Yihui Wang January 2, 2018

The Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED) has published a report titled, ‘Arab Environment in 10 Years,’ which synthesizes a decade worth of AFED annual reports on the state of the Arab environment. Highlighting developments across six priority areas (water, energy, air, food, green economy, and environmental scientific research), the publication analyzes environmental progress and change across the region.

The publication uses the first report, from 2008, titled, ‘Arab Environment: Future Challenges,’ as its baseline. It then synthesizes information from AFED state of the environment reports that focused 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).

The report finds wide disparities in the current status of environment from country to country, and across many environment sectors. It also highlights that while progress remains slow in many areas, there have been widespread improvements in environmental governance and engagement in international treaties, especially on climate change. Countries that have not progressed in the environmental arena are often those facing political instability or conflict situations, according to AFED. The report indicates that more ambitious national actions are needed to resolve the evolving environmental challenges in the region.

In his forward to the report, the Secretary General of AFED, Najib Saab, discusses a public opinion survey carried out as part of the 2017 report. It finds that 80% of those surveyed believe that the environment “deteriorated or did not improve,” while 95% think their country “is not doing enough to tackle environmental challenges.” Saab points out, however, that most participants are also willing to “engage in personal action to protect the environment” and “abide by stricter environmental laws.” He underscores the direct impact of public participation in successful environmental policy and the importance of “people centered development.”

AFED is a regional non-governmental, not-for-profit organization that brings together various stakeholders to advance environmental policy and action across Arab countries. [Arab Environment in 10 Years] [Publication Landing Page]

Yihui Wang is Thematic Expert for Climate Change (China)