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Middle East

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DEMENA evaluation videos: Climate Ambassadors (Egypt)

Interviews with two of the Egyptian Climate Ambassadors about being part of the project:

Adaptation to a changing climate in the Arab countries

Countries in the Middle East and north Africa will be among those hardest hit by global warming, unless the upward trend for greenhouse gas emissions can be checked, the World Bank warned last month at the Doha climate change conference.

There will be lower rainfall, higher temperatures and continuing desertification, said Rachel Kyte, World Bank vice-president for sustainable development, during her presentation of the report on Adaptation to a Changing Climate in the Arab Countries.According to the report extreme weather events are the new norm for the region. The consequences of the global phenomenon of climate change are especially acute in the Arab world.  While the region has been adapting to changes in rainfall and temperature for thousands of years, the speed with which the climate is now changing has, in many cases, outstripped traditional coping mechanisms.

According to the forecasts, average temperatures could rise by 3C between now and 2050. But night temperatures in city centres could increase by double that figure. The report notes that over the last three decades 50 million people have been affected by climate disasters. Severe flooding is now a recurrent event. But the increasing scarcity of water resources is the biggest challenge for countries in the region, which already have some of the lowest per capita reserves in the world.Fortunately, Arab countries can take steps to reduce the impacts of climate change. The report outlines measures that not only potentially reduce the region’s vulnerability, but can also contribute to more sustainable long-term development.

The report offers a model, an ‘Adaptation Pyramid Framework,’ to strengthen public sector management in a changing climate, and to assist stakeholders in integrating climate risks and opportunities into all development activities. The main messages suggest that countries and households will need to diversify their production and income generation, integrate adaptation into all policy making and activities, and ensure a sustained national commitment to address the social, economic and environmental consequences. With these coordinated efforts the Arab world will be able to rise to the challenge once again and, as it has for centuries, successfully adapt to a changing climate.

What is your opinion about this information? You can share your opinion in the comments section.

COP18 negotiations, between rigid politics and demanding reality.

Some people find it rather impossible to depend on Arab Countries in the UNFCCC negotiations, especially that amongst those very countries are oil and natural gas exporters, and the top emitters per capita. Surprisingly though, approaching the end of the first week of negotiations, and while Australia pledges an “embarrassing” -as referred to by Australian activists- 0.5% decrease in emissions, and while the US continues to try to block the negotiations in any way possible, the UAE announced that they’ll be producing 100 MW of concentrating solar power (CSP), and they are preparing the next 100 MW tranche which will be solar Photovoltaics (PV). That announcement was rather a surprise to negotiators on one hand and civil society on the other. It’s highly expected that a chain reaction of some sort will take place in the second week, especially amongst the Arab countries, which is a valid point but other things need to be taken into consideration. While some of the countries are trying to mitigate, a negotiator from Saudi Arabia, which is THE highest emitter worldwide and an oil exporter said that Climate Change is “a merely Economical and Political issue” which might sound like an innocent statement to the naked eye, but it’s a very dangerous statement, not only does it deny all the Climatic catastrophes taking place right now, it also denies all the scientific evidence that Climate Change is the epidemic of this era. Also, an Egyptian negotiator talked about the obstacles that face Egypt and other Arab countries that would make it difficult for those countries to take mitigation actions against climate change, and it’s valid on some level that many countries in the Arab region are going through difficult economic and political conditions, but that raises the question, why didn’t those countries take any actions before they went through those unstable conditions? Or is it just another excuse for countries that have caved in to the power of oil?

Between promises, statements and endless sessions, the vision stays hazy and unclear to a lot of people and the painful reality stays the same, the decisions that are being made right now are too little and too late, even if positive. It’s going to be very hard for us to undo the damage that we have done so farm and it’s going to be impossible for us to make this world livable for future generations if we do not start acting this very instant because we, have created a time bomb.

 

 

An action by IndyAct in the halls of Qatar National Convention Center symbolizing how political will in Arab countries prevents any real climate action. Photo by: Sarah Rifaat.

TEDxDeadSea – Abdel Rahman AlZorgan – Start with Yourself

Welcome to Jordan

The cultural experiences of Danish Climate Ambassadors traveling to the Middle-East.

