Policy Program




Annual report on the state of Arab environment AFED’s expert-written policy-oriented annual reports have become the main reference on the state of Arab environment. After its 2008 ground-breaking report, Arab Environment: Future Challenges, AFED released seven more reports: Impact of Climate Change on Arab Countries (2009), Water: Sustainable Management of a Scarce Resource (2010), Green Economy: Sustainable Transition in a Changing Arab World (2011), Survival Options: Ecological Footprint of Arab Countries (2012), Sustainable Energy (2013), Food Security (2014), and Sustainable Consumption (2015). Findings and recommendations of AFED’s reports have been endorsed by national and regional bodies throughout the Arab region. Reforms in energy and water subsidies, championed by AFED to encourage more efficient use of resources, attracted wide support, with six Arab countries implementing actual measures to phase out subsidies. AFED’s reports are key references in studies, reports and reprints published by regional and international organizations, including UNEP, ESCWA, World Bank, League of Arab States (LAS), Kuwait Development Fund, FAO, CIHEAM, and in major journals.

Annual convention

AFED organizes an annual convention where its annual report findings and recommendations are discussed. The most recent AFED convention, held in Beirut in November 2015, was about sustainable consumption for better resource management in the Arab region. It brought together over 750 officials and delegates from public and private sectors, research centers, civil society and media. Previous conventions in Manama, Sharjah, Amman and Beirut covered the themes: Food Security, Sustainable Energy, Ecological Footprint, Green Economy, Water, Climate Change, and Future Challenges. AFED conventions issue recommendations for action, which are discussed with governments and other stakeholders. These recommendations have contributed to changes in national policies.

Policy advisory role

AFED enjoys full consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission (ECOSOC) and observer member status with UNEP, UNFCC, LAS and other bodies. AFED continues to execute its advisory role to the Council of Arab Ministers Responsible for the Environment (CAMRE), as part of its observer status with the League of Arab States (LAS). Internationally recognized as an Arab think tank, AFED has played a major role in international negotiations on environment and development, including advising Arab governments and regional organizations on matters such as climate change, green economy, water and energy management and sustainable development.

A State of the environment (SOE) report attempts to answer five key questions:

1. What is happening in the environment (i.e., how are environmental conditions and trends changing)?

2. Why is it happening (i.e., how are human activities and other stresses linked to the issue in question)?

3. Why is it significant (i.e., what are its ecological and socioeconomic effects)?

4. What is being done about it (i.e., how is society responding to the issues through government and voluntary initiatives)?

5. Is this sustainable (i.e., are human actions depleting environmental capital and causing deterioration of ecosystem health)?

The two main purposes of the SOE report are to foster the use of science in policy- and decision-making and to report to the Arabs on the condition of their environment. The SOE report provides an easily understood overview of environmental issues for the non-scientist, examines the key trends of the issues, discusses links with other issues, and describes the efforts of governments and others to address these issues and make progress towards environmental sustainability.

The Approach to Preparing the SOE Report:

The approach to preparing the SOE report is to build on existing knowledge of environmental issues. It stresses partnerships, takes advantage of ongoing monitoring and research, and uses advanced technology for communicating information. It promotes the incorporation of SOE report criteria into the design of policy-driven, science-based assessments. This approach will ensure access to information on the state of their environment and that the needs of decision-makers are met. What are the minimum criteria for the SOE report?

1. Content criteria

The SOE report should: § state and define a broad public policy question (a public concern); § provide an overview of the most current scientific understanding of the issue in question; § examine the key trends within the issue and, where applicable, cross-links with other issues, and the significance of those trends; § describe the efforts of governments and others in addressing the issue of concern; § include the scientific responses to the policy question, as part of its analysis and in its executive summary or highlights section; § include the indicators that track key trends in the issue being addressed, making use of relevant existing national environmental indicators; and § include an analysis of environment-related changes since the last assessment, if applicable.

2. Presentation criteria

The SOE report should:

- be written in a manner that non-specialists can understand; § include a concise executive summary or highlights section; § document the sources of information .

Proposed Contents of the SOE Report

1. Introduction Geographical setting – population- patterns of economic development- human development.

2. Air quality

Urban air quality (Sources of air pollution- status and trends of air pollutants- consequences of air pollution- regulatory measures and their effectiveness)

3. Water Resources and Water Quality

Water resources – water use- quality of water resources – Drinking water and sanitation- trends- water quality ewgulations and their effectiveness.

4. Marine Environment

Sources of pollution of coastal areas- quality of marine environment- trends- marine regulatory programmes- regional and subregional agreements and their effectiveness.

5. Land

Land use- soil degradation and desertification – trends- regulations and their effectiveness

6. Forests

Forest cover and forest resources- quality of forest areas – deforestation- regulatory measures and their effectiveness.

7. Solid Wastes

Solid waste generation – Solid waste management approaches- trans-boundary movement of waste- regulatory measures and their effectiveness.

8. Wildlife

Wildlife populations- Conditions and trends- Conservation measures – Protected areas- Regulatory measures and their effectiveness.

9. Response to International and Regional Agreements

Brief assessment of the response of different countries to different international and regional agreements (main ones)