#InspireMENA – Storytelling on Sustainable Development in MENA

Over 350 million people live in MENA and share Arabic as a common language. To date, there is very little literature in Arabic about sustainable development in general and specifically on the United Nation’s new global goals and the associated agencies and initiatives. More than half of that population is below 25 and is currently going through a lot in terms of political, economic, and social change. Despite all of this, those young people are innovating and making positive change in their communities. It is of utmost importance to support such impact with credible information, more visibility for success stories, … Continue reading

Sustainable Development and the Arab World

Sustainable development is a pattern of growth in which resource use aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for generations to come. Arab world is facing major sustainability challenges in achieving social, economic and environmental goals. Extremely arid climate, acute water scarcity, high energy consumption and polluting oil and gas industry present a unique challenge in Arab countries. There are four major dimensions of sustainable development – social, economic, environmental and institutional. Social Availability of energy has a direct impact on poverty, employment opportunities, education, demographic transition, indoor pollution and … Continue reading

Combating Desertification in MENA

Desertification is a worldwide phenomenon afflicting countries all over the world. The desert is making a comeback in the Middle East, with fertile lands turning into barren wastes. According to United Nation’s Development Program’s 2009 Arab Human Development Report, desertification is threatening around one-fifth of the MENA region. China is experiencing desertification at an alarming rate – as much as 1,300 square miles each year. Sub-Saharan Africa is drying up, as are regions of Turkey that were once rich agricultural lands. During the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, the world’s leaders adopted the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and agreed on the desertification definition … Continue reading

Talking Green in Jordan

The global financial recession triggered serious debate among many countries in revealing the causes behind failures and in innovating affordable solutions. Seeking “transformational” economic growth is very fashionable nowadays bringing to the front-line clean energy and green investments as keys for a better future. And for those countries at the heart of change in the Arab World, the famous “Spring” is bringing a different flavor to the aspired change and reform. In Jordan, attention to sustainability (whether environmental or social) is a need as well as a strategic choice. For a country with very limited natural resources and increasingly growing … 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

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

Islamic Principles on Sustainable Development

A huge number of verses in Qura’n and several sayings of the Prophet Muhammad indicate the great importance that has been given to environmental concerns and the responsibility of man to the environment. The concept of sustainable development in Islam can be defined as “The balanced and simultaneous realization of consumer welfare, economic efficiency, attainment of social justice, and ecological balance in the framework of a evolutionary knowledge-based, socially interactive model defining the Shuratic process”. The Shuratic process is the consultation or participatory ruling principle of Islam. The over arching principle in the use of nature is derived from the prophetic … Continue reading

Key Questions about COP21 Climate Agreement

The headlines from the CO21 Climate Summit tell an inspiring story. Agence France-Presse reported an outbreak of “euphoria” as the international climate accord was sealed. Reuters hailed a global “turn from fossil fuels.” The Guardian headlined “a major leap for mankind.” As the euphoria of delegates at the UN climate talks in Paris fades, it is time to get down to the business of saving the planet and ask what it means for me. This time, they were. They managed to seal a pact that sets a surprisingly ambitious target for limiting global warming, reflects the vast differences between countries … Continue reading

Environmental Conservation and International Solidarity

Environment is a global public good and a prerequisite for the enjoyment of human rights. Environment has no respect for international boundaries and borders, and belongs to all countries and peoples. However the capacity of environment is limited and a common issue for the entire mankind is to conserve this limited global environment so that all people on earth (and coming generations) can enjoy a healthy life. Right to Healthy Environment The right to a healthy and sustainable environment is getting increasing importance in the light of climate change concerns. With fast-changing geo-political situations and ever-increasing conflicts, conservation of the … Continue reading

Green Finance: Powering Sustainable Tomorrow

Green finance provides linkage between the financial industry, protection of the environment and economic growth. Simply speaking, green finance refers to use of financial products and services, such as loans, insurance, stocks, private equity and bonds in green (or eco-friendly) projects. Green finance, which has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, provides public well-being and social equity while reducing environmental risks and improving ecological integrity. For example, global interest in green energy finance is increasing at a rapid pace – in 2015, investments in green energy reached an all-time high figure of US$ 348.5 billion, which underscores the significance … Continue reading

EcoMENA – Vision and Mission

The MENA region is plagued by a host of issues including water scarcity, waste disposal, food security, industrial pollution and desertification. Providing free access to quality information and knowledge-based resources motivates youngsters in a big way. EcoMENA provides encouragement to masses in tackling major environmental challenges by empowering them with knowledge and by providing them a solid platform to share their views with the outside world. Salman Zafar, Founder of EcoMENA, talks to the Florentine Association of International Relations (FAIR) about the vision, aims, objectives and rationale behind the creation of EcoMENA.  FAIR: What is EcoMENA and what is its primary … 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