THE FUTURE OF ARAB ENVIRONMENT
THE FUTURE OF ARAB ENVIRONMENTTHE FUTURE OF ARAB ENVIRONMENTTHE FUTURE OF ARAB ENVIRONMENT
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Amman, 27/6/2010
 

AFED Message to Arab Leaders:

A chance is at hand to achieve progress in climate negotiations

Arabs are most affected and reaching an agreement is in their best interest

 

Amman, 27/6/2010

The Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED) disclosed during a ceremony in Amman, under the Patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein, a memorandum that AFED had sent to Arab leaders on the preparations for the climate change negotiations at the Cancun Summit in December. During the event, which was held at the Royal Cultural Center in Amman and attended by a host of government officials, diplomats, business leaders, academics and media, AFED also presented the main results of its report on "Impact of Climate Change on Arab Countries."


HRH Prince Hamzah

HRH Prince Hamzah bin Al Hussein, President of the Royal Advisory Committee on the Energy Sector, represented King Abdullah and delivered the opening address in which he stressed the need to seriously tackle the challenges of climate change, especially as the Arab region is among the most affected by its serious impacts, namely water scarcity, drought, sea level rise and decreased food production.

Message to Arab Leaders


AFED Secretary General Najib Saab

AFED Secretary General Najib Saab presented the memorandum that AFED had addressed to Arab governments on the upcoming Cancun climate change summit, saying that: "The role that Arab countries should play towards achieving practical results and effective agreements is not merely an obligation, but a real necessity for the Arab region, which has an undisputable interest in an international binding agreement to mitigate climate change as well as to adapt to its serious impacts, especially that the Arab region is among the most affected by it. In order for Arab countries to benefit from the international support which they need to adapt to the effects of climate change, they need to play a constructive role in achieving an effective international treaty when the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012."

The memorandum went on to state that: "It is true that the leaders who gathered at the Climate Summit in Copenhagen in December 2009 were unable to arrive at a binding and comprehensive agreement; however, 100 countries that collectively represent 80% of global greenhouse gas emissions agreed on the necessity to limit the increase in average temperature to under 2 degrees Celsius, and some of them adopted, for the first time, mitigation strategies and national targets, while others pledged funding. Even though the completion of a comprehensive and binding treaty may not be possible in Cancun, many other possibilities are still at hand to achieve meaningful progress."

The message reaffirmed that the outcome of the Copenhagen Summit and the negotiations that followed showed that it is possible to achieve in Cancun progress towards practical measures in five issues, which are: Energy efficiency and renewable energy; Technology development and cooperation; Adaptation assistance for least developed countries; Avoided deforestation, land management, and combating desertification; Transparent mechanisms for funding and fulfillment of the Copenhagen pledges. The memorandum also called on Arab countries to focus on "The continuation of negotiations to reach a comprehensive treaty. Cancun provides an opportunity for achieving tangible progress in "building block" agreements that would provide immediate reduction in emissions, and address Parties' interests towards energy security and economic development."

AFED concluded by affirming that "Challenges facing the Arab world due to climate change are immense, but we believe that it is possible to succeed if Arab countries undertake fast and efficient steps, primarily in their own interest and for their benefit, especially in the fields of water and energy". AFED also hoped that the Cancun conference "Will be a chance to affirm a constructive and effective Arab presence, so that Arabs, as major stakeholders, can be full partners in arriving at the needed decisions."


The Panel

Panel Discussion

A panel discussion which followed the presentation was chaired by former Prime Minister and Petra University president Dr. Adnan Badran. Panelists were Dr. Nabil El-Sharif, Minister of State for Information & Communication, who addressed the "Role of Media on Environmental Awareness", Mr. Khalid Al Irani, Minister of Energy & Mineral Resources, who discussed the "Role of Energy Policies in Confronting Climate Change Challenge", and Mr. Hazim Malhas, Minister of Environment who discussed the "Jordan National Report on Impact of Climate Change". Najib Saab joined the panelists to argue the importance of a strong Arab presence in the climate negotiations, leading to a fair, comprehensive and binding agreement.


Panel speakers from left HE Dr. Badran, ministers El-Sharif, Irani and Malhas and Najib Saab.

 
The audience


Welcoming HRH Prince Hamzah

A letter to Arab Leaders

From the Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED)

On Climate Change Negotiations in Cancun

 

22 June 2010

The Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED) is honored to present this note in the hope that it would catalyze a constructive Arab contribution to the upcoming Climate Change negotiations in Cancun, Mexico, in December. The role that Arab countries should play towards achieving practical results and effective agreements is not merely an obligation, but a real necessity for the Arab region, which has an undisputable interest in an international binding agreement to mitigate climate change as well as to adapt to its serious impacts.

AFED report entitled Impact of Climate Change on Arab Countries showed that the Arab region is among the most affected by some of the most serious impacts of climate change, namely water scarcity, drought and decreased food production, sea level rise, and human health deterioration. In order for Arab countries to benefit from the international support which they need to adapt to the effects of climate change, they need to play a constructive role in achieving an effective international treaty when the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.

It is true that the leaders who gathered at the Climate Summit in Copenhagen in December 2009 were unable to arrive at a binding and comprehensive agreement; however, 100 countries that collectively represent 80% of global greenhouse gas emissions agreed on the necessity to limit the increase in average temperature to under 2 degrees Celsius, and some of them adopted, for the first time, mitigation strategies and national targets, while others pledged funding. Cancun offers a chance to recognize and consolidate these concrete actions, and ensure that financing is mobilized in support of these efforts as soon as possible.

Even though the completion of a comprehensive and binding treaty may not be possible during the 16th Conference of the Parties (COP 16) in Cancun, many other possibilities are still at hand to achieve meaningful progress.

AFED believes that it is in the interest of Arab countries to support the continuation of negotiations to reach a comprehensive treaty. Cancun provides an opportunity for achieving tangible progress in "building block" agreements that would provide immediate reduction in emissions, and address Parties' interests towards energy security and economic development.

The outcome of the Copenhagen Summit and the negotiations that followed showed that it is possible to achieve in Cancun progress towards practical measures in five issues:

•1.      Energy efficiency and renewable energy

•2.      Technology development and cooperation

•3.      Adaptation assistance for least developed countries

•4.      Avoided deforestation, land management, and combating desertification

•5.      Transparent mechanisms for funding and fulfillment of the Copenhagen pledges.

These "building blocks" would also help establish trust among nations making it easier to reach a future agreement on binding commitments for addressing climate change and its impacts.

We realize that the challenges facing the Arab world due to climate change are immense, but we equally believe that it is possible to succeed if Arab countries undertake fast and efficient steps, primarily in their own interest and for their benefit, especially in the fields of water and energy.

We trust that your wise leadership will make the Cancun conference a chance to affirm a constructive and effective Arab presence, so that Arabs, as major stakeholders, can be full partners in arriving at the needed decisions.

 

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