Food Waste, Ramadan and the Middle East

With the holy month of Ramadan only a few days away, huge food wastage in the Middle East is again hogging limelight. It is a widely acccepted fact that almost half of the municipal solid waste stream in the Middle East is comprised of food wastes and associated matter. The increasing amount of food waste in the Middle East urgently demands a strong food waste management strategy to ensure its minimization and eco-friendly disposal.  Food Waste in Ramadan Middle East nations are acknowleded as being the world’s top food wasters, and during Ramadan the situation takes a turn for the worse. In 2012, the Dubai Municipality … Continue reading

Climate Change Impacts on Public Health: Perspectives for Arab World

Climate change is not only affecting the economies of Arab world but also having detrimental impacts on the very fabric of society, through threats to public health and livelihoods. Climate change in the Arab world is also exacerbating social inequalities, hitting the rural poor the hardest. This is not a reason for complacency amongst the wealthy urban classes. Basic humanitarianism aside, history suggests that physical hardships can breed wider unrest: a body of evidence suggests that poor harvests caused by a major Icelandic volcanic ash cloud in 1783 triggered no less an event that the French Revolution. Extreme weather events … Continue reading

Understanding Qatar’s Ecological Footprint

Qatar’s environmental impact remains worryingly high. The country’s per capita ecological footprint is now the second highest in the world, as another Gulf state, Kuwait, has overtaken it to become the worst offender of the 152 countries that were measured, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Living Planet Report 2014. The third country in the list is the UAE, with Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil producer, in 33rd position. By comparing the total footprint with the planet’s biocapacity – its capacity to generate an ongoing supply of renewable resources and to absorb waste -the report, based on 2010 … Continue reading

Air Quality in Arab Countries: An Overview

Air quality in the Arab countries has deteriorated over the past few decades. Emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) have nearly doubled. Changes in the power sector were driven by strategies that have been successfully implemented in many countries in the region to improve energy access, leading to more fossil fuels being burnt in the thermal power plants to meet the increase in power demand. Electricity consumption has increased by 75.5 percent, leading to a total amount of 766.5 million tons of CO2 being emitted in 2015, compared to 436.6 in 2006. Emissions from the transport sector have increased due to … Continue reading

Gas Flaring in Iraq: A “Burning” Issue

Ever since crude oil production started in the 19th century, gas flaring and venting were born with it. Companies and even some governments found associated gas a nuisance that had to be flared and vented if continued and increasing crude oil production was to be achieved. But the value of gas as a source of energy and its environmental benefits were gradually realised and some governments introduced regulations to limit gas flaring to the minimum. However, the problem is still with us and the World Bank estimates that in 2017 gas flaring was at a level of around 140 billion … Continue reading

Environment as a Peace-Building Tool

The world is changing demographically, economically, politically and environmentally. The acquisition of natural resources, such as water, can be viewed as a threat to the international security. Severe environmental degradation can deepen regional divisions and trigger social conflicts for communities that depend on these resources for their livelihoods and fulfillment of basic needs. Moreover, the environment itself can be dramatically affected by such conflicts. The unprecedented demand for natural resources is fuelling ethnic conflicts, causing large-scale displacement and is a severe threat to the lands, livelihoods and the way of life of indigenous people. Infact, many of the bloodiest conflicts … Continue reading

Arab Program for Sustainable Energy Youth: Call for Applications

The Arab Program for Sustainable Energy Youth™ (APSEY) is a regional sustainable energy internship program which targets young professionals and post graduate students of engineering, economy, and law fields from the Arab region. The program aims to boost technical and operational capacities of the region’s young talents interested in renewable energy and energy efficiency fields. The program recruits 12 interns every year on two rounds for a hands-on experience in the center’s research and analysis, policy briefs, technical assistance, and other related activities. The opportunity covers full travel and accommodation expenses in Cairo in addition to a monthly salary. Intern … Continue reading

Sustainability Principles in Traditional Islamic Architecture

Islam came with many sustainability and environmental conservation principles, which appeared in all aspects of the Islamic society. This green vision of Islam is also reflected in the city planning and traditional architecture. Infact, Islamic cities were shaped by Islamic beliefs on environmental conservation and sustainability. The traditional house adopted in Islamic architecture respects the environment in more ways than one: first by minimizing the impact of harsh natural environment conditions such as hot climate, relative humidity and solar radiation intensity, second by maximizing the potential possibilities of these conditions to achieve the thermal comfort of inhabitants and utilizing the … 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

A Message on World Water Day

Water is the major driving force of sustainable development. World Water Day aims to increase people’s awareness of the water’s importance in all aspects of life and focus on its judicious use and sustainable management. In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly designated 22 March as the first World Water Day (WWD). Since then the WWD is celebrated to draw wider public attention to the importance of water for mankind. Globally the day is celebrated to focus attention on water conservation, carrying out appropriate concrete measures and implementing the UN recommendations at individual, local and national level. WWD is a global day … Continue reading

Water Security in the Arab World

Water availability in the Arab region is a critical issue as the region has 5 percent of the world’s population having access to merely 1 percent of the world’s total water resources. According to United Nations estimates, around 12 Arab countries suffer from severe water shortages. The per capita availability of renewable water resources is less than 500 m3 per year. In order to resolve this critical situation, many projects in the Arab Strategy for Water Security (2010-2030) support efficient management and sustainable use of water resources. Regional Water Scenario Agriculture accounts for 85 percent of total fresh water consumption in the … Continue reading

Energy Sector in Arab Countries

The Arab energy sector has played and will continue to play an important role in the regional as well as global economy. 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. The Arab oil and gas sector represents the largest economic sector in the region. Increase of oil revenues were the main drivers for economic development in most of the Arab oil producing countries. The Arab economies, as well, are heavily dependent on oil and gas to meet their domestic energy demand. Oil contributes … Continue reading