Nearly three million Muslims perform the Haj every year. The Haj pilgrimage, during which Muslims from around the world travel to Makkah in Saudi Arabia to perform religious rites, is considered to be one of the largest gatherings of people in the world. Allah says in the Quran: “Fulfill the pilgrimage and make the visitation for Allah. If you are prevented, then whatever offering that may be easy” (Surat Al- Baqarah, 196). Haj is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is a mandatory religious duty for Muslims, which must be carried out at least once in a lifetime by every adult Muslim who is physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey. Haj is not just a form of worship, but also a way of understanding the meaning of life. It teaches Muslims equality by bringing together people from different cultures and races to Makkah to worship God. It is well known that Haj is a spiritual and moral journey that helps Muslims to thank Allah for all the blessings. At the same time, protecting and conserving the environment and its natural resources is also a religious duty that all Muslims have to fulfill. However, very often during the Haj season, Muslims do not pay attention to the importance of protecting the environment and natural resources. This paper is structured in four sections: the first section addresses the environmental issues and concerns associated with the Haj; the second section looks at the Saudi efforts to overcome various environmental challenges associated with the Haj; the third section provides some insights into possible options and steps to deal with and alleviate some of the environmental stress associated with the Haj. The concluding section provides a short summary of the points raised earlier.
Saudi Arabia lies in the arid and semi-arid region of the Arabian Peninsula, and it is the largest country in the world without rivers. Despite unfavorable climatic conditions and scarcity of natural water resources, it has succeeded in meeting most of the water requirements of its rapidly growing population.
In September 2015, world leaders chose the sustainable development path for thenext fifteen years after agreeing on seventeen Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) with 169 targets. The SDGs were clubbed under the title “TransformingOur World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” They will build uponand replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the eight internationaldevelopment goals established in 2000 in the Millennium Summit of the UnitedNations. This paper discusses the major differences between SDGs and MDGs andassesses, briefly, each of the seventeen SDGs in relation to the Gulf CooperationCouncil (GCC) countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and theUnited Arab Emirates) in terms of current status and future prospects.
In a new GRC Gulf Paper, Shahram Chubin looks at the widespread changes occurring in the Middle East from the Levant to the Gulf which reveal a region in the midst of a comprehensive upheaval. The author argues that while the region is in an unprecedentedly fluid state, neither the length of the transition nor the outcome of the current transformation is predictable. A principal theme of the paper is the degree to which regional politics have been the product of local dynamics and forces and the marginal impact of outside powers, even in the Cold War and the decade of unipolarity following it.
While promoting environmental integration among the GCC countries may seem to be a peripheral priority in political exchanges, it is an incentive as well as a tool for nurturing better relations among these countries. The overall aim of environmental integration is to pursue a sustainable development policy and thus achieve a better quality of life for people in different countries. For the GCC countries, this concerns common environmental policies, positions, and standards that are adopted by each member state in order to ease and facilitate economic and political integration. In fact, environmental integration in this regard aims at promoting sustainable development in order to provide a long-term vision that involves combining a dynamic economy with social cohesion and high environmental standards. As the GCC economies continue to expand and grow, environmental challenges and issues will grow as well. Thus, full environmental integration (i.e., on positions, policies, institutions, regulations, and projects) should be viewed as a mandatory step in the right direction. Otherwise, the GCC risks losing what has been achieved and even drawing back on development and quality of life
This volume presents the outcome of an Agriculture Workshop organized by the Gulf Research Centre Cambridge (GRCC), and held at Cambridge University, UK during the Gulf Research Meeting 11-14 July 2012. Co-directed by the editors, the workshop, entitled “Environmental Cost and Changing Pace of Agriculture in the Gulf States” was attended by participants from Australia, Bahrain, India, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, UAE, UK, and Morocco. These scientists, educators, researchers, policy makers and managers share their experience in agriculture in the Gulf States, with the aim of helping to improve agriculture production and thus bridge the gap between local production and the food import. The papers gathered here were presented at the workshop, and have all passed through rigorous peer review by renowned scientists. The diverse papers present various aspects of agriculture production in the evolving face of climate change and dwindling water resources in the region. The book covers topics such as the prospects of agriculture in a changing climate; the potential of climate-smart agriculture; the impact of food prices, income and income distribution on food security; improved efficiency in water use; challenges in using treated wastewater in agriculture; investment in foreign agriculture and agricultural research and development. The papers span the nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council, with speciﬁc case studies set in Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait.
Saudi Arabia lies in the arid, semi-arid region of the Arabian Peninsula and is the largest country in the world without rivers. Despite unfavorable climatic conditions and scarcity of natural water resources, it has succeeded in meeting most of the water requirements of its rapidly growing population so far. Water consumption in the Kingdom increased at a CAGR of 2.6% from 1970 and reached 17,903 million cubic meters (mcm) in 2010 or about 653 m3 per capita, about 35% higher than the global average. The rise in water consumption was led by a nearly five time increase in population during the same period (1970–2010), higher urbanization levels, which increased from about 50% to over 80%, and increased industrialization.
This paper was presented at the EU-GCC Renewable Energy Policy Experts’ Workshop, an international meeting organized by the Gulf Research Center, EPU-NTUA and Masdar Institute, and is being published by GRC within the framework of the Promoting Deeper EU-GCC Relations project supported by the European Commission. Collaboration efforts and synergies between the EU and the GCC relating to numerous thematic clean energy topics, including energy efficiency and demand side management (DSM), have attracted interest from both sides, which continues to grow. The aim of this paper is to utilize the existing know how in the field of Demand Side Management and investigate its potential applicability in the GCC environment. Following a thorough review of the existing situation in the GCC, it is clear that a number of barriers inhibiting the further promotion of DSM programs exist, the most important being structural, as well as market-related barriers. The paper suggests that the proposed DSM initiatives at this point should not focus on technological aspects, but rather primarily on relevant legislative and financial aspects. These DSM initiatives were discussed in depth with GCC stakeholders and energy experts, in order to create a priority shortlist for a number of DSM activities relevant for the region.
