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

Food Waste in Ramadan: Trends and Counter-Measures

With the holy month of Ramadan starting, preparations are in full swing to make all necessary arrangements by the government, traders and commercial establishments to provide all utilities, goods and food that are required during Ramadan. Muslims countries, Arab nations in particular, generate huge quantities of food waste which increases substantially during the month of Ramadan and festivals whereby the consumption and wastage of food increase at an alarming level. As per conservative estimates, around 15-25% of all food purchased or prepared during Ramadan find its way to the garbage bin before even being used or consumed. In Bahrain alone, … Continue reading

#InspireMENA Story 1: Humanizing Architecture – Through the Eyes of Abeer Seikaly

Through the jasmine-scented roads of L’weibdeh (Jordan) I navigated my way to Abeer Seikaly’s studio, an old house that resembles Jordan’s genuine and inspiring identity. Abeer Seikaly is a young Jordanian architect who has been featured on several global and local media platforms because of her innovation “Weaving a Home” that was shortlisted for the 2012 Lexus Design Award. Influence of Education and Local Knowledge Top architecture schools in the Arab world are heavily influenced by international trends in built environment and sustainability, and unfortunately Arabic reference material is largely ignored in teaching. The emerging thinking around built environment and its relationship … 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

The City of Nouakchott – Perspectives and Challenges

Nouakchott, capital city of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, is the biggest city in the Sahara region. Like other major cities worldwide, the city is plagued by environmental, social and economical challenges. Sewage disposal network, dating back to 1960’s is no longer sufficient for Nouakchott. The country is heavily dependent on fossil fuels and woody biomass for meeting energy requirements, though there is good potential of solar, wind and biomass energy. Solid waste management is becoming a major headache for city planners. Population is increasing at a tremendous pace which is putting tremendous strain on meagre civic resources. Making of … 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

Water-Energy-Food Nexus in Arab Countries

Addressing 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 … Continue reading

Water-Energy Nexus in Arab Countries

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, feeding desalination plants with its raw sea/brackish waters and producing freshwater, pumping, conveying, and distributing freshwater, collecting wastewater … Continue reading

An Adaptive Refugee Camp Model for the Middle East

Natural disasters and wars are two main reasons that force populations to leave their homes, which consequently push for an urgent need to provide temporary shelters or settlements as a disaster management plan. For many years, governments and aid agencies have worked on offering emergency relief camps. Solutions have ranged from short term to long-term shelters. Tents are the most common shelter structure used. However, studies show that the majority of current tent shelters do not satisfy comfort conditions for occupants and hardly satisfy privacy, hygiene and other social needs. They are also expensive to fabricate and deteriorate quickly. Several … Continue reading

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