Wednesday, 26 January 2011
“The blue peace: Rethinking Middle East Water ‘’ by the Strategic Foresight Group
The water crisis in the Middle East can be transformed into an opportunity -the blue peace where any two countries with access to sustainable water resources don’t feel motivated to engage in military conflict. And this can be only achieved through new short term and long term regional policy instruments for water security in seven countries in the Middle East: Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, and the Palestinian Territories. This was the conclusion drawn from the Strategic Foresight Group which is a leading think tank based in India with global reach headed by Mr.Sundeep Waslekar. The Strategic Foresight Group report was discussed in the “The blue peace: Rethinking Middle East water” event which was held on Wednesday the 19th in Carnegie Middle East Center. This report was prepared with input from almost 100 leaders and it provides scenarios for water availability for the seven countries under different circumstances by 2030 and recommends new policy measures. According to the statistics found in the report,the river flows in Turkey , Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan have depleted by 40% from 1960 to 2010.For instance, the Yarmouk River declined from 600 million centimeter(MCM) to about 250-300 MCM per year while the Jordan river ,which its basin covers parts of 5 states: Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine declined from 1300 MCM to 100 MCM. The flow of Euphrates in Iraq decreased about 18 billion centimeter in 2009 which was considered a drought year. The drought impact is strongly felt in the leanest months in Turkey, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq where the average monthly flow of a river is 3-5 % of the annual flow. The Jordan River does not exist for almost six months and the average flow in the leanest month can be only 1 MCM. With regards to Yarmouk, Euphrates and Tigris, riparian countries continue to disagree about the actual amount of flow of the rivers across boundaries. In fact, in 2010, the world witnessed disagreements, depleting rivers, climate risks, economic limitations and low technological base. But through the 6 components of the Cooperation Council for Water Resources which are: principles of cooperation, standardizing measurements, common goals for sustenance, regional climate change model, new technologies and basin level joint projects we can reach in 2020 the rejuvenation of Rivers, climate cooperation, economic growth and high technology .According to the National climate change reports and international experts, the summer temperatures will rise from 2.5-3.7 degree Celsius and the winter temperatures will rise by 2-3.1 degree Celsius over the next 50-70 years, resulting in faster evaporation of surface water in the Middle East. Regarding desertification, it is expected to affect Syria ,turkey ,Iraq and Jordan-around 60% of the land in Syria faces this threat. In turkey ,about 80% of the depletion has occurred over the last decade and the konya basin faces complete desertification by 2030.Dust storm have worsened due to the drought and decrease in vegetation. Practically, the report calls for a regional developed climate change models for 2010 -2100 to combat climate change and desertification.
The strategic foresight group report indicates that the present water level in the Dead Sea is 420 meters below sea level and will be 450 meters below sea level by 2040.The water surface area has reduced about 313 square km. If the surface water level in the Dead Sea continues to erode it will be reduced to a lake in 50 years, and will eventually disappear altogether. Moreover, there is unequal internal distribution of water due to the countries topography and geography. For example, Damascus and Hama are in the western part of the country while the Euphrates flows are in the eastern part. So the report recommends to address the internal disequilibrium.
Dr .Fadi Comair, the president of Mediterranean network of river basin organization (MENBO) introduced a new concept called “Hydrodiplomacy of international watercourses in the Near East region “.Actually, it is based on the application of regional cooperation that creates dynamics of transboundary basin economic development. Nowadays, any nation development depends on water quality and quantity availability. The conflicts on transboundary watercourse between riparian states will intensify and a number of steps should be taken to guarantee the equitable use of water resources for the population of the south east of the Mediterranean basin:
1-Shared water resources management:
-Regional cooperation framework to provide the countries domestic water needs and food security.
-Economic development policy while preserving the international basin ecosystems.
2-legal aspects which are still texts for conflict resolution:
-UN 1997 convention on the non-navigational of international
-European Union water framework directives
-Union for the Mediterranean water strategy (which is still rejected by Israel)
3- The Transboundary Basin Organization
-Equitable sharing and reasonable utilization
-obtain necessary funds to develop the basin’s water management and infrastructure
-Decision making and efficient solutions
4-Develop information systems to access the results of the hydrological measurement, the analysis of the basin water quality, the hydroelectric production with a preliminary annual program for every country
5-Develop research programs concerning resources, socio-economic aspects of basins.
