The Fight Against Desertification

As the global population crosses 7 billion, the pressure on land has increased exponentially in recent decades. Food security, habitat and livelihood are the buzz words these days. The paradox is that despite ever-increasing demand for land, more than 10 million hectares of arable land turns into desert every year. The major factors responsible for desertification are deforestation, over-grazing, unsustainable cultivation methods and poor irrigation practices, apart from climate change. According to Mr. Luc Gnacadja, executive secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, “Land degradation is a global phenomenon, with 78 percent of the degrading land taking place in … Continue reading

Hydroponic Farming in Bahrain

Locally grown vegetables and salad greens are becoming increasingly common in the market places of Bahrain, thanks to alternative agricultural practices such as hydroponic farming. Bahrain is now taking definite steps towards being self-sustaining with certain food items that frequent our dinner table. By adopting the alternative –ponic practices, Bahrain is actively tackling the issue of food security. Commercial hydroponic farming facilities are well established in Bahrain with a highly promising and very green future. Hydroponic farms are successfully operating in Bahrain even in the summer months when the daytime temperatures are 40-50oC and nighttime temperatures are 30-35oC outside of the greenhouses. One … Continue reading

Climate Change Impacts in GCC

The GCC countries face multitude of climate change challenges including desertification, biodiversity loss, water scarcity and sea level rise. The region 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. All of the above geographical threats have therefore increased and activated the participation of GCC states in global negotiations recently as evidence are uncovered and impacts being felt across the region. If a couple of days of rain … Continue reading

Agricultural Scenario in MENA

Agriculture plays an important role in the economies of most of the countries in the Middle East and North Africa. The contribution of the agricultural sector to the overall economy varies significantly among countries in the region, ranging from about 3.2 percent in Saudi Arabia to 13.4 percent in Egypt.  Large scale irrigation is expanding, enabling intensive production of high value cash and export crops, including fruits, vegetables, cereals, and sugar. Egypt Egypt is the 14th biggest rice producer in the world and the 8th biggest cotton producer in the world. Egypt produced about 5.67 million tons of rice and 635,000 tons … Continue reading

Climate Change Impacts in MENA

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is known for being one of the hottest places on Earth, and highly vulnerable to climate change impacts. In an IPCC special report on regional climate change, models projected that average temperatures in the region will increase by 1-2˚C by 2030-2050. Decision makers and citizens in all 21 countries realize that they are faced with an immediate need to reshape energy, agriculture, water and environmental policy to adapt to changing climate conditions. Steep Rise in Temperature Satellite data provided by Climate Engine from 1979 to present shows the mean max (average maximum) temperatures … Continue reading

An Eco-Model for Wadi Arabah

The Wadi Arabah region is an extremely arid valley in Jordan characterized by hot climate, meager annual rainfall, high evaporation rate and limited water resources. The arid desert creates several challenges to extracting and managing water in this region thus hampering the development of agricultural, domestic, and industrial sectors in the valley. The casual attitude towards water management in the region highlights the need for additional consideration to the hydrological and geographical realities of the area. Agriculture accounts for the largest water consumption, especially in summer. In arid land with high evaporation rates, negative agricultural practices may lead to reduced … Continue reading

Role of Internet of Things (IoT) in Sustainable Development

The Internet of Things (IoT) is currently trending with its ever expanding eco-system of digital sensors, appliances and wearable smart devices. Like other sectors, the role of IoT in sustainable development and environment protection will be crucial in the coming years. Environmental degradation is occurring all over the world. Land degradation, deforestation and desertification pose a growing threat to food security and water availability. Widespread loss of biological diversity is undermining the productive capacity of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. This reduces access to essential environmental goods and services, including vital ecological processes such as water purification, nutrient cycling, control of … 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 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 current … 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

Bioremediation: Fighting Pollution with Bacterial Assistance

Bioremediation is an engineering process which uses microorganisms to degrade a material. It can be used to treat contaminated media such as water, air and soil, by altering the environmental conditions to stimulate growth of microorganisms and degrade the target pollutant and enhance the quality of the media. In this age of rapid industrialization and depleting natural resources, there is an alarming need for a much effective sustainable development model and new ways to decontaminate and re-energize our surrounding land, water and air. Bioremediation provides an efficient and environment-friendly treatment compared to various other remediation technologies involving chemicals and radiation. … 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

Climate Change Impacts on Water Resources

Freshwater shortage in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is posing a serious threat to economic growth, social cohesion, peace and political stability. Furthermore, today’s freshwater usage does not account for its present and future availability but rather is based on sectoral and geographical competing consumption needs. To make matters worse, this already dire situation is being exacerbated by the rapidly changing climate. Climate change affects water resources by its profound impact on water quantity, variability, timing, form, and intensity of precipitation. The MENA region, in particular, is highly vulnerable to the disruptive climate change effects because countries within this … Continue reading

  • Subscribe to our Knowledge Bank

    Enter your email address to subscribe to our interesting articles

    Join 11,460 other subscribers