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

Environmental Awareness in Arab Countries: A Survey

A public opinion survey carried out by the Arab Forum for Environment and Development in 22 Arab countries revealed that a vast majority, exceeding 60 percent, believes that the environment has deteriorated in their countries over the last 10 years. An even bigger majority of 95 percent thinks that their country is not doing enough to tackle environmental challenges. The questionnaire, circulated via internet in cooperation with Arab media outlets and conducted on a self-completion basis, attracted 20,460 responses from across the Arab region. Respondents who thought that the environmental situation has worsened comprised 60 percent, reflecting findings of a … Continue reading

Miswaak – The Natural Toothbrush Tree of Arabia

Miswaak is an organic toothbrush which is readily available, inexpensive, easy-to-use and inherently natural. It is can be easily adopted by Muslims as well as people from other faiths as an attractive green alternative to the modern toothbrush for maintaining oral hygiene. Miswaak or Siwak is the Arabic common name for twigs of Aarak trees (botanical name Salvadora persica). The use of the Miswaak can be traced back to the pre-Islamic times; hence, the influence of Islam on the usage and spread of Miswaak in the world is significant. Muslim Miswaak users have taken it as a device that should be … Continue reading

Environmental Research in Arab World: Perspectives

The Arab world is facing many environmental pressures ranging from challenges in resource management and water scarcity to air pollution and climate change, which all require serious scientific environmental research. Arab nations contribute 1.7 percent of the total value of budgets embarked for environmental research worldwide. Leaders in Environmental Research Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Tunisia are the most active research countries in general science and environmental research. Scientific research has increased in the last ten years, with Egypt leading the Arab world, followed by Saudi Arabia for both the number and rate of publications produced. Egypt has contributed at … Continue reading

Environmental Initiatives in Middle East – Challenges and Remedies

Environmental protection has become an increasingly important item on the social and economic policy agenda of Middle East nations. As I read last week’s piece titled “Environmental Impacts of Plastic Bags” I was struck by the succinct summary of the main problems with the ongoing use of plastic bags and how their effects can be felt in many ways, some widely publicized and others not. The article prompted a series of reflections upon other environmental initiatives emerging in the Middle East and North Africa, especially in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. In this article, I wish to share my … Continue reading

خواص الأبنية الخضراء

المبني الأخضر هو المبنى الذي يراعي الاعتبارات البيئية في كل مرحلة من مراحل البناء، وهي التصميم، التنفيذ، التشغيل والصيانة، والاعتبارات الرئيسية التي تراعى هي تصميم الفراغات وكفاءة الطاقة والمياه، وكفاءة استخدام الموارد، وجودة البيئة الداخلية للمبنى، وأثر المبنى ككل على البيئة.الفرق الرئيسي بين المباني الخضراء والمباني التقليدية هو مفهوم التكامل، حيث يقوم فريق متعدد التخصصات من المتخصصين في البناء بالعمل معا منذ مرحلة ما قبل التصميم الي مرحلة ما بعد السكن لتحسين خواص الاستدامة البيئية للمبنى وتحسين الأداء والتوفير في التكاليف. المباني الخضراء توفر العديد من المزايا للعديد من الجهات المعنية بصناعة البناء، بما في ذلك سكان المباني والمجتمع ككل.المباني … Continue reading

Power of Cities to Shape a Greener Future

The current rate of urbanization is one of the global megatrends, which will manifest itself in many of the challenges faced in the upcoming decades. UN reports estimate that nearly 70% of the world’s population will be urban by 2050. The way in which cities deal with this rapid rate of urbanization will determine whether international objectives such as Sustainable Development Goal 11, aimed at making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable, will be achieved. Urbanization has further impacts on many more of the goals defined in the UN 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development. Achieving these goals … Continue reading

Environmental Outlook for the Arab Region

The overall environmental outlook in the Arab region is bleak, despite progress on some fronts, according to the latest report of the Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED). Entitled Arab Environment in 10 Years, the report crowns a decade of annual reports on the state of the environment in the Arab world. The AFED reports have become major references for highlighting progress, identifying problems facing the Arab world, and recommending alternative solutions.  Key Issues at Stake Having an environmental organization focused solely on the Middle East is essential when considering the characteristics specific to the region. As outlined in … Continue reading

Water-Food Linkage in the Arab World

The water-food linkage represents an important and vital nexus in the Arab countries. Under the current unstable food security situation (fluctuating energy prices, poor harvests, rising demand from a growing population, the use of biofuels and export bans have all increased prices), the ability for the Arab countries to feed their growing population is severely challenged by competition over increasingly limited water resources. Agriculture is currently challenged by competition among sectors on available water resources. While the majority of water in the Arab region is used inefficiently in the agricultural sector (about 85% with less than 40% efficiency), which is … Continue reading

Women Entrepreneurship in MENA: An Analysis

Women entrepreneurship is an important unexploited source of economic growth in almost all parts of the world. Unfortunately women in MENA have the lowest rates of Total Entrepreneurial Activity (TEA) at merely 4% of the population. The highest rates, globally, are in sub-Saharan Africa, at 27%. Latin American and Caribbean economies also show high levels (15 percent). In just seven economies (Panama, Thailand, Ghana, Ecuador, Nigeria, Mexico, and Uganda), women had equal or slightly higher levels of entrepreneurship than men. For the rest, women represented a smaller share of the entrepreneur population. Current Situation The recent interest in women entrepreneurship in the Middle … Continue reading

The Green Girl of UAE

Kehkashan Basu is a 12 year old environmental and social activist from the United Arab Emirates whose sole objective is to involve and mobilize kids and youth in the movement for a sustainable and green future. Born on 5th June, which interestingly also happens to be the World Environment Day, she feels that it was pre-ordained that she should grow up to be an environmental activist. Spreading the message of peace and sustainability has been her passion since she her early childhood days. Needless to say, Kehkashan has been working tirelessly to motivate youngsters all over the world to care … Continue reading