The Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung Foundation (HBS) in Ramallah, along with their Beirut and Tunis offices, hosts their Second Regional Summer School. This year they’re tackling two aspects of climate strategies specific to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) : the question of gender-sensitivity in adaptation efforts, and the impacts of climate change upon resource-challenged urban life.
Workers in NGOs and civil society organizations, activists, young professionals, post-grads and researchers active in the fields of climate, gender and environment are urged to apply.
Here’s an open call for applicants to attend a free boot camp for social and environmental activism in Amman, Jordan from September 30 through October 4. Deadline for application is 4 August 2012.
Specifically, the program will:
- Promote networking among regional activists and researchers
- Provide a platform for exchanging ideas and experiences
- Strengthen research aimed at sustainable solutions for climate, adaptation strategies, gender and environment
Although climate change is blind to political borders, MENA countries seem most affected.
Increased average temperatures, erratic precipitation, and sea level rise threaten 340 million people in the Arab world. Climate change imperils economic growth and the ability of communities to protect and enrich their livelihoods. Particularly at risk are populations already vulnerable owing to factors such as geography, poverty, or minority status.
The HBS website states, “Worldwide, women comprise about 70% of those living below the poverty line, and are likely to bear the heaviest burdens when natural disasters strike. Despite this fact, many adaptation strategies do not address gender issues and thus fortify existing risk-imbalances while ignoring women’s capacities as potential contributors to climate change solutions.”
Impacts of climate change upon urban areas deserve scrutiny: increasing population and high rates of regional urbanization, especially within coastal zones, make cities particularly susceptible.
Hence, this summer’s two-pronged theme:
1. Gender-Responsive Climate Change Adaptation
Climate change impacts aren’t gender neutral. Generally, the poor are most vulnerable as they are more exposed and their adaptive capacity is reduced. Gender inequalities are a reinforcing factor: HBS stats indicate MENA women are more likely to be poor than men. (Is there any nation where the inverse is true?)
Women are often responsible for farming and household management, especially in rural areas, but they lack access to resources and opportunities and have limited participation in decision-making. Women hold potential as positive agents of change and contributors to livelihood adaptation strategies. Says HBS, “Ignoring them as key stakeholders limits every strategy’s potential. Gender equality is both a development goal in itself and a condition for the achieving sustainable development. ”
Can you identify specific local gender-related issues and develop strategies to address them? Knock out a two-pager explaining your ideas, it could be your ticket to Summer School.
2. Urban Livelihoods and Living Conditions
“In 19 out of 22 Arab countries, the annual urbanization rate exceeds the rate of population growth with the exceptions of Djibouti, Bahrain, and United Arab Emirates (countries with over 75% urban populations). As climate change intensifies, urban centers will face growing risks from storms, floods, heat waves and water shortages”, says HBS.
Ironic that places most at risk are often the nations and cities that have contributed least to the problem. A strict call for a shared responsibility is imperative.
Got ideas on how to balance resource drains caused by eco-migration to cities and away from flood-prone areas? How would you manage large-scale mobility away from agricultural zones undermined by water scarcity? Get typing and write no more than two pages.
Listen up campers: here’s how to be considered:
The Summer School is designed to build skills and stir debate about urgent current policy: the international lecturers want an earful of your regional viewpoints. Methodology will be varied, including lectures, group discussions and workshops.
To qualify, have at least two years of work or research experience in the fields of climate, adaptation and mitigation strategies, gender and environment. Have a good command of written and spoken English.
Be resident of Palestine, Jordan, the Gulf, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, or Algeria and preferably be aged between 25 and 35 years old (although age is not a rigid stumbling block).
Complete the online application, and attach your CV. Add a short paper (2 pages maximum) on one of the topics, highlighting its relevance to your local or national context: introduce an exemplary project, or a current debate. Your paper can be in essay format: written in Arabic or English. Aim to illustrate your knowledge, creativity, and ability to work independently.
Travel and accommodation costs will be covered by the Heinrich Böll Foundation. In addition, 2 campers will be invited to participate in the HBS delegation to COP18 in Qatar at the end of the year.
HBS views climate change as a fundamental human rights issue.
Can anything be more knotted with human rights than environmental rights? A healthy environment is a socioeconomic right, comparable to those promoted by the 1966 United Nations Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Heinrich Böll was a Nobel prize-winning German author who didn’t establish the Foundation but rather symbolizes its political and philosophical standpoint. Non-profit HBS is affiliated with the German party Alliance 90/The Greens. HBS champions environmental justice and sustainable development; they have over 30 offices worldwide.
Time’s a-wasting. File your application this weekend, then go change the world.
Image of Woman in Bedouin Tent by Shutterstock