Tag: Middle East

Saudi Arabia spreads prejudice in the process

Oh, what a horrible dream! The Saudi delegation seem to be dreaming of a world made out men, only men, and a stream of pollution. Today’s fossil goes to Saudi Arabia for spreading prejudice within the process. The Saudi delegation has spoken out strongly against the recognition of gender equality in the implementation process.

Over four days they attacked the vital content on gender equality, and the need to promote urgent and effective gender-responsive climate policy. Our new climate agreement needs to promote gender equality, to effectively attend the varying impacts that climate change has on women and men, and to accelerate the benefits of meaningful implementation.

The European Union fell in disgrace along with Saudi Arabia for supporting, in public, the withdrawal of gender equality language. Dear, oh dear!

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Open letter from the Civil Society and youth of North Africa and the Middle East to the “Abu Dhabi Ascent” participants

We, the youth and civil society of the area comprised of the MENA region and the Arab World welcome you all to our region, and commend you on your efforts to fight climate change, which is an ever-growing concern for current and future generations. We also commend the government of the UAE for organizing this preparatory event.

We would also like to take this opportunity to call on all parties involved in the Abu Dhabi Ascent to take new direct and ambitious actions to ensure the success of the Climate Summit, taking place this September in New York, with the aim of reaching zero net greenhouse gas emissions, and achieving 100% renewable energy by mid of the century.

It has become impossible to deny the effects of climate change on the MENA / Arab World Region. In fact, the reality of climate change has become apparent and has factored into our everyday lives, with dire consequences and effects to our livelihoods. We live in one of the most arid regions in the world, and are surrounded by some of the saltiest bodies of water on the planet. The Arab world faces many environmental challenges such as water scarcity, low and variable rainfalls and great exposure to drought and desertification.

All that in addition to high poverty rate in the region makes the Arab world among the world’s most vulnerable regions to climate change. Climate change will only make these conditions worse on us, and the whole world population. If no effective adaptation and mitigation measures are set, the region will face huge reduction in agricultural productivity and water supply, more frequent drought and heat waves events, and loss of low-lying coastal areas due to SLR.

Thus, climate change will have significant implications on the economic and social development of Arab countries. We specifically call on the countries of our region to show leadership in the Summit, and use this opportunity to present new and ambitious pledges and contributions to mitigate climate change. As one of the richest regions in renewable energy sources developing a renewable energy master plan on the national level can help the Arab World to phase out from fossil fuels, the MENA / Arab World Region is well equipped to be at the forefront of achieving carbon neutrality and 100% renewable energy future.

Sincerely,

The Arab Youth Climate Movement (AYCM)

Greenpeace Arab World

The League of Independent Activists (IndyAct)

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Civil Society in the MENA region calls for renewable energy and climate protection

Civil society organizations dealing with the environment and renewable energy in the MENA region: We want to cooperate on the protection of the climate and get engaged in the political decision- 
making processes on low carbon development strategies and the promotion of renewable energy in our region 

On October 29th, just one day before the opening of the 4th Dii Desert Energy Conference in Rabat, key representatives from civil society organizations in the MENA region discussed the role civil society should play to contribute to the protection of the climate, to low carbon development strategies and the promotion of renewable energy in the MENA region. All participants agreed that transforming our fossil fuelled energy system into a sustainable one can only be accomplished through cooperation and dialogue among all relevant stakeholders. 

During the meeting it was reaffirmed that in order to achieve the required social acceptance for the energy transition in MENA countries it would be mandatory to develop it along the needs and interest of the civil society stakeholders who have, so far, only gained little traction in the debate. 

According to Fadoua Brour from the Moroccan Youth Climate Movement “The engagement of civil society becomes a prerequisite for the sustainable and successful implementation of renewable energies and measures of energy efficiency”.

With regard to the political changes in many MENA countries as a result of the Arab Spring Patricia Sfeir, Director of the Lebanese NGO IndyAct underlined that “People are demanding their right to participate in the energy transition in their countries and do not want to be seen as just passive recipients of foreign technologies. They are claiming a transparent and equitable distribution of socio-economic opportunities for the best of society”. 

At the end of the meeting, all participants agreed that the establishment of a consolidated and interconnected civil society framework would allow for more structured and effective engagement with the public and private actors in seeking a direct and equitable cooperation on climate protection, low carbon development and the promotion of renewable energies in the MENA region. 

“The discussions during this meeting have clearly showed that there is an urgent need to support the networking among MENA NGOs to collaborate on environmental and energy related issues, build capacities to enable civil society engagement in the context of developing and implementing national energy plans and increase awareness on the needed shift towards a sustainable energy future” noted Wael Hmaidan, Director of the Climate Action Network (CAN), while stressing the very positive spirit of collaboration in the meeting. 
 
