Environment and Energy

Challenges in the Arab States

As confirmed in the recently published UNDP Arab Development Challenges Report, sustainable use of natural resources is a serious long-term development challenge facing the Arab region. There are three overarching environmental challenges in the region: More

Our Goals

UNDP strengths national capacity to support sustainable, low-carbon, climate-resilient development pathways and advance poverty reduction efforts. Among the UNDP Regional Centre in Cairo’s environmental work are the following themes: climate change adaptation and mitigation (including climate finance), sustainable management of biodiversity and ecosystem services, policy assessment through the sustainable livelihood framework, integrated waste management tools and policies, and equitable, rights-based-access to environmental resources and services.more

Protecting the environment

Sea-level rise could lead to the inundation of the region's lengthy coastal areas, where the majority of the population lives, and lead to significant structural damage. In urban areas in North Africa, a temperature increase of 1-3 degrees could expose 6-25 million people to flooding. Rising tides and further erosion are also a particular threat to the region's small-island states, as well as the natural and man-made islands in the Gulf. In addition, salt water intrusion could contaminate ground water, leading to severe land degradation and biodiversity loss.

Our Stories

  • The Ministry of Commerce and Industry officials while destroying air-conditioners from stores that didn’t meet the country’s energy saving requirements. (Photo by: SPA)

    Government join forces to implement energy efficiency labels

    Through comprehensive use of energy efficiency standards and labels, Saudi Arabia aims to reduce demand for energy consumption over the next 20 years. The Saudi Energymore

  • Small farmers from Upper Egypt and beneficiaries of the UN joint programme check on their produce. Photo: UNDP/Egypt

    In Egypt, small farmers embrace the entrepreneurial spirit

    When the Arab Spring blew over Egypt in early 2011, most investors predicted chaos and fled, pushing already massive unemployment even higher and plunging the economymore

  • A 3,000 cubic metres water tank is now serving more than 50,000 residents of Rafah in the occupied Palestinian territory. (UNDP PAPP)

    Provding safe water in Gaza

    Rafah, occupied Palestinian territory—Water is scarce in the occupied Palestinian territory and present supplies barely meet the needs of the Palestinian people. Over 13 percent ofmore

Projects and Initiatives

Arab Climate Resilience Initiative

The objective of ACRI is to support and build resolve among national partners and regional stakeholders to formulate integrated, cross-sectoral and regional responses to the challenges of climate change and to facilitate practical and cooperative adaptation to ongoing and future impacts, whilst furthering gains in human development in the Arab countries. more

Water Governance Programme for Arab States

Through the Regional Water Governance Programme, UNDP provides technical and policy support, capacity building and seed funding to promote the effective use and management of scare water resources in Arab countries. The programme is designed to address regional water challenges resulting from geographic and climatic conditions; lack of peace and security; population growth and increasing water demand; inadequate access to clean water and sanitation; insufficient capacity and limited resources; in addition to deficiencies in data and monitoring. Currently, eleven Arab countries have joined the project namely Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Libya, Occupied Palestinian Territories, Qatar, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia. more

Mobilizing Funding from the Global Environment Facility

GEF grants support projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants. UNDP helps country partners in the Arab States take advantage of this resource from the proposal stage to the implementation stage. more

Drylands Development Centre

The UNDP Dry lands Development Centre, assists the Arab states in fighting poverty and encouraging development in the drier parts of the region by emphasizing their productive potential in the context of broad development planning. The Integrated Drylands Development Programme (IDDP), is currently operational in 17 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and the Arab States as well as regional and international levels. more

Video: “Every Drop Matters"
A documentary on water governance in Arab States: Stories of community-based solutions to water scarcity


Every Drop Matters (2013) addresses the issue of water scarcity exacerbated by climate change in Arab states. This documentary features a number of water governance pilots that the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s Regional Bureau for Arab States (RBAS) has been supporting in the Arab region. It presents the experiences of communities from 5 countries (Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, and Tunisia), who talk about the impact of water scarcity on their daily lives and how community-based solutions have changed their lives. The documentary also emphasizes the need to link to policy-making initiatives at the national level with efforts at the regional and global levels.

This documentary was produced by the Regional Bureau for Arab States at UNDP, with support from the Coca-Cola Foundation.


Watch more videos
Water Governance in the Arab Region: Managing scarcity and securing the future

The report provides the Arab countries and the international community, donors, and other stakeholders with an extensive understanding of the water situation in the region. In laying out the building blocks of good water governance needed to manage increasing water scarcity, it seeks to strengthen dialogue, raise awareness, and advance progress towards water-related development goals across the region.


Download the report