The ESCWA region is facing critical natural resource problems. Climate change, population growth, food insecurity, water scarcity, extreme weather events and regional tensions over shared water resources are challenges that make effective management of natural resources to promote sustainable development imperative. Member countries have shown a growing interest in assessing the impact of climate change, including extreme weather events, and socioeconomic vulnerability. They are increasingly keen to promote renewable energy, energy efficiency and productive sectors, notably small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The Sustainable Development Policies Division (SDPD) of ESCWA works with the Arab countries on sustainable management of natural resources at the national and regional levels, with an emphasis on water and shared water resources, energy and efficient production. It also promotes commensurate economic policies.
Reliable water supplies, good sanitation, sustainable agriculture and the use of affordable, environmentally sound technology to foster rural development are among the priority areas of concern to the SDPD.
The Arab region contributes less than 5 per cent to global greenhouse gas emissions but is one of the most vulnerable to the potential ravages of climate change. In recent years, the region has suffered from rising average temperatures, leading to hotter summers and more frequent heat waves.