6- Sharing knowledge by organizing of national and regional forums on water.
Dr. Fadi discussed the hydrodiplomatic negotiation for the rationalization of agricultural practices and domestic water use:
-Improvement of Irrigation and fertilization methods
-Implement water users association
-Reuse treated wastewater for this sector
-Improvement of irrigation and fertilization
-Apply the “pollutor-pays” concept
-Implement technical control system to prevent river degradation
-Establishment of wastewater treatment plan
From 1984 to 1994, the conflict about Nahr el Kebir River between Syria and Lebanon was on its peak, but through Nahr el Kebir agreement there was a cooperation from 1999 to 2002.Nahr el kebir agreement states that:
1-Lebanon allocates 40% of the total flow
2-Syria allocates 60% of the total flow
-Joint stocking dam
-Surface area of irrigation
4-Installation, maintenance, measurement of meteorological data, volume and flow of water
5-The watercourses states must protect and preserve the ecosystem
-The joint committee of water and/or the ministries of both states
Problematic with Lebanon:
1) Issue of the Hasbani-Wazzani:
- Water stress situation in Lebanon: 50l/day
2) Issue of Shebaa farms:
The report of the foresight group recommends that the total of Jordan river basin conventional water and non conventional water which is consisted of canal red-dead sea/Med-dead sea, treated waste water, desalination and sea water springs are a 4 billion m ³/yr which should be equally divided between the shared basins in order to return Golan heights (Syria) and Shebaa farms (Lebanon).To sum up, water can be the force of understanding and promote the application of the “peace culture” in the ME.
Thursday, 20 January 2011
Beeatoona launched an event for the e-cycling project for a better future. This project is funded by USAID, Transparency and accountability ِِ
Grants (TAG), and Amideast Lebanon. KHALIL SHEHAB SCHOOL-MAKASSEd was invited to the event on Thursday November 30, 2010 and it was attended by Reine Hably and Rawaa Shehab.
E –waste contains toxic materials that are harmful to humans and the environment and these elements become really dangerous when devices are broken or went to garbage where there are burned.
Ministries in Lebanon witness a lack of process and disposal facilities and there is no legislation to manage these e-wastes. E-cycle prevents us from health and environmental risk.
According to a questionnaire done by beeatoona 65% of the people are not aware of e-waste hazardous disposal danger.
According to the UN report there are an increase of 40,000,000 ton yearly of e -waste and this
Will increase to 500% in the coming years because of the increasing use of electronics.
Ministries disposal of e-wastes:
1-35% are sent away, mainly to the garbage
2-65% are stored
Some types of e-wastes:
1- TV and Pc monitors
2- Computers and computer peripherals (e.g. web cams, keyboards, scanners, printers, usb flash memory)
3- Audio and stereo equipment (e.g. Mp3 players,dvd,vcr and cd players,etc,)
4- Corded and wireless communication devices
5- Fax and copy machines
6- Video game consoles
7- Batteries,adaptors,chargers and ups
8- Cell phones
Some toxic materials founded in the e –waste and their effects:
1-Arsenic founded in Microwaves and switches cause Cancer-diabetes.
2-Lead founded in Computer or TV monitors causes paralysis, coma and death.
3-Mercury founded in Batteries, flat screens and switches causes Diarrhea, lung damage-kidney and fetus development damage
Recycling helps reduce the amount of waste that goes into landfills, reducing the amount of toxic chemicals absorbed into the earth.
How is e-cycling done? :
Act responsibly by sending your broken electronic appliances or those that you have been storing for a long time for recycling .No more hazardous disposal of e-waste!!
Four easy steps for a better future:
1- Start collecting e-wastes and batteries from your home, school, and neighborhood
2- Look for the nearest e-cycle point on www.ecycle-me.org .E-cycle points are generally located inside computer retail shops and now there are 60 points of collection across Lebanon.
