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Environment Strategy

Middle East and North Africa


The long-term green challenge for MENA is to sustainably maximize wealth creation from fragile natural resources. Water scarcity is aggravated by increased degradation of water quality, which primarily affects the region’s poor. High population densities and economic and population growth have accentuated the pressures on natural resources and environmentally sensitive ecosystems, putting further stress on water and land. Air, land, and marine-based pollution threaten the region's cities, waterways, and shared seas. Managing vulnerability to climate change impacts such as drought is a key challenge. Learn More. Read the Executive Summary in Arabic


The region’s shared seas programs support environmental management capacity building of the riparian countries to address pollution reduction, improved water and marine resources management, renewable energy, and sustainable fisheries. The MENA-Desert Ecosystems and Livelihoods Program is a 10- to 15-year program that aims to enhance livelihoods from desert ecosystems by harnessing their value in an environmentally and socially sustainable manner. Continued commercialization of low-carbon, renewable energy options is another important goal for the region. Concentrated solar power is closest to economically viable energy storage. It is therefore in a strong position to become a long-term renewable energy option, without the need for fossil fuel backup. The World Bank is working with the African Development Bank and other partners to accelerate its expansion in the Region. Smarter urban design and development is also a priority. Building codes that drive greater water and energy efficiencies, smart approaches to urban transport to reduce congestion, and integrated solid waste management that also reduces leaching and resulting groundwater contamination are important areas of focus. The World Bank Group is supporting efforts to map groundwater resources and increase the use of treated wastewater, and to analyze the economic costs and environmental implications of desalination. Learn More. Read the Executive Summary in Arabic

Last updated: 2012-05-29

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