Our Perspective

      • Saudi Arabia: Charting a low-carbon future | Kishan Khoday

        01 May 2012

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        Saudi Arabia has seen one of the world’s fastest rates of progress on human development indicators in recent decades. As noted in the 2010 Global Human Development Report, the Kingdom ranked fifth globally in terms of rate of improvement on HDI criteria, and third globally if measured solely by non-income HDI components of per capita access to health and education. In achieving High Human Development status, the Kingdom has relied heavily on export revenues from its world-leading oil reserves. It currently relies on oil for 80% of public revenues, 45% of GDP, and 90% of export earnings. But as Saudi Arabia looks to the future, attention is also placed on the need for a development model which goes beyond oil. Out of approximately 10 million barrels per day that the Kingdom currently produces, about 3 million barrels per day of oil equivalent (mboe) is used within the domestic economy, as the country relies heavily on oil-burning power facilities for electricity generation alongside rising demands from transport and other sectors. But some project that local demand could grow to as much as 8 mboe per day by 2030, owing to growth of population, urban energy demands and energy-intensive industry.  With global oilRead More

      • On Women’s Day, Remember Our Arab Sisters | Amat Al Alim Alsoswa

        07 Mar 2012

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        Arab women have fought bravely over the last year to demand dignity and new freedoms. And their courage has been noted: In December, my Yemeni sister Tawakkol Karman became the first Arab woman to win the Nobel Prize for Peace, in recognition of her principled democratic activism. But launching transitions was the easy part. Across the region, Arab women are realizing that while moves toward democracy can bring hope for long-suppressed rights, they can also unveil deep-seated discrimination that threatens to set women back. In Tunisia, admirable efforts by the interim government to achieve parity in the Constituent Assembly elected last October were thwarted as most parties buried the names of female candidates at the bottom of electoral lists. In Egypt, where a 12 percent quota for women’s representation was scrapped in the early days of transition, the new 508-seat People’s Assembly includes only 12 women—less than 3 percent.  And last week Libyans celebrated one of their first democratic elections, for the local council in Misrata. The result? Twenty-eight men, zero women. What’s more, women activists have faced harassment—not only by security forces but also by men who oppose to their presence in public life. In several countries, some newly empoweredRead More

      • Rural women key in fighting hunger | Helen Clark

        05 Mar 2012

        A few weeks ago I spoke with women farmers in Niger who are growing vegetables in some of the harshest climatic conditions on earth.  With severe drought a recurring problem in their country and across the Sahel, access to water for irrigation and to appropriate seeds, fertilisers, advisory services, and credit are all important for overcoming food shortages and malnutrition.  Rural women account for nearly half the agricultural labor force and are custodians of traditional knowledge about the land and their local environment.  Backed by small development investments, rural women can lead the way in building food and nutrition security for their families and communities, and thus in building resilience to future extreme weather events. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that if women farmers have equal access to fertilizers, seeds, and tools, the number of hungry people in our world could reduce by as many as 150 million, and the total agricultural output in developing countries could rise by up to four percent. In general, rural women in developing countries have the primary responsibility for cultivating crops, raising livestock, collecting water and firewood, and caring for families. Their family and domestic responsibilities are often heavy, leaving them withRead More