The Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Alexandria, Egypt, and the Future Earth MENA Regional Centre recently signed a “Terms of Reference” to guide the joint efforts of both institutions to enhance and strengthen Future Earth in North African counties. The Cyprus Institute in Nicosia, Cyprus, has hosted the MENA, or Middle East and North Africa, Regional Centre since 2014. Participants from Future Earth and Egypt and other African countries discussed the details of this collaboration during a meeting in Alexandria earlier this year.
The MENA region is comprised of Arab, Middle-Eastern and North African (Maghreb) countries alongside Cyprus, Israel, Turkey, Iran and nations of the Arabian Peninsula. This region is characterized by strong environmental and climatic gradients but with common bio-geographical characteristics. It is home to around 350 to 500 Million people.
This large portion of the planet is also what scientists call a climate change “hot spot.” The area will likely experience above-average increases in (summer) temperatures and decreases in precipitation over the next few decades. The expected impacts of these changes are likely to exacerbate ongoing transitions and challenges caused by major and disruptive social, political and economic developments in large parts of the region.
Future Earth’s MENA Regional Centre aims to facilitate joint efforts between scientists, decision-makers and the broader public to address major sustainability challenges facing these nations. Future Earth, which seeks to foster innovative mitigation and adaptation strategies to environmental change in the MENA region, provides a tangible framework to achieve significant and lasting progress.
Countries in the MENA region, though sharing similar bio-geographical characteristics, each have specific cultural, historical and political backgrounds. Given this complexity, the Future Earth MENA Regional Centre strongly welcomed the Bibliotheca Alexandrina’s offer to assist in involving Northern African countries in establishing Future Earth more concretely in the region. The Regional Centre and the Bibliotheca have already launched frequent consultation, joint initiatives and co-sponsored workshops and conferences to pursue their collaboration.