Palestinians' other fight in the Middle East – for green development
Palestinians seek to build a secure, sustainable state – and incorporating green building practices and technologies into its development is key to that stability. Improved environmental security contributes to the security of the whole Middle East.
Ramallah, West Bank
Everyday in Palestine we address economic and social conditions, physical restrictions, and political contests that challenge both the present and the future as we attempt to build a viable and independent Palestinian state.Skip to next paragraph
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These difficulties are well-known to the Palestinian people and those around the world. But another challenge that we must face, far less frequently discussed in the context of Palestine, is climate change. This is not only for Palestine but for the whole of the Middle East.
Last year, the United Nations published the latest Arab World Human Development Report. The Report highlighted that the Middle East region is particularly at risk to the effects of climate change: desertification, water shortages, reduced agricultural production, and population transfers – such as “environmental refugees” – straining already limited infrastructure. These are just a few of the effects we could see.
The economic implications of climate change are enormous. Despite the region being one of the lowest producers of greenhouse gases and air pollution, we live in one of the regions most likely to be affected.
Palestinians' green construction
It is with this in mind that, in Palestine, we are increasingly recognizing the importance of integrating green construction practices into our vision for building a viable, secure state. We must consider not only human and economic security, but in order to ensure these, we must also consider environmental security. Without ensuring that we proceed to ameliorate the effects of climate change, we cannot be assured that our efforts in construction of towns, homes – and a state – will not be undermined.
It was encouraging, therefore, to see President Obama’s recently launched policy directive on global development emphasize the importance of initiatives to counter climate change as being essential to his vision for long-term sustainable economic development and human security. Such an announcement makes it explicit that economic vitality and environmental responsibility go hand in hand.