UNDP and the Government of Morocco Launch the Arab Climate Resilience Initiative Regional Forum
Rabat, Morocco ― The Arab Climate Resilience Initiative Regional Forum opened here today, bringing together high-level officials from over fifteen Arab countries to build consensus around a future course of action on climate change in the Arab region. Over 100 participants are in attendance, including government officials, and representatives from regional organizations, the private sector, environmental organizations, research centers and multilateral institutions. The Forum is co-organized by UNDP and the Secretariat of State in Charge of Water and the Environment of the Government of Morocco.
“Climate change is a development challenge that is both complex and vitally important. It is essential for all Arab countries to come together, demystify the challenge and lay the foundation for a concrete and coordinated response,” said Amat Al Alim Alsoswa, Director of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Arab States and UN Assistant Secretary General. “The Regional Forum we inaugurated today is intended for exactly this.”
The three-day event will begin today with four technical sessions:
water scarcity, drought and population mobility;
sea-level rise, coastal erosion and human development;
resources, challenges and opportunities for sustainable energy; and
the importance of local development in addressing climate change.
During the sessions, participants discussed the findings of regional consultations convened earlier this year by UNDP and Arab Governments on these key priority areas that have been identified by Arab regional organizations and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Building on today’s technical discussions, sessions during the second day of the Forum will be led by Arab Ministers and senior officials, and will result in a regional framework for action that provides a range of options for national governments, in partnership with many actors, to make decisions on climate change and pave the way for long-term climate resilience. The framework for action will be presented for endorsement by participants in tomorrow’s closing plenary session.
“There is a good deal of discussion and research on climate change at the global level. The challenge is to localize the discussion in the Arab context, and identify the most appropriate and concrete entry points for action by governments and partners,” said Alsoswa. “We are hopeful that this Forum will be catalytic in this regard.”
This leading gathering on climate change in the Arab region brings together a diverse set of stakeholders as well as high-level government participants. It comes at a time when there is international consensus that swift action on climate change in both adaptation and mitigation is required if the world is to avoid reversals in human development. Potential impacts from the warming globe include increases in water scarcity and desertification, sea-level rise, and extreme weather events.
Governments in the Arab region have endorsed the need to respond to climate challenge, most recently in the Declaration of the 2010 Arab Summit in Libya this March.
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