Our Perspective Articles

      • ‘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

      • Road to RIO: Sustainable Development as Freedom in the Arab Region | Kishan Khoday

        09 May 2012

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        Chants of freedom have reverberated across the Arab region calling for more transparent, accountable and participatory governance, action against corruption and human rights abuses and policy reforms to create an innovative, employment-generating economy. The systemic transition underway is compelling countries across the region to craft new social compacts to usher a new era of inclusive and equitable development. In that context, the history of unsustainable and inequitable use of natural resources —land, water, energy and minerals— will likely emerge as a focus for reform. Control over the environment has for decades been central to state legitimacy and power in this region, shaping the nature of autocratic and centralized systems of governance, and rentier economies, and influencing how sovereignty and statecraft function. The social compact in many countries has been defined by a balance between the state control over natural wealth and provision of social development results. But development is about more than charity, it is also about justice and accountability. The vulnerability of food, water and energy resources brings serious risks to sustaining development in the long-term and brings risks to achieving a more inclusive and sustainable model of development in the post-revolution era. With much of the region’s poor heavilyRead More