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

Solid Waste Management Challenges in GCC

The challenges posed by solid waste to governments and communities are many and varied. In the GCC region, where most countries have considerably high per capita waste generation values, the scale of the waste management challenge faced by civic authorities is even bigger. Fast-paced industrial growth, recent construction boom, increasing population, rapid urbanisation, and vastly improved lifestyle coupled with unsustainable consumption patterns have all contributed to the growing waste crisis in the GCC. Among the GCC nations, United Arab Emirates has the highest municipal solid waste generation per capita of 2.2 kg (which is among the highest worldwide) followed closely … 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

Future Water Scenarios in GCC

Water is an important vector in the socio-economic development and for supporting the ecosystem. In the arid to extremely arid Arabian Peninsula, home of the GCC countries, the importance and value of water is even more pronounced. The GCC countries of United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, and Kuwait, are facing the most severe water shortages in the world.  Rainfall scarcity and variability coupled with high evaporation rates have characterized this part of the world with a limited availability of renewable water.  However, the scarcity of renewable water resources is not the only distinctive characteristic of the region, … Continue reading

Food Waste Woes in Qatar

Food waste is a huge issue in Qatar. In 2012, a massive 1.4 million metric tonnes of food was consumed and wasted in Qatar. This figure, divided by the then population of 2.05 million, equates to an average of 636 kilograms (kg) of food per person for the year, or 1.74 kg per day. Given the benchmark of two kg per person per day (preferably nutritious fare that does not contain too many kilojoules), that does not sound too excessive. But if you remove the young, elderly, short-term visitors/workers and people who consume less than two kg per day from the … Continue reading

Energy and the Climate: Perspectives for Middle East

Since energy is an absolute necessity for life on Earth, we have utilized many sources of energy to maintain and improve the lives of people around the globe. The ultimate source of energy is the Sun of course, since all living things on Earth such as plants, trees, animals and humans need the Sun’s energy. In addition to the Sun, we have utilized other sources of energy such as oil, coal and nuclear fission.  However, energy has many different forms and we use different forms of energy for different applications. For example, nuclear energy is mostly used to generate electricity, … Continue reading

Recycling of Plastics

  Disposal of plastic waste has emerged as an important environmental challenge in the Middle East where plastics make up as much as one-tenth of the solid waste stream. In affluent GCC nations, plastic waste composition in municipal solid waste is around 12 – 16 percent. Plastic waste in the region is continuously increasing due to increasing use of plastics in daily life. The Middle East is responsible for about 8 percent of the global plastic production. Plastic waste is a source of greenhouse gas emissions and ecological damage. Majority of the items found on beaches across the region contain … Continue reading

Solid Waste Management in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has been witnessing rapid industrialization, high population growth rate and fast urbanization which have resulted in increased levels of pollution and waste. Solid waste management is becoming a big challenge for the government and local bodies with each passing day. With population of around 29 million, Saudi Arabia generates more than 15 million tons of solid waste per year. The per capita waste generation is estimated at 1.5 to 1.8 kg per person per day. More than 75 percent of the population is concentrated in urban areas which make it necessary for the government to initiate measures to … Continue reading

A Glance at Plastics Recycling

Plastic consumption has grown at a tremendous rate worldwide, and Middle East is no exception. Plastics now play an increasingly important role in all aspects of modern life. and used in the manufacture of all sorts of items including protective packaging, mobile phones, domestic appliances, furniture items, medical devices etc. Each year around 1trillon plastic bags are used worldwide with most of them ending up in landfills, dumpsites and water bodies. Due to the rising demand, the global plastic consumption is expected to reach 300 million tons by 2015. Per capita consumption of plastics in the GCC is estimated to be 33kg per annum … Continue reading

Solid Waste Management in Oman

Solid waste management is a challenging issue for the Sultanate of Oman because of limited land availability and adverse impacts on environment and public health. With population of almost 3.9 million inhabitants, Oman generates more than 1.7 million tons of solid waste each year. The average per capita waste generation is more than 1.2 kg per day, which is equivalent to about 4700 tons of municipal waste every day. Solid waste in Oman is characterized by very high percentage of recyclables, primarily paper and cardboard (15%), plastics (20.9%), metals (1.8%) and glass (4%) (Source: Waste Characterization and Quantification Survey, Be’ah, 2013). However the country is … Continue reading

The Menace of Landfills in Kuwait

Kuwait, being one of the richest countries, is among the highest per capita waste generators in the world. Each year more than 2 million tons of solid waste in generated in the tiny Arab nation. High standards of living and rapid economic growth has been a major factor behind very high per capita waste generation of 1.4 to 1.5 kg per day. The prevalent solid waste disposal method in Kuwait is landfill burial. Despite being a small country, Kuwait has astonishingly high number of landfills. There are 18 landfills, of which 14 sites are closed and 4 sites are still … Continue reading

Education for Sustainable Development: Key Challenges

The basic aim of 'Education for Sustainable Development' is to nurture an individual who is capable to solve environmental challenges facing the world and to promote the formation of a sustainable society. The first challenge is to have an ethos in schools that openly and enthusiastically supports the development of ESD (Education for Sustainable Development). This is partly down to the curriculum the school follows, but is mainly as a result of the interest and effort shown by senior management in promoting integration and whole school engagement; a critical element being teacher training. It is also down to the expectations … Continue reading