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Selected Editorials
Saudi Arabia's Quantum Leap to Green Era
Najib Saab
April 2021

With the launch of its green initiative, Saudi Arabia assumes a long-awaited role as a key player in environmental protection and climate change
Environmental Lessons From the Netherlands Elections
Najib Saab
March 2021

Electoral platforms of political parties typically cover topics such as the economy, employment, social benefits, taxes, education, scientific research, and foreign policy. However, the environment, climate change and sustainable development have recently become a staple of electoral platforms around the world
Towards Arab Green Recovery
Najib Saab
March 2021

As a glimmer of light began to twinkle at the end of the pandemic tunnel, it became imperative for Arab countries to initiate long-term recovery plans
Adaptation a way to accelerate climate solution
Najib Saab
February 2021

The UN Environment Assembly was virtually hosted last week by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) at its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya
Carbon Tax on Consumption?
Najib Saab
February 2021

While the Chinese deputy prime minister was addressing the Climate Adaptation Summit hosted by the Netherlands last week, the Chinese president was concurrently addressing the Davos World Economic Forum, online
Clean Solar Panels From Polluting Coal Plants
Najib Saab
January 2021

Listening to the statements at the annual assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), held in Abu Dhabi last week, one would think, at first glance, that the world has fully entered the era of clean energy and that the problem of carbon emissions has become a concern of the past
"Normal Weather"... No More
Najib Saab
January 2021

The term normal temperature is becoming something of the past, and will soon disappear from weather forecasts
Towards Climate and Environmental Literacy in Arab Countries
Najib Saab
January 2021

Literacy is a term that refers to the indoctrination of the basic principles of reading and writing, which is essential to secure proper communication among humans. However, climate and environmental literacy is a new concept, based in essence on stimulating good communication between humans and nature, as we cannot treat with love and respect, creatures and things that we do not understand
A vaccine for corona, but what about climate change?
Najib Saab
December 2020

It is hoped that 2021 will enter history as the year that witnessed victory over the most grave health calamity of our times
Biden Resets Climate Policy
Najib Saab
November 2020

When President Donald Trump leaves the White House in two months, some executive orders that he issued will depart with him, especially with regard to climate change and the environment. In a column published four years ago, I described Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement as a transient act, whereas climate change is a continuing reality and established scientific fact. Even though Trump's arrogance has delayed international action to deal with climate change, his actions were not supported by other major players, none of which withdrew from the agreement. On the contrary, other partners consolidated their commitments.
Health and environment in the time of corona
Najib Saab
November 2020

Although the environment has always impacted human health and wellbeing, the interconnectedness between the two is especially highlighted now, with the world in the grip of the corona virus pandemic, which like many other viruses, is of animal origins. Given this context, the topic of the 13th annual 2020 report of the Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED), Health and the Environment in Arab Countries, is particularly timely and relevant, addressing the most prominent health challenges facing humanity.
Urban forests for a moderate climate
Najib Saab
September 2020

Heat waves sweeping across the globe have bigger effect in cities. Buildings of concrete and steel trap hot air and block circulation, while dark asphalt streets and stone pavements retain heat and cover natural soil, wiping trees and plant cover. Car engines also contribute to rising temperatures, alongside air conditioners, which cool on the inside while expelling hot air outside. All this causes hot air to be retained and "thermal islands" to develop in specific spots within cities. The temperature in these areas may exceed 10 degrees of what it is outside the city limits, or even in open and green spaces inside the city itself.
Save the earth before your beautiful hair
Najib Saab
September 2020

Less than a week after the publication of figures on the unprecedented rise in global temperatures, a thermometer in Southern California's Death Valley soared to almost 55 degrees Celsius, according to the U.S. National Weather Service, the highest temperature recorded anywhere in the world in the past 100 years. Temperatures in Europe were also at their highest for several consecutive days, not only in the south of the continent, but also in the center and north of it. In parts of Europe, the temperature exceeded 37 degrees for a full week, and last year the Netherlands witnessed a temperature of over 40 degrees for the first time in history. While the temperature in Baghdad exceeded 51 degrees, in some areas of the Arctic the temperature even reached 38 degrees last June, leading to acceleration in the melting of ice. The detailed figures, published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the US, showed that every decade in the past sixty years has witnessed a higher average temperature compared to the previous decade.
We got the money, where to invest it?
Najib Saab
September 2020

Contrary to what was expected, governments, central banks, international finance institutions and development funds have succeeded in attracting a surplus of liquidity to face the economic repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic. The money collected from markets, at historically low rates, exceeded all estimates. Worldwide, economic investments in national recovery plans are expected to exceed $20 trillion for the next 18 months.
Do we need a new pact for the environment?
Najib Saab
July 2020

Since the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment released its Stockholm Declaration in 1972, more than a thousand international agreements dealing with specific environmental issues have emerged. The question is: To what extent have these agreements led to environmental action, and do we need more of them?
The age of bicycles and internet
Najib Saab
June 2020

When people went back to work in Geneva recently, breaking weeks of lockdown, they were surprised by unusually crowded roads. They first attributed that to an increase in the use of private cars, to avoid catching viruses due to close contact in public transport. However, they soon discovered that the congestion was actually due to allocating a lane of the road for bicycles.
How will the pandemic influence development goals?
Najib Saab
June 2020

