#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

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

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

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

CDM Enhancing Africa’s Profile Among Investors

The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is an extremely simple concept. Companies in developed economies can continue with their polluting ways so long as they pay for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions elsewhere in the world. Substitute Egypt, Libya, Sudan, Zimbabwe and a string of other African countries for ‘elsewhere’. CDM may not figure highly on the financial radar screens of many entrepreneurs and business people across the globe. They’re probably much more exercised over the merits or otherwise of business banking services, But maybe they should be looking at CDM, not least because entrepreneurial activity and green make interesting bedfellows these days. … Continue reading

Trends in Environmental Sustainability

Environmental sustainability and carbon footprint occupies an increasingly important position on the corporate agenda around the world. The major ingredients of environmental sustainability are elimination of waste and emissions, maximizing energy efficiency and productivity and minimizing practices that may adversely affect utilization of natural resources by coming generations. More and more companies are realizing the importance of environmental initiatives in business development and brand promotion. Decrease in energy and raw material usage combined with reduced emissions and waste generation can tackle a host environmental challenges facing the world. Leading IT companies, like Microsoft, Adobe, Apple and Google, are investing in renewable sources of … Continue reading

Qatar’s Fight Against Climate Change

Qatar's environmental records have always been in news, of course for the negative ones, but it has always strived to work towards reduction of GHGs emissions. Qatar is already doing plenty to help poor countries with financing and it seems unfair to focus on per capita emissions for a country with estimated population of 2.27 million making it the 143th most populous country on earth. (For climate talks, that is heresy). This may sound harsh, especially since Qatar's contribution to global warming is tiny compared with the United States, China or India. In recent years, Qatar is making itself a benchmark … Continue reading

Hima: Integration of Religion and Conservation

Revisiting the earliest days of rural, pastoral- and agriculture-based societies offers thought-provoking answers to solve today’s crises. At the highest levels of international concern, Islam’s formalized system of “Hima,” or Nature Conservation, is receiving optimistic attention. One of the reasons why Hima is an interesting solution for today’s conservation needs is because it developed under a similar set of crises. Relatively speaking, the ratio of human population to accessible natural resources in the days of Moses was just as dire as today’s challenges. It is possible to recognize the development of Hima by following the early days of Prophet Moses, … 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

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

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

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