Climate Change is one of the greatest threat of our lives and every year parties meet for United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Conference of the Parties (COP) 21, which was held in Paris last year, was attended by 120 heads of state including 11 from the Middle East and North Africa countries.

MENA region is already under threat from severe heat and humidity. The next COP will be held in one of the MENA countries on November 2016, in Marrakesh. One of the issues that will be on the spot is the complex relationship between climate change and the governance in the MENA region. The contribution of the Arab world to global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) is estimated at 4.2%. Under the UNFCCC agreement, countries around the world have indicated the level of commitment that they are willing to make as a reduction of the GHC emissions. Arab countries, by signing the Paris Agreement, became a part of the global fight against climate change.

Morocco was the first Arab country to submit its INDC, or the intended nationally determined contribution, which are commitments of each country in mitigating carbon emissions. This keeps the pressure that comes with Morocco as the host of the 22nd conference of the Parties. Morocco has an ambition goal of reaching 50% renewable electricity production by 2025. Also it plans to reduce fossil fuel subsidies which determines her seriousness of the climate change intention.

Morocco also has other strategies to reduce emissions and to combat global warming. It also has many other investment plans, which make it the most progressive African country in planning for climate change.

Aside from Morocco, Tunisia is also giving importance on climate change in terms of its political and economic agenda. Tunisia is the first country in the region to recognize climate change in its new national constitution.

However, there are still Arab countries who depend highly on energy imports such as Jordan, which was the first Arab country to develop a national climate change policy in 2015, and Lebanon, which has its progressive steps targeting to reduce GHG emissions 15% by 2030.

Egypt is highly exposed to the climate change effects as well. The government is trying to take steps such as the creation of the Egyptian National Strategy for Adaptation to the climate change and the disaster risk reduction. It has also integrated climate change in its National Strategy for Sustainable Development.

Arab countries are facing an economic and political challenges which are barriers of any progress in the climate change. The new Paris Agreement provides for the Arab countries a starting point for facing the climate change issues.

Countries in the region are suffering year after year from the extreme heat and the humidity, which causes a threat for the biodiversity and the natural ecosystem.

The MENA region needs to do a radical change in using the renewable energy to provide a clean future for the next generations.

Despite the changes in the climate change policy and the organizations efforts in the MENA region, the Arab countries seems to still not be ready in implementing the Paris Agreement. COP 22 in Marrakech, expected to focus on the implementation of the Paris Agreement, will pose a great challenge for Arab countries.

Aya Kathir

About Aya Kathir

Aya Kathir is an Egyptian freelance writer and research in Human Rights field and Climate change. She has got a bachelor's degree in French Literature from Cairo University, Egypt. She resides nowadays in U.S. She contributed in translating the handbook of Climate tracker, the Arabic version. She writes articles in Arabic, French, and English as well on websites as eraenvironment.com