Monday, March 10, 2014

Conservation cooperation a ‘matter of survival’ for Arabs

Ola Al-Ghazawy in The Arab region’s best chance of facing the challenges of food insecurity, water scarcity and natural disasters lies in collaborating on environmental preservation, a study says. The study, published in The Lancet (20 January), argues that current academic discussions about health, population and development in the Arab region fail to convey the true level of urgency.

Rather than speaking about security — as is common in much development parlance — the report argues that the Arab world is facing threats great enough to call into question its survival, and calls for “using survival as an analytical concept in studying the dynamics driving the threats”.

Muna Abdel Aziz, a Sudanese consultant in public health medicine based at the Warrington Borough Council, United Kingdom, tells SciDev.Net that “the concept of survival indicates urgency whereas security does not necessarily convey this”.

Ecological sustainability is a key issue because population-environment-development dynamics have an interactive relationship with health, the report says. For example, environmental factors such as droughts can force urbanisation, and the city slums formed as a result can become a breeding ground for disease.

The paper adds that sufficient investment in disaster preparedness is beyond any single nation’s capacity, making collaboration essential. Abbas El-Zein, lead author of the paper and an associate professor at the University of Sydney, Australia, tells SciDev.Net: “We are arguing that collaboration around ecological sustainability offers the best chance of success in dealing with issues such as water scarcity, food insecurity and emergency preparedness”....

High-rises in Shibam, Wadi Hadhramaut (or Hadhramout, Hadramawt) Yemen. Shot by Jialiang Gao, Wikimedia Commons,  under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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