At the 30th Ministerial Session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) held from 25 to 28 June, member States of the Arab region welcomed the establishment of an Arab Centre for Climate Change Policies.
The resolution establishing the Center complements the “Beirut Consensus on Technology for Sustainable Development in the Arab Region,” which is a declaration that reaffirms the commitment of Arab States to work together on harnessing the power of technology and innovation to build a more peaceful, prosperous and just future for everyone.
Held under the patronage of the President of the Lebanese Republic, Michel Aoun, ESCWA’s 30th Ministerial Session focused on technology and innovation for decent employment and empowering youth, and how frontier technologies can strengthen social inclusion, supportive governance and environmental sustainability in the Arab region.
“The fourth industrial revolution presents an opportunity for Arab countries to invest in new solutions that technology can offer to economic, social and environmental challenges,” said Roula Majdalani, Director of the Sustainable Development Policies Division at ESCWA.
“The establishment of the Arab Centre for Climate Change Policies shows that ESCWA member States are committed to taking necessary measures to achieve sustainable development, which includes measures to increase climate action and alleviate the impact of climate change on current and future generations,” she stressed.
At the heart of its mandate, the new Centre will help build the capacity of Arab States and their institutions to integrate climate-related issues into national and regional development policies and programmes.
It also builds upon the recent findings of the first Arab Climate Change Assessment Report issued in September 2017 by ESCWA and its partners implementing the Regional Initiative for the Assessment of Climate Change Impacts on Water Resources and Socio-Economic Vulnerability in the Arab Region (RICCAR). The study highlights that the Arab region will experience average temperature increases of 5oC by the end of this century and more frequent extreme weather events, which are increasing the vulnerability of people and water-dependent sectors, especially in the Arab region’s least developed countries.
Addressing these challenges is in line with efforts to achieve global goals adopted in the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015 by the global community.
“This new Arab Centre for Climate Change Policies will ensure the multidimensional aspects of climate change are taken into account in work on water, energy, food security, and more,” Ms. Majdalani added. “Sustainable development can only be achieved if we tackle these interrelated challenges together and in partnership with national, regional and international institutions.”
The Arab Centre for Climate Change Policies is expected to expand ESCWA’s capacity building support to Arab States by:
- Providing technical assistance and advisory services to Arab States;
- Building the capacity of Arab States and regional stakeholders to strengthen institutional frameworks and develop programmes and policies;
- Supporting regional platforms to harmonize positions and build regional consensus;
- Promoting comprehensive responses to climate-related challenges affecting water, energy and food security;
- Providing access to knowledge products and to regional data and information using the Regional Knowledge Hub;
A progress report on the implementation of the Centre will be provided at ESCWA’s next Ministerial Session in 2020.
Other resolutions adopted at the session include “Support for the Palestinian people,” and “Developing the work of the Technical Committee on Liberalization of Foreign Trade, Economic Globalization and Financing for Development.”