THE FUTURE OF ARAB ENVIRONMENT
THE FUTURE OF ARAB ENVIRONMENTTHE FUTURE OF ARAB ENVIRONMENTTHE FUTURE OF ARAB ENVIRONMENT
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November 2017
AFED Secretariat Annual Work Report 2017

 

Najib Saab, Secretary General

 

 

 

 

 

Tenth Annual Report and Conference

 

- AFED produced its 10th annual report in the series of the State of Arab Environment, entitled Arab Environment in 10 Years. This milestone report tracks changes in different sectors, taking findings of previous AFED reports as baseline. Based on thorough analysis of the failures and successes, it recommends sustainable path for the future. Some 100 authors, advisers and reviewers from all over the Arab region contributed to the report. Preliminary findings of the report were presented and discussed at regional meetings in Cairo, Amman, Beirut, Rabat and Marseille.

 

- The report could track many public policy changes in Arab countries over the past years to AFED recommendations, especially regarding revamping the subsidy systems, pricing natural assets, promoting energy and water efficiency and cutting waste, introducing renewable energy seriously in the energy mix, introducing green economy and finance, adherence to climate change commitments, and enacting stable policies which attract private sector investments in environment infrastructure.

 

- AFED 10th annual conference convenes on 2-3 November at the iconic Le Bristol Hotel in Beirut, where AFED founding meeting took place in 2006. The conference attracts delegates and top-notch speakers from the region and beyond, alongside some 50 students from AFED-member universities, in the context of Future Environmental Leaders Forum (FELF). OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Science (KFAS), Islamic Development Bank (IDB), Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED), GE and Aramex participated as sponsors. Contributions are 30% lower than 2016.

 

- The 9 previous AFED reports were used in 2017 as key references in over 500 studies and publications. Parts of the reports were viewed online over 300,000 times.

 

Sustainable Development in Changing Arab Climate (AFED report 2016)

 

- AFED report on SDGs was presented at 8 major regional and international meetings.

 

- Copies of the report were distributed to libraries of the world's 100 leading universities, alongside Ministries of Environment and Planning, Government agencies and funds, World Bank, UN agencies, and research centers.

 

 

Regional and International Partners- Main Contributions to Meetings and Reports

 

- Annual session of Arab League's Joint Committee for Environment and Development and CAMRE held in Cairo 3-8 December 2016- SDG report presented, and outlines of 2017 report discussed with ministers.

 

- AFED provided background material for the preparation of LAS report on Arab Environment Outlook.

 

- Future Force Conference, The Hague, 9-10 February 2017: AFED presented at this international conference, hosted by the Dutch Ministry of Defense, a paper on the relation between natural resources and security.

 

- GEO-6 Author Meeting, Rome, 20-24 February: AFED participated in and contributed to the joint Author/High Level Group (HLG) meeting of the Global Environment Outlook-6, which is the flagship assessment report of UNEP, to be released in 2019. AFED reports have been used as prime reference for data and analysis on the Arab region.

 

- LAS, ESCWA and UNEP meeting, Cairo 22-24 April: AFED Secretary General presented the preliminary results of AFED's tenth report on Arab Environment in 10 Years at a consultative meeting in Cairo hosted by the League of Arab States, ESCWA and UNEP.

 

- Arab Sustainable Development Forum, Rabat, 5 May: The 2017 session of the Arab Forum for Sustainable Development discussed Arab statement to the UN High Level Political Forum in July 2017.

 

- Arab Week for Sustainable Development, Cairo 14-17 May: The first Arab Sustainable Week in Cairo, held by the League of Arab States in collaboration with the Ministry of Investment, the World Bank, and UNDP.

 

- Consultation on AFED Report at Petra University, Amman 17 May: Drafts of AFED 2017 report were presented at a formal consultation meeting hosted by the Chancellor of Petra University and Chairman of AFED Board of Trustee Dr. Adnan Badran. Public officials, Academics, students and civil society were among the audience.

