Dubai: The Arab cities will face a water shortage of 100 to 133 billion cubic meters per year by 2030 - an incident which will be the biggest economic, social and environmental challenge faced by Arab countries, said the UAE minister of Environment and Water.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed yesterday between the Environment Centre for Arab Towns (Ecat) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) during the Integrated Water Resources Management conference.
As part of the MoU, the environmental impact of the major cities in the Arab world will be monitored to give UNEP a city-specific outlook on what is happening in the 22 countries in the region.
Water, and the lack of it, is high up on the political agenda in many countries and part of the MoU's task is to find solution to fast depleting water resources.
Dr Mohammad Saeed Al Kindi, Minister of Environment and Water, said water resources management has always been on top of the government's strategic plan, and has recently declared water as a basic element of its infrastructure development policy.
"A study on the underground water reserve, construction of damns to enhance and nourish ground water reserve, rationalisation of water use in agriculture by using modern irrigation methods, construction of desalination plants and sewage treatment plants and using treated water in city landscaping projects and educating the public on the significance of water conservation are some of the steps taken by the government in this regard," said Al Kindi.
"Governments should facilitate sustainable development of water resources by laying down integrated water policies and regulatory frameworks. There should be stronger partnership with the private sector in this regard," he said.
Dr Habib Al Habr, director and regional representative of UNEP, told Gulf News he was optimistic that the city-reports on environmental damage would be done in time to pin-point strategic problems and find solutions.
"We will aim to publish the GEO city [Global Environment Outlook] reports by the end of next year. UNEP has a major programme to analyse cities every four or five years but more from a national assessment. We're changing this to look at cities particularly," said Al Habr. "The problems of cities are very important and can affect the environment of a country. The problems faced here are similar to other countries. In Dubai the main issues are water, waste, energy, transport or development on the shoreline."
According Dr Radhiya Al Hashimi, director of Ecat, there is still time to take action and limit the damage.
"Water issues are the biggest problem. The conference will allow experts in similar situations to swap case studies and solutions. We don't have a very aware society and people don't know," she said.
Abu Dhabi has begun its GEO city analysis.
MENAFN - Arab News: Arab States to Face Acute Water Shortage
Arab News - 24/05/2007
Arab states would face a water deficit of 100 to 133 billion cubic meters per year by 2030 and it is going to be the biggest economic, social and environmental challenge facing the Arab nations, warned Dr. Saeed Al-Kindi, UAE minister of environment and water, while addressing the opening session of a workshop titled "Integrated Water Resources Management" at Dusit Dubai yesterday.
"Water resources management has always been on top of the government's strategic plan, and the government has recently declared water as a basic element of its infrastructure development policy" he added. "A study on the underground water reserve, construction of damns to enhance and nourish ground water reserve, rationalization of water use in agriculture by using modern irrigation methods, construction of desalination plants and sewage treatment plants and using treated water in city landscaping projects and educating the public on the significance of water conservation are some of the steps taken by the government in this regard," he explained.
The workshop, which was organized by Environment Center for Arab Towns (ECAT), Dubai Municipality and the United Nations Environment Program-Regional Office for West Asia (UNEP-ROWA), was also addressed by Hussain Nasser Lootah, acting director general of Dubai Municipality, Dr. Habib Al-Hebar, director and regional representative of UNEP-ROWA, Ghassan Samaan of the Arab Towns Organization.
During the ceremony, a memorandum of understanding was signed by the ECAT and UNEP-ROWA as part of the GEO-Cities initiative of the UNEP which will provide the center with advanced concepts in environment management that are suitable for Arab cities.
The MOU was signed on behalf of the ECAT by Hussain Nasser Lootah, who chairs its board of trustees, and Dr. Habib Al Hebar, director and regional representative of UNEP-ROWA.
The Independent: Nuclear power consultation launched
Published: 23 May 2007
A five-month consultation on the "significant role" new nuclear power stations could play in cutting emissions and diversifying energy supplies was launched by the Government today.
Ministers made clear they want new nuclear power stations to be built, sparking a fresh row with environmental campaigners who accused the Government of peddling a "failed policy".
Trade and Industry Secretary Alistair Darling said it was the Government's preliminary view that it was in the public interest to give private energy firms the option of investing in new nuclear building projects.
A 20-week public consultation started today and will run until October 10.
Mr Darling also told MPs that the amount of electricity from renewable energy will triple to 15% by the year 2015, as he published the Energy White Paper.
Mr Darling said: "We face two big challenges - climate change and maintaining stable and affordable energy supply in an increasingly unstable world. The Energy White Paper sets out a long-term framework for action to address these challenges at home and abroad.
"The UK is also becoming increasingly dependent on imported oil and gas at a time when global demand is accelerating.
"We will ensure that we make the most of our substantial remaining reserves in the North Sea, have a diverse range of sources for our imports and make further progress opening up markets in Europe and more widely.
"With a third of our current electricity generation capacity due to close in the next 20 years, there is also a pressing need for investment in new low carbon sources."