For further information, please contact Ms. Patricia Sfeir, Director of the NGO IndyAct (psfeir@indyact.org) or Maria de Lope, WWF Morocco representative (mjdelope@wwf.panda.org). 

Obviously the world is changing…

 

Lama Ghaddar
IndyACT

Changes are happening on different levels: political, economic and demographic.

Arabs’ policies are changing too… the Arab region is already being impacted by climate change. They will have to survive through important economic challenges and environmental threats in the near future.

Arabs countries were drilling the earth for black gold and ignoring the climate change deterioration. What changed after hosting the 2012 December UN Climate negotiations (COP18) in an Arab Country? Apparently, Arabs are now more headed for green-growth policies that seek to make the processes of economic growth more environmentally friendly, more resource efficient and more resilient without slowing down their growth pace. Arabian governments are remedying the situation and they are looking and planning for strong strategies that enable them to implement and build their strength, resilience, and democratic institutions.

“Qatar and PIK announce creation of climate change research institute” a title that drew my attention. I thought that it is worthwhile to share it with the rest of the world.

A new Climate Change Research Institute and a Global Climate Change Forum are being set-up and it will be based in Qatar. It will seek to fill critical gaps in research on mitigation, adaptation and climate resiliency for key regions such as tropics, sub-tropics and dry lands. The aforementioned institutes are the first of their kind in the region. A country whose wealth is founded on fossil fuels, Qatar, will have much attention is directed toward itself. We are all waiting for the results of this amazing initiative, hoping that Qatar will inspire the rest of the Arab world to start developing longterm strategies that address the economic, social and environmental challenges facing this region. Governments should integrate into their policies and plans climate change mitigation and adaption to its effects.

Today Arab countries are undergoing seminal transitions politically and demographically. So together, Arabs countries and communities can make a progress towards an Arab green economy and a stable region. It is time to join developed countries and unite our efforts.

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Fresh Breeze from the Arab World

 

A milestone was passed today, when perhaps for the first time ever, an intervention by Saudi Arabia got an enthusiastic round of applause. Speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, Saudi Arabia delivered an intervention devoid of the finger-pointing that an ADP co-chair lamented about past sessions. The applause came when the Saudi speaker delivering the intervention stumbled over an unpronounceable English word, then recovered with grace, humour and dignity.

She went on to commit the Arab group to assume its fair share of efforts to combat global climate change, to move past finger-pointing, to implement new and renewable energy strategies, to delink growth from emissions, and then called for a principled approach based on equity and science. A breath of fresh air, and quite different from a Saudi intervention earlier this session that emphasised uncertainties in the climate science.

PS: After the advice offered from one of the co-chairs, no non-native English speaker should ever feel compelled to utter this 8-syllable word again. But even if it becomes treated as a 4-letter word, we still want it to happen!

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Arabs are more than just oil

Lama Ghaddar
IndyACT

The global campaign against climate change needs all the resources it can obtain, and the Arab world should not be an exception. The Arab world will not be safe from the impacts of climate change; in fact it will be one of the most affected regions. Arabs have to wake up and contribute to developing and implementing climate change solutions.

Always weak positions” this is what I can say when I read the history of the Arab region and its role in the climate change negotiations. This region should raise its voice louder and should be more effective in its positions and in the implementation of solutions. This region urgently needs leaders in climate change. And when I say leaders, I mean politicians, NGOs, Arab governments and opinion leaders… Politicians and Arab people are either not aware of the impacts of climate change or they are being delusional that combating climate change will affect their economic situations and will cause major damage to their countries.

This region needs progressive and strong political leadership that can activate public support, decision makers and financial resources for climate change solutions. Due to the lack of forward-thinking political leadership, the social challenges coupled with the absence of information and financial greed this region’s work on climate change has been crippled.

Arabs should seek to change the belief of the rest of the world that our nations are just oil countries and must convince them that “Arabs are more than just oil.” We can also contribute to enhancing sustainable development in a highly active region while rising economic and social capital.

Arab governments, NGOs, the private sector and academia need to take action soon before it is too late.

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Feelings after Doha

 

Lama Ghaddar
IndyACT

I am writing this from Lebanon, after I returned back from the Qatar National Convention Center in Doha for COP 18.

After 2 exhausting weeks and a very busy schedule consisting of attending sessions, side events and meetings, talking to delegates, doing actions and writing ECO-articles, here I am!! I went from a person who had zero experience or knowledge about climate change negotiations to someone who knows what KP, LCD, ADP and other eco acronyms mean.

One week ago, I was asked to write about my feelings at the COP, and my answer was simply: “I have neutral feelings”. Being asked that same question now, I can effortlessly say that it is the best feeling ever. I must confess that the last two weeks were a great turning point in my life; I’ve changed a lot on a personal level.

