Water Scarcity in MENA

The MENA 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 per capita water availability … Continue reading

Women and the Environment: Perspectives from Arabia

Women and the environment are closely interlinked, throughout history, different nations glorified women as powerful symbols of nature, and nature has always been given the female characteristics: care, reproduction and life-giving. Nevertheless, women’s involvement in the preservation of the environment has seldom been recognized and documented in the histories of several nations. One of the most significant phenomena in the last decades is recognition of women rights to achieve sustainable development; many international agreements reflected this recognition, including Rio Declaration in 1992, which stresses the point of the centrality of the full women participation to achieve environmental sustainability. The UN … Continue reading

Gaza Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture Platform (GUPAP): Driving Agriculture in Gaza

The Gaza Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture Platform- GUPAP, launched in 2013, consists of a multi-stakeholder, interactive and participatory forum that brings together all key actors involved in the development of a resilient Palestinian agricultural sector in the Gaza Strip. GUPAP is currently made up of about 80 members, including national and local government Institutions; Non-Governmental Civil Institutions; the Private Sector; Research and Educational Institutions; Agricultural Value Chain Platforms and Agricultural Micro-Finance Institutions. Over the past years, GUPAP, by building institutional capacity and collaboration among GUPAP members this resulted in the design and adaptation of 5 policies relating to local market-oriented … Continue reading

Urban and Peri-urban Agriculture in Gaza: Perspectives

There are multiple constraints which limit the development of more sustainable and resilient urban agriculture in the Gaza Strip (and the West Bank). Current urban development policies, land use classification systems and planning have ignored to recognise urban agriculture as a land use category and urban development strategy. Furthermore, there is still a lack of research on participatory urban agricultural development, improved production techniques, urban policies and strategies related to agricultural land use. Policy and institutional reform initiatives will be significant to enhance the potential of urban agriculture for food security, poverty alleviation and sustainable urbanisation. Agricultural Land Availability and … Continue reading

How Agricultural Sector Can Help the Renewable Energy Sector?

The continuous rise in fossil energy prices, combined with climate change concerns and progress in renewable energy sector, has catalyzed interest in clean energy systems across the MENA region, especially in the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean region has abundant renewable resources, such as wind, solar, and biomass, which makes it a fertile zone for renewable energy developments. The agricultural sector has played a key role in the progress of renewable energy sector around the world as it provides large areas where renewable energy projects are built and is also the predominant feedstock source for biomass energy projects. For example, agricultural sector … Continue reading

Role of Artificial Intelligence in Environmental Sustainability

In recent years, the environmental issues have triggered debates, discussions, awareness programs and public outrage that have catapulted interest in new technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence. Artificial Intelligence finds application in a wide array of environmental sectors, including natural resource conservation, wildlife protection, energy management, clean energy, waste management, pollution control and agriculture. Artificial Intelligence (also known as AI) is considered to be the biggest game-changer in the global economy. With its gradual increase in scope and application, it is estimated that by 2030, AI will contribute up to 15.7 trillion of the global economy which is more than the … Continue reading

Significance of Groundwater Atlas in Water Management

Groundwater atlases are becoming a necessary resource for identifying natural reservoirs of our most precious natural resource – water.  A groundwater atlas for the USA was published was published by regions i.e. several states in the 1990s culminating in the 2000 release of the Groundwater Atlas for the U.S.A. It describes the location, extent as well as the geological and hydrological characteristics of aquifers across the United States. An African Groundwater Atlas, a project undertaken by the British Geological Survey, released the atlas in 2014 making groundwater information and data available across the globe. Abu Dhabi released its groundwater atlas … Continue reading

Red-Dead Sea Water Conveyance Project – Implications and Remedies

The legendary Dead Sea has been shrinking for the last 40 years by as much as 1m a year mostly due to water diversion of the Jordan River, mainly by Israel and to a lesser extent Jordan. This decline in the Dead Sea levels causes a variety of environmental, social, and economic harm to the surrounding countries by affecting the tourism industry, and destroying one of the world’s most distinct habitats. The surrounding countries have come to realize the severity of its destruction and have acted accordingly to mitigate its depletion. Recently, Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority have signed … Continue reading

Climate Change Impacts in North Africa

In North Africa, rising temperatures associated with climate change are expected to decrease the land areas suitable for agriculture, shorten the length of growing seasons and reduce crop yields. The decrease in annual precipitation that is predicted for Northern Africa in the 21st century will exacerbate these effects, particularly in semi-arid and arid regions that rely on irrigation for crop growth. Whilst extreme events associated with climate change, like floods and droughts, will probably set economic development back many years, approaches to climate change adaptation are not usually aligned with development issues. Climate change mitigation will divert resources from programmes … Continue reading

Egypt’s Water Crisis – Recipe for Disaster

Egypt has been suffering from severe water scarcity in recent years. Uneven water distribution, misuse of water resources and inefficient irrigation techniques are some of the major factors playing havoc with water security in the country. Egypt has only 20 cubic meters per person of internal renewable freshwater resources, and as a result the country relies heavily on the Nile River for its main source of water. The River Nile is the backbone of Egypt’s industrial and agricultural sector and is the primary source of drinking water for the population. Rising populations and rapid economic development in the countries of … Continue reading

Vanishing Aquifers in MENA

Aquifers are of tremendous importance for the MENA as world’s most water-stressed countries are located in the region, including Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Iran, Lebanon and Yemen. However, aquifers in MENA are coming under increasing strain and are in real danger of extinction. Eight aquifers systems, including those in MENA, are categorized as ‘over stressed’ aquifers with hardly any natural recharge to offset the water consumed. Aquifers in MENA Aquifers stretched beneath Saudi Arabia and Yemen ranks first among ‘overstressed’ aquifers followed by Indus Basin of northwestern India-Pakistan and then by Murzuk-Djado Basin in North Africa. The Nubian Sandstone Aquifer in … Continue reading

Climate Change Impacts in Kuwait

Kuwait is facing a wide range of climate change challenges including sea level rise, water scarcity, desertification and loss of diversity. Kuwait is characterized by high temperature, high humidity and arid lands resulting in seriously degraded soil and land damage in addition to salt intrusion in the aquifers affecting the small scale agricultural lands thus enhancing the food security threat in the region. Since 1975, Kuwait has experienced 1.50C to 20C increase in temperature, which is significantly higher than the global average. In recent years, there has been a sharp change in rainfall pattern in Kuwait which may be attributed to … Continue reading