Future Water Scenarios in GCC

Water is an important vector in the socio-economic development and for supporting the ecosystem. In the arid to extremely arid Arabian Peninsula, home of the GCC countries, the importance and value of water is even more pronounced. The GCC countries of United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, and Kuwait, are facing the most severe water shortages in the world.  Rainfall scarcity and variability coupled with high evaporation rates have characterized this part of the world with a limited availability of renewable water.  However, the scarcity of renewable water resources is not the only distinctive characteristic of the region, … Continue reading

Water Pollution Worries in Developing World

Water pollution has become a major concern worldwide, especially in developing countries where around 3.2 million children die each year as a result of unsafe drinking water and poor sanitation. Access to adequate wastewater treatment facilities in the developing countries is very limited. For example, only 209 of India’s 3,119 towns and cities—less than one in ten—have even partial sewage systems and treatment facilities. As a result water bodies in developing nations are often used as open sewers for human waste products and garbage, which is evident at the Ganges River in India which receives over 1.3 billion liters of domestic waste, … Continue reading

فيروس كورونا: فرصة لإعادة النظر

لطالما اعتقدتُ أنّ ما من شيءٍ يحدثُ دون أن يحمل في طياته رسالة ما، إما أن تكون عامة لفئات كثيرة،  أو خاصة لأشخاصٍ معنيين بها، لعقودٍ طويلةٍ بقي الإنسانُ يؤدّي أعماله ومهامه بكفاءةٍ عالية، لكن هل فعلًا كان يبلي بلاءً حسنا في نهاية المطاف؟ بالرجوعِ للأثرِ البيئيّ لمختلفِ الممارسات التنمويّة في مختلفِ القطاعات نجدُ انتهاكًا كبيرًا للبيئة بوتيرة متسارعة، وعلى مر السنوات تكدّست كميات كبيرة من الملوّثات في بيئاتنا بكل مكوناتها، إضافة إلى استمرارنا غير المبرر في ظلّ هذا التطور الهائل الذي وصلنا إليه نكون قد وقّعنا وثيقة دمار كوكبنا بشكلٍ علنيّ وفي وقتٍ قريب جدًّا خاصة بعد التغيّر المناخيّ … Continue reading

Post-Coronavirus World: Human Development Re-defined

Like many of you around the globe, I have been adjusting with the exigencies of the spread of COVID-19, both personally and professionally. The crisis is rejuvenating human traits and values from various angles. Self-care, life balance, personal development, helping others, and considering the environment are just a few of many values and principles that are boiling down these days. Let’s take environmental values as an example with the several statements issued lately about the potential impact of Coronavirus on some of the hot green issues of today, Climate Change and Biodiversity. A few questions come to mind – though … Continue reading

#InspireMENA – Storytelling on Sustainable Development in MENA

Over 350 million people live in MENA and share Arabic as a common language. To date, there is very little literature in Arabic about sustainable development in general and specifically on the United Nation’s new global goals and the associated agencies and initiatives. More than half of that population is below 25 and is currently going through a lot in terms of political, economic, and social change. Despite all of this, those young people are innovating and making positive change in their communities. It is of utmost importance to support such impact with credible information, more visibility for success stories, … Continue reading

Rethinking Sustainability: Islamic Perspectives

The 21st century is characterized by a number of global environmental challenges that shaped and defined the discourse and agenda of the West with respect to the developing world, specifically the Islamic world. Islam provides new sustainability perspectives for discovering and explaining the root causes for the current environmental, economic and social crises as manifested in climate change, HIV, poverty and human security. For example, the Islamic perspective on climate change is that the root cause of this global issue is the absence or lack of human stewardship and is an indication of market failures. Pitfalls of the Western Model … Continue reading

How To Save The World From Plastic Pollution

There is not one solution, we all know that. But let’s take a look back in time for a possible solution. In a past-era, we had a solution that worked. Why not try that option once again. The returnable, refillable container of last century that was a sure thing introduced by Coca Cola in the 1920’s. It ensured customer satisfaction and more importantly, customer loyalty. Coca Cola sold its desirable liquid in expensive bottles that the company needed to be returned for the next drink batch, and the batch after that, and the batch after that one, and so on. … Continue reading

How Could Urban Planners Contribute to Social Cohesion in Cities?

While most of the implemented programmes that promote social cohesion are based on people’s ideology, perceptions, and social behaviours, the impact of the physical built environment, that hosts people’s lives and their social interactions, remains less tackled. In the context of urban planning, to what extent do our cities affect the advancement of social cohesion of communities? And could elusive and complex social concepts – like social cohesion – be tackled in a practical spatial planning approach that yields concrete actions? The fostering of social cohesion gained intensive focus in the literature of urban planning and sustainable development studies, especially … Continue reading

Sustainable Development and the Arab World

Sustainable development is a pattern of growth in which resource use aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for generations to come. Arab world is facing major sustainability challenges in achieving social, economic and environmental goals. Extremely arid climate, acute water scarcity, high energy consumption and polluting oil and gas industry present a unique challenge in Arab countries. There are four major dimensions of sustainable development – social, economic, environmental and institutional. Social Availability of energy has a direct impact on poverty, employment opportunities, education, demographic transition, indoor pollution and … Continue reading

How Minimalism and Sustainability Go Hand in Hand

A topic that has been gathering momentum as of late. The idea of sustainability is rapidly becoming a popular trend and the reduction in fossil fuel usage is testament to that fact. However, sustainability is not just found in the energy sector. Sustainability has become a trend in all aspects of life. So much so that it has become a lifestyle for some. Minimalism has rapidly become a popular way of life as well, providing great benefits to those living according to it. To start, it is important to define these terms and how they can relate to one another. … Continue reading

Water Scarcity in MENA

The Middle East and North Africa region is the most water scarce region of the world. The region is home to 6.3 percent of world’s population but has access to measly 1.4 percent of the world’s renewable fresh water. The average water availability per person in other geographical regions is about 7,000 m3/year, whereas water availability is merely 1,200 m3/person/year in the MENA region. The region has the highest per capita rates of freshwater extraction in the world (804 m3/year) and currently exploits over 75 percent of its renewable water resources. Due to burgeoning population and rapid economic growth, the … Continue reading

Pakistan’s Thirst for Water: Towards a National Sustainable Water Policy

Being the world’s 6th most populous country, Pakistan is home to about 210 million people. The growing population reduces average water availability every day. In 2017, Asian Development Bank reported that the agriculture sector of Pakistan consumes 93% of the water resources and contributes 21% – one-fourth – to the Gross Domestic Product. Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources published a report titled “Water requirements of major crops in Central Punjab,” that has mentioned that over 60% of water is lost in transmission and applications. This implies that the agriculture sector that consumes 93% of water resources wastes two-third … Continue reading