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Egyptian Spirit

Over a year has passed since one of the biggest achievement in Egypt´s modern history: the Egyptian Revolution, which inspired people all around the world.

After 30 years of Silence, Injustice, Oppression, I witnessed the Egyptian People who stood together – asking for their rights and seeking justice.

Throughout my daily dealings, I have to admit that the Egyptian people proved after the revolution that they are united for their common dreams and hopes. They faced conspiracies that targeted their unity and cooperated to achieve the goals of the revolution. (more…)

Public Spaces in Egypt

It started many years ago when the people first lost ownership of their public spaces, as people were focusing on their own daily life problems .The youth created their own spaces where they could talk, express their own feelings, problems, share and exchange. Finally when all of these people wanted to unite and create a form of actions they went to Tahrir Square and they made their own revolution. (more…)

A new team of climate ambassadors has seen the light of day

It has only been two weeks since a new team of Jordanian youth climate ambassadors saw the light of day. Yet they are already busy spreading the word of climate change and sustainable environmental practices. The group consists of energetic youth from all over Jordan eager to make a difference in their local communities and in society in general. We had a great course with talks by German Anselm Ibing (Abu Saleem) who was sharing his knowledge on Jordan’s main environmental challenges focussing on water scarcity, Rula Asir who talked about transforming green knowledge into action, Ahmad Alzghoul who taught the group about advocacy, and Dr. Ayyoub Abu Dayeh who  was sharing his solutions to climate change and environmental challenges focussing on energy. We would like to thank all of you for these contributions – we couldn’t have made it without you! Moreover, we would like to thank all the participants for your engagement in the project and the enthusiasm you came to the course with. You are the reason it became an incredible weekend.

As part of the course, the participants were asked to plan their own environmental training programme, where they go out to schools and institutions and spread the message of environmental challenges and acts of change. Many interesting ideas were developed and we are now exited to see these ideas come into action. In two weeks we will gather the group again to an informal talk on achievements, challenges and further idea sharing. Based on this, we will gather the group once more to develop the environmental and climate change knowledge base as well as the advocacy and communicative skills of the group.

I am really looking forward to see what Jordan’s new climate ambassadors have achieved! You can be the change you want to see in Jordan!

Take a break!

The 50 minutes it takes for me to work home from work are some of the best minutes of my day; here I have time to take a break and just let my thoughts fly wherever they want to go. Despite the heave traffic accompanying me all the way along Al-Madeenah Al-Munawwarah Road, these 50 minutes are where I switch my brain off along with any internet or mobile phone connection. In spite of their liberty, my thoughts – perhaps inspired by the surrounding traffic – return and revolve around two questions; why is there no public transportation system in Amman, and why do human beings build cities that are designed for cars only? I mean, in a country where it seems every citizen (in West Amman) can afford his or her own car, how come there are no money for building a public transportation system? How come the King, concerned for his subjects, never thought of creating one, or rather, how come the citizens never demanded one from their leaders?

They say the in future cars will be running on electricity, water, bio fuels, you name it. Is this really the best we can get? Is the car really the best means of transportation the human brain can deliver – so brilliant that we keep on copying the form and only replace the content? Is the car the climax of human development? Walking along the roads in Amman I hope not. I sincerely hope that my or the future generation can invent a better solution; a solution where the human being is included. Where the city is a place of being, not escaping from. To get there, we have to rethink our entire way of living. We need to reconsider our society and the way we produce, use and reuse our environment, our natural resources, our fellow human beings. This is not only a task for engineers and chemists, but urban planners, doctors, journalists, business managers and teachers have to come along and contribute to the building of society.

It’s a long way. Until we get there I will encourage everyone to leave the car once in a while and walk home; take a break and let your thoughts fly!

A new “Green” revolution, time to seize the day

Revolution is in the air in Egypt these days and many organizations see this time as an opportunity to gain influence in the decision making process. New parties are registering and trade unions and small NGOs are gathering strength.

There is a feeling of “everything but Mubarak” is the right way to move and that gives climate NGOs a whole new platform to work on.

Now is the time for relatively small groups of climate activist to unite and seize the day to change the future climate policies in Egypt. The conditions are just right. (more…)

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