Can the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) still be achieved on time by the 2030 deadline? The apparent answer is no, not only because priorities have shifted and resources will be diverted towards addressing other urgent matters, but also because achieving the SDGs successfully now requires new rules and methods.
Earth Resurrection Day
Najib Saab
22 April 2020

On 22 April half a century ago, 20 million Americans took to the streets, demanding serious action to protect the environment and preserve nature. This uprising, which remains the largest mass event in the world, triggered changes far beyond the United States borders. Earth Day, as it has been named, became an annual event across 192 countries.
Trump is transient coincidence, climate change is lasting reality
Najib Saab
June 2019

When I first met him 20 years ago, I did not notice that the veteran international banker had a particular interest in environment and climate change.
Saudi Arabia embraces green growth
Najib Saab
27 May 2019

While the notion of green economy was met with resistance a few years ago, it is now a vibrant item on the Saudi agenda. Some members of the "old guard" considered embracing green economy principles as a Trojan horse to disguise certain climate change commitments, which they considered a threat to the oil economy.
Timid Arab response to climate crisis
Najib Saab
May 2019

The global youth climate movement, which stormed the world over the last months, did not resonate in Arab countries. School strikes or public vigils didn't happen, and the response was limited to general support statements, issued by individuals and associations largely representing an older generation. Although they likely acted with good intentions, those environmental activists behaved as if they just wanted to join the trend by jumping on board a popular wagon.
Electricity is a prerequisite for electric cars
Najib Saab
April 2019

In an attempt to reduce pollution caused by the transport sector, the Lebanese government recently announced incentives to promote electric and hybrid cars. The measures comprised full tax and tariff exemption for vehicles fully running on electric motors, and a slightly lower reduction in fees on hybrid cars running on both electricity and fuel.
Environment action urgent, stop being complacent
Najib Saab
March 2019

Stop being complacent, show some urgency, and get real about implementing the goals you set in 2015 for achieving sustainable development. This unvarnished message is what Jock Martin of the European Environment Agency thought should be conveyed to world leaders, based on the findings of the sixth edition of Global Environment Outlook (GEO-6).
Climate between oil and meat, nations join the fight
Najib Saab
February 2019

While oil-producing countries did not object, this time, to reducing carbon emissions by enhancing efficiency and introducing renewable and clean sources as a key element in the energy mix, beef-producing countries on the other hand resisted the slightest reference to the impact of their production and consumption on the environment and human health.
Why the Poland climate summit succeeded
Najib Saab
January 2019

Despite all the hype and doomsday scenarios, the climate summit (COP 24) in Poland reaffirmed the commitment of countries to confront together a global dilemma that threatens everyone. The summit unanimously concluded with an arrangement that set practical steps to implement the Paris Agreement, in order to keep the global temperature rise well below 2 degrees C. True that they did not specifically commit to below 1.5 degrees as called for in the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which reflected scientific consensus; however, there was no fallback on the Paris commitments, and the process is moving toward 2020, the actual starting date for the implementation. This is also the time set for countries to make additional new commitments to reduce emissions.
Financing development based on human dignity
Najib Saab
November 2018
Over the past 10 years, the Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED) reports have identified the state of Arab environment in all its aspects and proposed solutions that have contributed to endorsing numerous environmental policies in the region.
Silent Death
Najib Saab
September 2013

As hundreds of tons of radioactive water were leaking from the wrecked Japanese Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant hit by the tsunami in 2011, thousands of people were being killed by chemical weapons on the outskirts of Damascus.
The nuclear power option in Arab countries
Najib Saab
May 2013

The earthquake that struck the Iranian Bushehr province in April 2013 reminded us of the nuclear reactor at Bushehr, and raised concerns about possible radioactive leakages. Such fears were to be expected, just two years after the nuclear disaster caused by the tsunami in Fukushima.
Let's not plunder the future
Najib Saab
December 2012

Demand for life-supporting goods and services in the Arab countries is twice the potential renewable resources that their ecosystem scan provide. This imbalance between domestic supply and demand for resources is a threat to future growth opportunities and quality of life.
The environmentalist minister of energy
Najib Saab
22 June 2020

Amid news about the increasing number of coronavirus deaths, confirmed cases, and the fear for new waves of the virus, other positive news has gone unnoticed. This includes news that proves that the will to live and progress is stronger than any pandemic or disaster. Few recent events stood out in this context at the environmental level.
Education on environment creates prosperity and stability
Najib Saab