3- Drop your e-waste and batteries at the e-cycle points
4- Promote e-waste recycling by telling everyone you know
Plug Into The E –Cycle Movement launched by Beeatoona, an non government organization (01-249 653)
Green IT conference
Green IT conference, for the first time in Lebanon, was organized by “Formatech”, supported by Microsoft and Green party of Lebanon. Bank Med is the green exclusive sponsor. The conference took place in Universite Saint – Joseph on Wednesday 15th of December .Khalil Shehab Primary School was invited to the conference which was attended by Reine hably and Zeina shehab. A representative of the Minister of the Environment started the conference by encouraging the Lebanese forces to conduct internal procedures to contribute to a better future. Planning and Action are required to achieve an eco friendly environment. People that may help in the internal procedures are UNDP and companies’ assistants. Cost-benefit analysis should dominate the economical system of any company. Bank Med offers BM credit cards to finance environmental projects. Mr.Charbel Nakhle from “Formatech”sheded the light on global warming and Corporate Social Responsibility concepts. According to researchers, the causes of the global warming are diverse. Some believe that the main cause goes to the high emissions of carbon di-oxide CO2; others believe that the sun is getting hotter and the remaining researchers believe that the global warming is caused in part by the greenhouse effect that results in spreading many gases such as: CO2-CH4-N2O-HFC3. Global warming is highly persistent when high emissions of CO2 are combined with water vaporization. The effects of global warming are erosion, loss of wetlands and fresh water drinking supplies. Another environmental threat is the increase in sea level due to absence of effective damns. Half of the world’s population lies along coasts so this problem targets a large audience. Mr.Nakhle introduced the role of Green IT in driving an efficient, modern business, encouraging large energy and cost savings. Green computing refers to environmental sustainable computing .Greening your computer equipments is a low risk. Computer energy is often wasted when leaving computer on when not in use. The fan, CPU and screen savers consume power. Some toxic materials found in the electronic advices are lead, mercury and cadmium. These substances when thrown in the garbage where they will be burned will result in many negative and mortal consequences. The lead used in soldering printed circuit boars and other components cause damage to the central and peripheral brain. The mercury spreads out in water transforming to methylated mercury leading to a chronic brain damage. According to researches, in 2010 new users of computers in china and India are more than 178,000,000 and 80,000,000 respectively. This dramatic increase should be incorporated by IT eco-friendly green solutions:
1-Re-use of the PCs by giving them to Mosques, churches and libraries
2-Refurbish: change the memory and the CPU to be able to use the computer for a longer time
3-Recycling : plastic is found all over the parts of the computer
4-video conferencing to reduce travel costs
5-using LCD projector to reduce paper waste.
6-Use power saver mode
Here are some Go Green challenges:
1-charge your business units for their energy usage. Put a plafond to drive down the energy usage and requirements.
2-Google Desktop gadget for XP and vista that optimizes your power setting
3-Data center redesign
4-Cooling through dynamic fresh air
5-Using hardware virtualization .Decrease the number of physical servers by having virtual servers and this result in decreasing servers’ heat, maintenance and environmental consumption
Then MR. Ghassan chahine announced Microsoft commitment to software and technology that help people and organizations all over the world to improve the environment. Microsoft goal is to reduce the impact of their operations and products, and to be a leader in environmental responsibility.
What Microsoft is doing?
1-reduce the 3% of energy consumed by software driven devices
3-partner with leading environmental companies
4-Decrease carbon footprint
5-invest to decrease environmental impacts
6-Increase ICT to save energy use
7-reduce and monitor the CO2 emissions from: data centers, real estate infrastructure and travel
Then there was a listing of Microsoft advanced environmental monitor and control:
1-Re-inventing the data center
2-Air side economization \Air ventilation
3- Microsoft cloud computing
4-Window 7 already built to reduce energy of ICT
5-Eye on earth (global observatory for environmental factors where people can check the quality of air and water)
6-Microsoft Hohm where citizens can check the impact on the environment and be recommended to buy a solar water heat
7- Microsoft International project “Imagine cup”. In Lebanon, USEK University won during the project competition and it is a green university for the coming 10 years. After the project, there is a room in the university that measures the CO2 emissions.
Finally, Mr.philippe skaff introduced the green party of Lebanon: ‘’الحزب الخضر اللبناني “as a party that cares about the environmental prosperity and introduced briefly a demo of the Beirut Green River project .
This project tend to clean Beirut River and harvest all around it green spaces that will be surrounded by huge gardens, parks, buildings and restaurants. This project needs to be funded by the government, municipalities and the wealthy investors.