 

- Blue Economy for a Sustainable Development of the Mediterranean Region, Marseille 30-31 May: AFED presented a paper in a conference organized by Plan Bleu/United Nations Environment on Blue economy in the Mediterranean. Proposals were submitted for Mediterranean governance processes.

 

- Global Declaration on Ethical Principles Related to Climate Change, in which AFED participated as member of the High Level International Expert Group which prepared it to UNESCO, was finalized and adopted in Fall 2017. UNESCO's Director General thanked AFED for its contribution.

 

- AFED contributed a paper on prospects for Sustainable Development in the Arab countries, for the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed). The paper will be part of a study entitled "Nature and sustainability: Living in the Mediterranean", to be presented in November 2017 at a meeting in Barcelona.

 

- AFED contributed a paper on environmental challenges and prospects in the Arab region, for the annual report of the Arab Thought Foundation, to be released in December 2017.

 

 

Public Opinion Survey

 

AFED organized between February-June 2017 a wide-ranging public opinion survey in 22 Arab countries, to track public perception of main environment challenges. The survey was conducted online and in partnership with AFED media associates. Over 20,000 responses were received. Results had been compared with those of a similar survey organized when AFED was established in 2006, and are included in AFED 10th annual report.

 

 

 

 

Media, Education and Public Awareness

 

- Al-Bia Wal-Tanmia Magazine Online: AFED's Al-Bia Wal-Tanmia magazine ceased paper edition and to turned to online monthly edition as of January 2017. Selections of the online contents are published in print form by associate dailies in various Arab countries. The internet portal, www.afedmag.com, also publishes daily news and commentaries, and hosts the complete archive of the magazine for 21 years, representing the biggest reference on environment in Arabic. The portal and its associated Facebook page are attracting over 3 million visitors per month. Followers of the Facebook page surpassed 1,100,000.

 

- Documentaries: 16 Educational documentaries produced by AFED have been used over 400 times on national and regional networks in 2017, and in schools and awareness campaigns across the region.

 

 

- AFED launched a monthly environment lecture series in Amman, Jordan, in cooperation with Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation (AHSF). The opening session in July was opened by Chairman of Board of Trustees Dr. Adnan Badran. The lectures will host a number of prominent Arab and international speakers and cover major topics on green finance, renewable energy, waste management, water, food security, eco-tourism, air quality and scientific research. Many authors of AFED reports and of its member institutions are taking part in the sessions, which are popular among the public and media.

 

- AFED contributed 500 copies of the annual reports on the state of Arab environment, AFED handbooks on energy and water efficiency, and other environmental publications, to libraries of schools, universities, research institutes and civil society associations in Jordan, in cooperation with Shoman Foundation.

 

- AFED-EcoSchool online program continues to be used all over the region as source of curricular and extra-curricular environmental education guidance.

 

- Environment libraries for Lebanese schools: AFED donated 50 environment libraries in January 2017 to selected Lebanese schools.

 

 

Membership

 

A number of institutions joined in 2017: one national corporation Banque Libano-Française, 2 academic institutions (Université Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth, and University of Bahrain whose President is BoT Founding Member Dr. Riyad Hamzah), and 3 NGOs (Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation-Jordan, The Engineering Association for Development and Environment-Iraq, and Kuwait Water Association-Kuwait). On the other hand, a number of institutions did not pay their 2017 annual news due to financial difficulties. The 100-member campaign to increase corporate membership did not pick up.

 

 

Internship/Fellowships Program

 

The Future Environment Leaders Forum (FELF), AFED's short internship program in cooperation with member academic institutions, hosted 50 students in AFED 2016 annual conference which was held at the American University of Beirut. FELF is hosting 50 students at AFED's 10th annual conference in November 2017, who will hold a special session moderated by Dr. Maria Ivanova, Director of Center of Policy and Global Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

 

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Mohamed El-Ashry and Najib Saab - 2 December 2015
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