Our Perspective Articles

      • The Doha Climate Round | Kishan Khoday

        18 Jul 2012

        At the end of 2012 countries will gather in Doha for the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). With countries having agreed last year to extend the Kyoto Protocol, the upcoming Doha gathering will see the start of work to design a successor emission reduction regime by 2015, meant to elaborate global emission reduction targets from 2020 onwards. COP18 in Doha is only the second time parties to the UNFCCC have gathered in the Arab region. The world has seen many changes since the Arab region’s first COP took place in Marrakesh, at the 7th COP in 2001. One fundamental change has been the rise of emerging economies to the center of the world economy, now a main engine of global GDP growth and a rising source of carbon emissions. The decision to hold COP18 and start the process of designing the post-2015 climate framework in Doha was controversial given its position as the world’s highest levels of per capita carbon emissions. But this could also be an opportunity to more constructively engage climate change issues with the Arab Gulf. While much attention has been placed on engaging a new constructiveRead More

      • ‘Green Economy’ is not the pathway | Rania ElMasri

        20 May 2012

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        Soon, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development will convene – with the goal of defining “a sustainable development pathway that leads to a future in which the whole global population can enjoy a decent standard of living whilst preserving our ecosystems and natural resources.” In the 20 years since the first Rio conference, environmental institutions and environmental ministries have increased in number – while the environmental crisis has deepened and widened.  Alongside the global environmental crisis is the economic crisis – seen in the growing national, regional, and global inequalities.[1] Of course, the environmental crisis worsens the economic crisis, since a healthy economy cannot be built upon an unhealthy environment. Now, green economy is presented as a solution, built on what is economically permissible rather than on an environmental target based on the earth’s carrying capacity. According to the promoters of this concept, the green economy would maintain the market economy, designed on the basis of a conventional growth imperative.  The logic of the green economy is that the market is the place to manage ecology, and that only that which is owned and has a price can be protected, and thus the solution is to call for “better” economicRead More

      • The Arab Region on the road to Rio+40 | Marwan Owaygen

        14 May 2012

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        It is true that the economic, environmental and social pillars of sustainable development are becoming universal; however the struggle persists on integration. To better understand and to easier conceptualize the integrated approach to sustainable development, there is a need to address separately the link between the economic and environmental pillars and the link between the economic and social pillars. With respect to the link between the economic and environmental pillars: For growth to be green, it has to ensure a sustainable use of natural resources and a low-carbon (or low-emission) development. These two elements are the two key drivers of green growth. In order to address green growth in the Arab Region, there is a need to assess the sustainable use of natural resources and the low-carbon development in this region.  According to the recently published UNDP Arab Development Challenges Report, sustainable use of natural resources is perhaps the most serious long-term development challenge facing the Arab Region. Water scarcity combined with water use inefficiency and depletion of groundwater resources, and productive land scarcity combined with land degradation and desertification are two major environmental challenges facing the Arab Region with direct impacts on water and food security. In the lastRead More