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Arab Environment in 10 Years

Beirut, 11/01/2017

ARAB ENVIRONMENT IN 10 YEARS crowns a decade of the series of annual reports produced by the Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED) on the state of Arab environment. It tracks and analyzes changes focusing on policies and governance, including level of response and engagement in international environmental treaties. It also highlights developments in six selected priority areas, namely water, energy, air, food, green economy and environmental scientific research.

AFED launched in 2008 the first report in its annual series entitled "Arab Environment: Future Challenges." That inaugural report provided for the first time a comprehensive baseline on the status of environment in the region, which the present report relied on to track changes over the past decade.

Eight topical reports followed, on Climate Change (2009), Water (2010), Green Economy (2011), Ecological Footprint (2012), Sustainable Energy (2013), Food Security (2014), Sustainable Consumption (2015) and Sustainable Development in a Changing Arab Climate (2016).

This report found that the state of environment in the Arab countries over the past ten years has been characterized by disparities. While progress was slow and the situation deteriorated in many aspects, there were advances in others, especially regarding matters related to governance and commitment to international treaties, particularly regarding climate change. Despite the lack of real progress in several countries, mainly those which are facing political unrest and instability, others have made strides towards shifting to a more sustainable path, with more financial resources directed towards investments in environmental infrastructure.

Despite slow progress, we noted with satisfaction that what AFED called for in its reports has become prime driver for policy reforms in many Arab countries. AFED continues to engage many regional players, including public policy officials, corporations, academia, NGOs, and the media, in a meaningful debate.

As part of the 2017 report, AFED carried out a public opinion survey across the Arab countries to track environmental perceptions and attitudes. Results showed that a majority of 80 percent thought that the environmental situation deteriorated or did not improve, while 95 percent found that their country is not doing enough to tackle environmental challenges.

It is hoped that this report will assist in developing robust policies and implementation plans for better environmental management, as pillar of sustainable economic and social development.