UNEP Releases Arab Region Environment Outlook

15 March 2010: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has released a report titled "Environment Outlook for the Arab Region: Environment for Development and  Human Well-being," which outlines the multiple challenges facing the Arab region, from climate change and food insecurity to decreasing water availability and unemployment.

The report provides a comprehensive and integrated assessment of  the state of environment in the region. It was compiled at the request of the Council of Arab Ministers Responsible for the Environment (CAMRE), and underlines that important progress is being made to address sustainability.

UNEP notes that efforts have centered on the development of the environmental frameworks, including involvement of countries in the region in international treaties and agreements. It further stresses the present need to translate these institutional gains into concrete action aimed at catalyzing a transition to a low carbon, resource efficient "Green Economy." In particular, the report emphasizes that: the region is one of the most water-scarce in the world; biofuels and food security are among a suite of emerging and intertwined challenges facing the region; and the region is predicted to be among the hardest hit by the potential of direct and indirect climate change impacts. These predicted impacts include: loss of coastal zones; more severe droughts and desertification; increased groundwater salinity; and a surge in epidemics and infectious diseases.

Noting that climate change is likely to aggravate the environmental challenges faced by the region, Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director, stressed the need for the countries of the region to "constructively engage in the climate change negotiations as countries look to Mexico and the UN Climate Convention meeting later in the year."  [UNEP Press Release] [Report Website]