As this was my first COP, I didn’t have much background knowledge about it, but I learned a lot during my short journey to Qatar. I got to learn about the decision-making process: now I can say that I have a clear idea of how political games work.  I am sincerely disappointed by the failure of COP18, being that it was hosted in Doha- an Arab country! Why didn’t the Arabs lead? I expected Arab countries to give pledges to reduce GHG emissions since they have the financial power to do so. Why did they miss this opportunity?

There is no question that climate change is happening, but the main question remains: why are countries like Russia, Japan and Canada seemingly unaware of this global problem? We have an agreement on KP, but a weak one… is this the concurrence that we are looking for?

It is not the time to blame civil society, who had a very weak position and a feeble influence this year, nor the government. But we should always keep our positive outlook. Change doesn’t come without persistence and resistance and a lot of work (and struggle) is waiting for us.

We came to save the world, so let us keep this spirit….

 

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Doha talks on the brink; political leadership yet to arrive

    

Press release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

[Doha – Qatar] – December  6, 2012 – The Qatari Presidency of the UN climate talks  needs to show leadership now and help ministers finalise a deal in Doha that sees countries reduce their carbon emissions more quickly and provides adequate finance to help poorer countries deal with climate change in the next few years.

The climate talks – the first in the Middle East – are at a crucial juncture with key elements stalling despite the arrival on ministers yesterday, Wael Hmaidan, director of Climate Action Network-International said.

“Qatari political leadership has so far failed to materialise but there are two days left of the negotiations, so Qatar needs to, today, pledge to reduce carbon emissions put money for climate finance on the table in order to lift the political energy in the talks,” Hmaidan said.

“The presidency needs to bring together countries on the unresolved issues in these talks in a way that raises the ambition of climate action globally.”

Liz Gallagher, senior policy advisor from E3G, said the shape of a deal was starting to emerge with consensus being sought around the crunch issues on the Kyoto Protocol, but the long term cooperative track (LCA) was a mess.

“The disorder in the LCA track jeopardizes the entire Doha deal as well as progress towards an inclusive treaty in 2015,” Gallagher said. “We run the risk of having a zombie outcome here in Doha.”

“This is an urgent plea to ministers to roll up their sleeves and start driving the UN talks forward,” she said. 

Steve Herz, from the Sierra Club, said the main blockage in the LCA was climate finance -  which was crucial to achieving a deal which was acceptable to the countries most vulnerable to climate change. The US is trying to prevent discussion on how the countries would get to the $100 billion a year target. 

“The US risks snatching defeat from the jaws of victory if it keeps blocking action on finance in these talks because it risks bringing down the Durban Platform for a new deal which Washington fought so hard for last year,” Herz said.

Archived video footage from the press conference can be found at:

http://unfccc4.meta-fusion.com/kongresse/cop18/templ/ovw_onDemand.php?id_kongressmain=231

Contacts

Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 700 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels.

For more information, please contact CAN International Communications Coordinator Ria Voorhaar, email: rvoorhaar@climatenetwork.org, local mobile: +974 33 38 6907.

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NGOs respond to expected new emission reduction pledges

 

Media Advisory – Webcast Notice

 

[Doha – Qatar] – December 4, 2012 – Experts from NGOs who are members of Climate Action Network will be available to respond to the expected announcement by Qatar in the morning that it will pledge to reduce emissions.

Available to comment after the announcement are:

Wael Hmaidan, director of CAN-International, with expertise on the Middle East and Gulf region.
Contact: Ria Voorhaar - +974 33 38 6907, rvoorhaar@climatenetwork.org

Tim Gore, 
Climate Change Policy Advisor for Oxfam International, with expertise on climate finance.
Contact: Sunita Bose - +974 5504 6084, sunita.bose@oxfaminternational.org

Ruth Davis, chief policy adviser, Greenpeace, with an expertise on climate negotiations.
Contact: Tina Loeffelbein - +974 6618 6317, tina.loeffelbein@greenpeace.de.

Key NGO experts attending UN climate talks in Doha, Qatar, including Tim Gore and Ruth Davis, will also host a media briefing, webcast live, on Wednesday, December 5 at 15.30 on the Qatar pledge and the current state of the negotiations.

·      What: Review of current national pledges and update on the UNFCCC climate negotiations in Doha

·      Where: Press Conference Room 2, QNCC, Doha, Qatar

·      Webcast Live at:  http://unfccc4.meta-fusion.com/kongresse/cop18/templ/ovw_live.php?id_kongressmain=231

·      When: 15.30 local Doha time, Wednesday, December 5, 2012

·      Who: NGO experts on UNFCCC negotiations

Contacts

Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 700 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels.

For more information, please contact CAN International Communications Coordinator Ria Voorhaar, email: rvoorhaar@climatenetwork.org, local mobile: +974 33 38 6907.

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