Urban and Peri-urban Agriculture in Gaza: Perspectives

There are multiple constraints which limit the development of more sustainable and resilient urban agriculture in the Gaza Strip (and the West Bank). Current urban development policies, land use classification systems and planning have ignored to recognise urban agriculture as a land use category and urban development strategy. Furthermore, there is still a lack of research on participatory urban agricultural development, improved production techniques, urban policies and strategies related to agricultural land use. Policy and institutional reform initiatives will be significant to enhance the potential of urban agriculture for food security, poverty alleviation and sustainable urbanisation. Agricultural Land Availability and … Continue reading

Unending Benefits of Wetlands

Wetlands are wonderful for numerous reasons but these wonders weren’t always known to man and it was often common to overlook the importance of this distinct ecosystem. The mention of a wetland used to bring to mind images of murky, mosquito-riddled swamps or unused lands that needed to be developed into a space which would be more useful to humankind. Wetlands were grossly undervalued which led to loss of many and provoked the Convention on Wetlands to be signed in Ramsar, Iran in 1971. The Ramsar Convention still serves as an international wetland conservation movement and currently holds over 160 nation … Continue reading

Introduction to Green Roofs

Green roofs are emerging technologies that can provide a wide range of tangible and intangible benefits to communities interested in enhancement of their environment.  Green roof development involves the construction of a vegetative layer on top of a human-made structure or building adding green space to areas that would otherwise be unused.  The major benefits of green roofs are reducing energy use as well as air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, enhancing stormwater management and water quality, decreasing heat island effect by regulating temperature for the roof and the surrounding areas and providing aesthetic value and habitats for many species.  … Continue reading

خطط برنامج الأمم المتحدة للبيئة تعزّزقدرة البلدان على رصد مصادر المياه

 عندما نتكلم عن المياه، لابدّ لنا من التركيز على المنطقة العربية التي يشكّل سكانها 5 % من عدد سكان العالم، ولكنها لا تمتلك سوى 1% من اجمالي كميّة المياه العالمية. وفقا لتقديرات الأمم المتحدة، فان اثنتا عشرة دولة عربية تعاني من نقص حاد في المياه؛ اذ ان كمية المياه المتؤتية من مصادرمتجددة لا تصل الى 500 متر مكعب للفرد الواحد سنوياً. وقد طرحت الاستراتجية العربية للأمن المائي  (2030-2010)، مشاريع لادارة والاستخدام الكفوء لمصادر المياه. غير ان قطاع الزراعة لا يزال يستهلك 85% من مصادر المياه العذبة في حين لا تتعدّى العائدات الزراعية اكثر من 8% من الناتج القومي. كما ان … Continue reading

Climate Change Impacts on Water Resources

Freshwater shortage in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is posing a serious threat to economic growth, social cohesion, peace and political stability. Furthermore, today’s freshwater usage does not account for its present and future availability but rather is based on sectoral and geographical competing consumption needs. To make matters worse, this already dire situation is being exacerbated by the rapidly changing climate. Climate change affects water resources by its profound impact on water quantity, variability, timing, form, and intensity of precipitation. The MENA region, in particular, is highly vulnerable to the disruptive climate change effects because countries within this … Continue reading

Managing Water-Energy Nexus For Better Tomorrow

Water is an essential part of human existence, green source of energy production and input for thermal power generation. The world’s 7 billion people are dependent on just 3% (called freshwater) of the total volume of water on earth. The MENA region is home to 6.3 percent of world’s population but has access to measly 1.4 percent of the world’s renewable fresh water. Due to burgeoning population and rapid economic growth, the per capita water availability is expected to reduce to alarming proportions in the coming decades. The demand for water is expected to increase significantly in future, which is also … Continue reading

Towards New Partnerships in Water Management

Market-exchange economy and territory-bound nation state were not designed to accommodate a communication revolution that can envelop the globe and connect everyone and everything on the planet simultaneously. The result is that we are witnessing the birth of a new economic system and new governing institutions that are as different from market capitalism and the modern territorial state as the latter were from the feudal economy and dynastic rule of an era ago. Markets, in effect, are linear, discrete and discontinuous modes of operation. The new communications technologies and partnerships, by contrast, are cybernetic, not linear. The operational assumptions that … Continue reading

Medina 2.0: Cities’ Power 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

Red-Dead Sea Water Conveyance Project – Implications and Remedies

The legendary Dead Sea has been shrinking for the last 40 years by as much as 1m a year mostly due to water diversion of the Jordan River, mainly by Israel and to a lesser extent Jordan. This decline in the Dead Sea levels causes a variety of environmental, social, and economic harm to the surrounding countries by affecting the tourism industry, and destroying one of the world’s most distinct habitats. The surrounding countries have come to realize the severity of its destruction and have acted accordingly to mitigate its depletion. Recently, Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority have signed … Continue reading

Features of a Green Building

A green building incorporates environmental considerations into every stage of the building construction and focuses on the design, construction, operation and maintenance phases. The key process difference between green and conventional buildings is the concept of integration, whereby a multi-disciplinary team of building professionals work together from the pre-design phase through post-occupancy to optimize the building for environmental sustainability, performance, and cost saving. Green buildings offer widespread benefits to a number of building industry stakeholders, including building occupants and society as a whole. Green buildings typically incorporate superior air quality, abundant natural light, access to views and noise control which benefits … Continue reading

Significance of Rural Culture in Islam

Rural culture developed magnificently during medieval times in the Islamic Mediterranean countries. It has left its mark on many aspects of daily life in the countryside, from Sicily and the Spanish Levant to the Maghreb and the Eastern regions. Al-Andalus was a perfect example. Not only are Arabic words present in every movement, skill and tradition throughout much of Spain, but the actual rural landscape forms part of this heritage. And the same can be said about age-old customs for the distribution and use of water, for sowing, grafting, harvesting and storing, and many of today’s extensive, organic farming methods. … Continue reading

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