We are absolutely thrilled to announce the launch of a new blog that will devote itself to climate change in the Arab world, a looming disaster that has been eclipsed by the rather more dramatic social and political events dominating the region’s discourse.
It’s easy to think that social and environmental issues are separate and that the first should take priority, but as we have pointed out on numerous occasions, people are nought without the land and water that sustain them.
In other words, if we degrade our natural resources on earth, we also diminish our own chances of survival.
The Middle East is incredibly vulnerable to climate change. Not only do we have low-lying coastal areas that could eventually become swallowed up by rising seas, but our deserts are expanding, and our groundwater resources are drying up.
People living in Jordan, Gaza and Yemen understand all too well that water is no longer a given, even though it is the most fundamental need of all life. Gaza in particular is hard hit and researchers estimate that has soon as 2020, it will be unlivable!
And yet, apart from Green Prophet and a few isolated artists and bloggers here and there, very few people in the Arab world have publicly taken it upon themselves to open up dialog and promote policymaking that address the very real and present threat that climate change poses to Middle East stability.
Which is why Mr Batir Wardam, a Jordanian environmentalist whose specialities include natural resource management, environmental policies and communication, has launched a climate change blog written from the perspective of a longstanding government researcher.
Mr. Wardam has 15 years working experience with national academic institutions, NGOs, the government of Jordan and international and regional environmental organizations such as the UNDP, UNEP and IUCN, he writes in his biography.
Currently he is working as the national project manager for the preparation of Jordan’s 3rd National Communication Report to the UNFCCC. A two year project funded by UNDP and GEF, Wardam plans to use it as a springboard from which to communicate climate change developments and policy changes in the region.
“The lack of visionary political leadership, the dominance of core economic and social challenges and the absence of information sources has always crippled this region’s work on climate change,” writes Wardam.
“This blog will not claim to provide all answers but will strive to provide information and a platform for discussion.”
If you want to understand how governments and leaders in the Arab world are preparing for and responding to climate change, watch the Arab World Climate Change blog, where Wardam has already accumulated a body of insider knowledge that would interest any concerned environmentalist in the region.
Image of ancient city of Petra in Jordan, Shutterstock