When discussing environmental changes and challenges, and their relation to sustainable development, the role of education cannot be underestimated. A report released on 14 November by the Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED), tackles this issue and recommends a road map for integrating environment and sustainability into curricula. Entitled Environmental Education for Sustainable Development in the Arab Countries, the report traces signs that many Arab countries have begun to appreciate the key role that the environment should claim in their education systems.
Is renewable energy in Jordan victim of its success?
Najib Saab
"A victim of its own success? Jordan re-evaluates its power generation strategy," was the title of an article in The National Law Review, following the Jordanian government's decision to withhold licenses for new renewable energy projects. The sudden move came at a time when the Jordanian renewable energy sector had reached advanced levels and gained global acclaim as a remarkable success story. This resonated a similar decision one year ago, when Jordan revoked the tax incentives extended to encourage electric and hybrid cars, at a time when their share of new imported vehicles surpassed any other country in the world, exceeding 50 percent in 2017. This success in promoting cleaner cars made Jordan a model in the region and inspired similar regulations in other countries.
Sustainable Consumption for Better Resource Management - Preface
Najib Saab
November 2015

Annual reports on the state of the Arab environment, produced since 2008 by the Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED), have become a main source of information and a prime driver for policy reforms in Arab countries. Findings of the seven reports produced so far have clearly underscored the pivotal role of sustainable consumption patterns in any viable environmental management scheme.
Development in a Changing Arab climate
Najib Saab

Even if all conflicts and wars were to stop immediately, the Arab region cannot meet the target of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 using traditional methods. Many Arab countries have experienced collapse at gigantic scale over the past years, which has largely reduced their hopes to no more than re-establishing the status quo which prevailed in 2010, rather than achieving the SDGs by 2030
Arab Perspective on Rio +20
Najib Saab

Keynote Address at the 14th Meeting of the Mediterranean Commission on Sustainable Development (MCSD)

Budva, Montenegro, 30 May-1 June 2011
Food security needs to be more than just increased production
Najib Saab

Food Security in the 21st century was the subject of a report presented to the World Government Summit, held earlier this month in Dubai. The report calls for the adoption of agricultural technologies that are resistant to climate change and recommends five techniques to solve the problem of food shortages. These include: more greenhouses, growing crops in multilevel buildings within cities, aquaculture for fish farming, making meat in laboratories from animal cells and algae production as a source of protein.
Regional Cooperation to Bridge Food Deficit
Najib Saab
Rio de Janeiro, 20/6/2012

Arab demand on natural resources (footprint) amounts to more than twice what is available locally (biocapacity). This disparity, particularly signified by food deficit, is largely bridged by imports financed by oil exports, a model which is not sustainable, taking into account the increasing prices of biocapacity imports and the eventual depletion of non-renewable energy resources.what is available locally, and called to bridge the gap through efficient production and regional cooperation.
Green Economy is Re-Branding of Sustainable Development
Nairobi, 21 February 2012

AFED Secretary General Najib Saab was a panelist at a ministerial roundtable on Green Economy, during the UNEP Governing Council and the Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC/GMEF) in Nairobi on 21 February.
AFED Secretary General Talks about Green Jobs at ILO Conference in Kyoto
Kyoto, 5/12/2011

Secretary General of the Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED) Najib Saab addressed a special session entitled Green Jobs for a Sustainable Future, at the 15th Asia and the Pacific Regional Meeting of the International Labor Organization onvened (ILO), which convened in Kyoto, (Japan) between 4-7 December 2011. The conference was opened by Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihiko Noda. The special session on Green Jobs was moderated by Ashok Khosla, President of IUCN and the Club of Rome. Here are Saabs main key points in the session.
Najib Saab, 8/11/2018

The adoption of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the Paris climate change agreement in 2015 symbolized a defining moment in international cooperation. They both implied radical changes in the way development is perceived and realized.
Climate change, natural resources and conflicts in Arab countries
Najib Saab
The Netherlands, 10/2/2017

Najib Saab, secretary-general of Arab Forum for Environment & Development, presented this keynote speech today 10 February, at the Future Force Conference, hosted this week in The Hague by the Dutch Minister of Defense and the Chief of the Armed Forces of the Netherlands.
A Plan for Environmental Recovery
Najib Saab
Chapter in "Options for Lebanon" - 2004

It can be said without hesitation that the environmental crisis in Lebanon is rooted in the weaknesses inherent in the countrys prevailing political system. It is, unfortunately, a structure based on the distribution of profits among those in power, which encourages dealing with public resources not as a national common good, but rather as a milch cow to be shared among influential clan-chiefs, under the pretext of various religious, regional and provincial interests.
The Lebanese Coast
Najib Saab
Introduction of "The Lebanese Coast"- 2003

This book of photographs is unique in that it pictures the Lebanese coastal zone from the sea. What we have been used to in similar books was to look from land to sea; here we are looking from sea to land. This turning of the picture outside in is extremely significant since it provides for viewing the coast not only aesthetically but also environmentally, making many beauties stand out in a new perspective.
Who pays the bill at Climate Summit?
Second week of negotiations at the Climate Summit in Paris overshadowed by the question of who pays the bill. A draft agreement reached at the first week was put forward to the ministerial segment, with unresolved issues revolving around the distribution of responsibilities.

Arab Environment in 10 Years
ARAB ENVIRONMENT IN 10 YEARS crowns a decade of the series of annual reports produced by the Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED) on the state of Arab environment. It tracks and analyzes changes focusing on policies and governance, including level of response and engagement in international environmental treaties. It also highlights developments in six selected priority areas, namely water, energy, air, food, green economy and environmental scientific research.
Environmental Agenda
Environment in Arab Media
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