment will be taught in classrooms across the country.

Under plans to tweak schools' curriculum to include learning on sustainability, schoolchildren will also be shown how to take energy-saving measures. These include schoolchildren of all ages, including in private sector schools, learning the importance of turning off lights and air-conditioning when not in use, and how to use less water. Each pupil will also be encouraged to spread the message to their family and friends. One of these initiatives, called Sustainable Schools, is an extension of a program that started in Abu Dhabi in 2009.

As a consequence to all these efforts taken by the government, I observed an increase in the numbers of UAE nationals volunteers participating in our programs: we've usually had a majority of Indians and Europeans taking part in our tree planting events or in the anti-pollution awareness drives, but lately large groups of young Emiratis have come forward to participate actively in all our programs and we continue to receive many emails asking to become long term volunteers. This is one of the biggest achievements we could wish for the UAE.

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Clean Energy Resources in Jordan

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is heavily dependent on oil imports from neighbouring countries to meet its energy requirements. The huge cost associated with energy imports creates a financial burden on the national economy and Jordan had to spend almost 20% of its GDP on the purchase of energy in 2008.

Electricity demand is growing rapidly, and the Jordanian government has been seeking ways to attract foreign investment to fund additional capacity. In 2008, the demand for electricity in Jordan was 2,260 MW, which is expected to rise to 5,770 MW by 2020. Therefore, provision of reliable and clean energy supply will play a vital role in Jordan’s economic growth.

In 2007, the Government unveiled an Energy Master Plan for the development of the energy sector, requiring an investment of more than $3 billion between the year 2007 and 2020. The major target of the Plan is to enhance the contribution of renewable energy in the energy mix to 7 percent by 2015 and upto 10 percent by 2020. Concerted efforts are underway to remove barriers to exploitation of renewable energy, particularly wind, solar and biomass. 

Renewable Energy Scenario

Jordan has been a pioneer in renewable energy promotion in the Middle East with its first wind power pilot project in Al-Ibrahemiya as early as 1988. Systematic monitoring of the technological developments and implementation/execution of demonstration and pilot projects has been the hallmark of Jordan’s foray into clean energy sector. However, renewable energy remains largely untapped due to high cost associated with non-conventional energy resources and relatively cheap availability of oil and natural gas.

With high population growth rate, increase in industrial and commercial activities, high cost of imported energy fuels and higher GHGs emissions, supply of cheap and clean energy resources has become a challenge for the Government. Consequently, the need for implementing energy efficiency measures and exploring renewable energy technologies has emerged as a national priority.  

Wind energy is feasible mainly in areas overlooking the Jordan Valley and Wadi Araba. Solar energy potential is also high since many parts of the country experience 300 to 320 days of full sunshine throughout the year. Biomass energy potential is also attractive in the form of urban wastes, organic industrial wastes and animal manure. With rapid technological advancements, other sources such as waste-to-energy, hydro power and geothermal energy are also realistic options.

Presently, Jordan has 1MW biogas plant that utilizes methane from biochemical decomposition of organic waste for electricity production. Expansions are underway to increase the total capacity to 5 MW. There are 2 MW wind farms at Hofa and Al‐Ibrahimiyah in the north working successfully. Moreover, there is an area of 1.35 million m2 of installed solar water heaters panels in Jordan, and a 150 KWh of installed photovoltaic power. In addition, there are 25 solar water heaters factories in Jordan which produce 4000 solar water heater annually.

Future plans include three wind parks with a total capacity of 125‐150 MW, and a hybrid Solar Power Plants (CSP) with a capacity of 100‐250 MW. 60% of the wind turbine parts in the wind parks are supposed to be provided by local wind turbine manufacturers. Meanwhile, private consortiums are looking to establish photovoltaic and concentrated solar power plants in the Ma’an area. 

The €10-million ‘Capacity Building in Wind Energy and Concentrated Solar Power’ project, funded by the European Union, will support Jordan's National Energy Research Centre (NERC) to steer and facilitate the implementation of the Jordanian government's Renewable Energy Strategy 2007-2020 by installing a wind testing facility, as well as a pilot Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) plant.

Investment in Clean Energy

Jordan has tremendous wind, solar and biomass energy potential which can only be realized by large-scale investments. This transition from conventional fuels to renewable energy resources will require capital investments, technology transfer and human resources development, through a package of investments estimated at US $ 1.4 – 2.2 billion. The investment package includes Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) deals for wind energy with a total capacity of 660 MW and solar energy plants of 600 MW. This will be paralleled with the reduction of energy produced from oil from 58% currently to 40% in 2020. The Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation (MOPIC) is actively seeking support for renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives through continuous cooperation with international partners and donors.

The best prospects for electricity generation in Jordan are as Independent Power Producers (IPPs).  This creates tremendous opportunities for foreign investors interested in investing in electricity generation ventures. Keeping in view the renewed interest in renewable energy, there is a huge potential for international technology companies to enter the Jordan market.  There is very good demand for wind energy equipments, solar power units and waste-to-energy systems which can be capitalized by technology providers and investment groups.

Government Initiatives

The government has also established a new Energy Fund to support the infrastructure development of new renewable energy facilities. In addition the government is seeking to provide tax incentives to remove the barriers for the comprehensive use of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies in the Jordanian market. 

The strategy will be supported by a "Renewable Energy Law" which includes regulations and incentives for renewable energy production from investments in areas designated to be utilized to build renewable energy facilities. The law provides investors with a lot of incentives including 100 percent exemption from income tax for 10 years. 

Private companies with renewable energy projects will now be able to negotiate directly with the Energy Ministry as part of a series of changes to the sector. Investments in renewable energy will be quicker as part of sweeping changes included in the recently endorsed Renewable Energy Law.

One of the major components of the legislation allows local and international companies to bypass a competitive bidding process and negotiate with the ministry directly to establish renewable energy projects. Also under the law, the National Electric Power Company (NEPCO) will be obligated to purchase any and all electricity produced by renewable energy power plants. The law will also allow citizens with solar power or wind turbines to sell electricity back to their electricity provider. 

Conclusion

There has been significant progress in the implementation of clean energy systems in Jordan, with active support from the government and increasing awareness among the local population. In the recent past, Jordan has witnessed a surge in initiatives to generate power from renewable resources with financial and technical backing from the government, international agencies and foreign donors.  Jordan has the potential to become a regional energy hub characterised by political as well as economic stability.  The already accomplished projects and studies in this field has provided Jordan with scientific and practical experience, qualifying it for entering a new phase of renewable energy development by means of cooperation between local institutions and foreign companies. 

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