COP15 ARTICLES: Drivers for Arab Involvement



 PUBLISHED IN BALADNA SYRIAN NEWSPAPER. 15th DECEMBER 2009

The 2009 report on climate change of the Arab Forum for Environment and Development found that greenhouse emissions in the Arab World contribute merely 4.2% to the global emissions. However, the impact of climate change on the fragile environment of the region and its people is expected to be immense as its been experience in Syria:  change in natural weather patterns, scarcity of food and water, loss of coastal areas, disruption to ecosystems, and adverse effects on human health are just some of the direct threats.

In spite of this, and the related social and political consequences that climate change can have over the region, climate negotiations have been over the years underestimated by Arab countries, with the exception of the Arab oil producer’s countries which followed the negotiations in order to defend their own economic interests.

The small number of journalists, civil society organizations or clean energy specialists from the Arab and Middle East world, together with the weakness of the positions of most of their delegations does not look to be counteracted with the assistance of some of its top leaders: Mubarak, Bouteflika or Ahmadinejad together with Salam Fayyad from Palestine, Abbas El Fassi from Morocco, Prince Hamzah from Jordan, Hariri from Lebanon and the Ministers of Environment of Syria and Turkey among others, are expected to come to Copenhagen.

However, COP15 has to be a turning point. The Arab world cannot ignore a problem that will affect directly its whole 500 millions population. So the real work starts after the end of the conference: creation of special units at the top levels of governments with enough executive capacities to put countries on the track of low carbon sustainable systems; establishment of public-private partnerships aimed to implement the different financial mechanism that will be decided in COP15; training of senior staff in the different environmental, financial or political areas affected; awareness and education campaigns for the whole population, etc…  Are we ready?


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