GCC environmental action needs to be discussed and critically assessed to bring its pros and cons into focus. This study traces the GCC environmental experience and the member-countries’ attempts to spread environmental awareness at various levels. It outlines the environmental action taken within the GCC states and attempts to connect the recent past, the current challenges and the prospects in the future vis-à-vis this issue. The study, which highlights the overwhelming pace of change in the present world, is concerned with an array of GCC environmental issues, drawing attention to the fact that these issues are not restricted to Gulf States but are shared, in varying degrees, by many parts of the world.
The scarcity of water resources and increasing gap between demand and available supply of water in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries is a major challenge facing the development sectors. GCC countries have an extremely dry climate with rare rainfall, high evaporation rates and limited non-renewable groundwater resources. At present, all GCC countries, except Oman, fall in the critical water scarcity category. In addition, subsidies and other incentives offered by governments with the aim of increasing the level of food self-sufficiency have contributed to unrestricted use of non renewable groundwater resources. This coupled with a lack of clear policies geared toward optimizing and managing the scarce water supplies within the GCC region has contributed to wasteful and uneconomic practices, as well as to the inefficient mining of non-renewable supplies. However, in recent years, all GCC countries have made substantial progress in their respective campaigns for water resources management, especially in the area of development of non-conventional water resources. Increased collaboration is urgently required in order to satisfactorily implement the numerous action plans that have been envisaged as part of the water resources policies of GCC countries.
The phenomenon of climate change and its impact on environmental systems is one of the major global problems that has drawn the attention of scientists for half a century or so. Studies indicate that human activities, including burning of fossil fuel and changes in the use of land, are responsible for rising levels of greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. Although the contribution of GCC states to global warming is quite small (not more than 1 percent), the fragile environmental systems of these states, the social services they provide, and their biodiversity will definitely be affected by this phenomenon. This is in addition to the possible impact of climatic changes both on public health and the economies of GCC states. This study presents the reasons for and impact of climate change. It provides an environment-based assessment of this phenomenon in GCC states, using the DPSIR framework. Based on an analysis of the major Gulf environmental systems that could be affected by climate change, the study proposes a structure for potential policies to ameliorate such effects and adapt to them, in addition to a strategy for advancing environmental awareness. The study recommends the formation of a joint GCC commission to monitor the impact of climate change on the Gulf States. The author calls for more in-depth studies to explore the environmental and socio-economic impact of climate change. Also, the study stresses the need for public awareness programs to promote the role of the community in understanding the various aspects of climate change and their potential impact on the Gulf region as a whole. It also calls for training of a professional cadre in the field of environmental sciences to deal with these issues.
he Gulf region has witnessed rapid socio-economic transformation in the last few decades. These changes have resulted in unprecedented pressures on the environment and natural resources in the Gulf region. To bring about change in any sphere, it is necessary to influence the thinking and action of every section of society. It is, therefore, extremely essential that the youth of today understand, assimilate and demand answers to crucial environmental issues which affect their present, and will drastically impact their future as well. This book contains 10 student papers which were chosen by an international panel of experts based on the abstracts received from university students in the UAE and presented at the Youth Conference on Environment, "Green Gulf: Threats, Challenges and Solutions," organized by the Gulf Research Center, Dubai and TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute), New Delhi in association with American University of Sharjah.
This research paper identifies the major environmental features of the GCC countries, as well as Yemen, in terms of habitats, species, and environmental quality. It also assesses the environmental status and the major environmental challenges facing the region. The Environmental Features component was drawn from the World Wildlife Fund's description of the terrestrial eco-regions of the geographical area examined for this study. Although primarily a political and economic organization, the GCC is important for environmental matters as well. The region is at the centre of many key geo-political issues of our time, from world energy strategy to societal changes. This socio-economic background did shape, and is still shaping, the region and has obvious consequences on the environment. The analysis revealed that the countries of the GCC and Yemen are facing numerous environmental challenges and have many conflicting priorities, from economic diversification, water supply and food security to environmental protection and conservation. However, the research finds that environmental issues and requirements are still not amply integrated in the long-term development planning of the region, nor are they addressed at the policies level.
Abstract: The GRC Environment Research Bulletin is a quarterly newsletter that aims to document relevant information about the different environmental challenges and opportunities for the GCC states and their potential impact on the sustainable development of the region. The Gulf region is witnessing increasing stress on its environment and natural resources as a result of rising population, rapid urbanization and industrialization. The Gulf Research Centre is keenly aware of the environmental challenges faced by the GCC states and has launched this research bulletin to deepen the awareness and understanding of environmental issues. The Environment Research Bulletin covers a wide range of environmental issues including, Water, Air, Land, Waste, Biodiversity, marine environment as well as Environmental Policies. The bulletin also showcases activities undertaken by the GRC as part of its environment research program.
The Gulf region has witnessed rapid socio-economic transformation in the last few decades. These changes have resulted in unprecedented pressures on the environment and natural resources in the Gulf region. To bring about change in any sphere, it is necessary to influence the thinking and action of every section of society. It is, therefore, extremely essential that the youth of today understand, assimilate and demand answers to crucial environmental issues which affect their present, and will drastically impact their future as well. This book contains 10 student papers which were chosen by an international panel of experts based on the abstracts received from university students in the UAE and presented at the Youth Conference on Environment, "Green Gulf: Threats, Challenges and Solutions," organized by the Gulf Research Center, Dubai and TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute), New Delhi in association with American University of Sharjah.