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Protecting the future.

Byline: Mandeep Singh

FUTURE generations are at high risk in the region due to economic policies affecting environmental sustainability, experts warned yesterday. The deteriorating environmental conditions will lead to serious water shortage in the region and the rest of the world, they added.

However, measures taken by Bahrain and other Gulf countries were a step in the right direction, World Association for Sustainable Development (WASD) president Allam Ahmed said.

He was delivering a keynote speech at the WASD seventh international conference on the 'Impact of the Global Financial Crisis on Environ, Energy and Sustainable Development', at Crowne Plaza Hotel's Bahrain Conference Centre.

The three-day event, organised by Ahlia University in association with WASD, aims to explore global viewpoints about the effect the global financial crisis may have on achieving sustainable development, particularly in developing countries.

It is being held under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa and attended by Works Minister Fahmi Al Jowder.

"The Gulf countries, particularly Bahrain, are doing better than most and that is an encouraging sign," Dr Ahmed said.

"Clearly, they have to do much more so that our future generations are safe as far as the environment is concerned."

He said overall, the performance of the entire world was not very satisfactory with regard to the different internationally-agreed targets and so far very limited progress had been achieved by a few countries.

"The deterioration of the environment in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), for example, is a major challenge for all countries in the region with nearly 90 per cent of its surface consisting of desert.


"Rich countries in the region are not performing very well, showing that a nation's economic status does not always correspond to its environmental sustainability index performance," he said.

He said all this can impede productivity and add to energy costs through the need for investment in generating capacity.

"We are also concerned with the developments, particularly in the non-Gulf countries that are squabbling over water, land reclamation and issues concerning environmental pollution."

Ahlia University president Professor Abdulla Al Hawaj said the conference would focus on case or country studies on technological innovation and experience as well as how to manage them effectively.

"This multidisciplinary conference has attracted a large number of global experts and scholars as well as WASD members."

He said the university would continue to demonstrate its commitment to fostering academic excellence and working towards creating a sense of environmental consciousness.

National Bank of Bahrain chief executive officer Abdul Razak Al Qassim said the last two years had seen unprecedented financial and economic turmoil.

"Leading economies of the world have spiralled into recession, major financial institutions collapsed or required government support to rescue them from bankruptcy, unemployment has risen, trade flows have decreased and some venerated names of yesteryear no longer exist."

He said co-ordinated action on a massive scale by governments and central banks was taken to minimise the adverse effects of the crisis.

"Although there is no consensus yet, it appears that the worst is probably behind us.

"Commercial, investment and central banks as well as governments need to understand the causes for the unprecedented meltdown the financial markets witnessed.

"This will allow regulations, risk management procedures and industry practices to be modified to guard against a similar crisis in future."

Copyright 2009 Gulf Daily News

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:Nov 10, 2009
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