News From Around the Muslim World – January – February 2011

Bahrain: Wind-Powered Desalination for Bahrain

On January 31, 2011,  a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed on 31 January 2011 between Jade Consultancy of Bahrain and Synlift Systems GmbH of Germany, which will promote wind-powered desalination technology in Bahrain. The MoU will enable Jade to introduce green desalination technologies for the first time in the Gulf region. The consultancy will provide advice on business opportunities and the environment, customise the design concept of seawater desalination powered by wind energy and provide project management support. Jade Consultancy will use its wide experience to facilitate cooperation with research centres in the GCC countries on related issues of water desalination and wind energy. Synlift Systems has the expertise and the technical capabilities to conduct feasibility studies in order to implement combined or single wind-energy and reverse-osmosis desalination systems. Extensive laboratory studies simulating the Gulf region conditions have shown good results that this design concept is technically viable and also economical.

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Morocco: Meeting of the Morocco-US Working Group on Environmental Cooperation

On February 9, 2011, the Working Group on Moroccan-American Environmental Cooperation met in Rabat. The participants in this meeting evaluated the progress made to expand and deepen cooperation between the two countries on environmental issues.  They also informed the public of how both countries cooperate to preserve and protect the environment in Morocco. But, most importantly, a new Action Plan was signed, which sets out a roadmap for environmental cooperation between the United States and Morocco until 2012. In this new Plan of Action, there are long-term objectives to support the development and implementation of laws on environmental protection, preservation of the environment and promoting sustainable development, enhancing transparency and public participation in the process of decision-making environment and promoting the culture of environmental protection and compliance with environmental laws. 

This group was created in 2004 by the governments of both countries on the occasion of the adoption of the Joint Declaration on the Cooperation in the field of environment accompanying the Agreement of Free Trade between the United States and Morocco.

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Oman: Bank Dhofar Participated in Environmental Campaign

On February 9, 2011, BankDhofar, ranked the best bank in Oman, sponsored an event organized by SQU on environmental awareness. The event, under the initiative of the chemistry Society at the Sultan Qaboos University was held under the auspices H.E. Ali bin Mohammed bin Zaher Al Abri, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources. The objective of this campaign is to develop environmental awareness and achieve it both within and outside the university, drawing attention to the environmental problems that industrial countries have faced and how they can be avoided. Various competitions marked the event, one of which was to choose the best environmental and industrial invention, another to showcase the best representation of an industrial city and others in capturing the best ideas on how to protect the environment from pollution. A seed was planted as a symbolic beginning in marking the campaign.

Committed to championing the cause of sustainable development in Oman,  BankDhofar has been sponsoring events that work towards developing the Omani community, educating people on the hazards of neglecting environmental issues, sustaining natural resources by urging people to keep Oman’s beaches clean, encouraging the use of woven bags rather than plastic and promoting the use of environment friendly products.  

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Sudan: China-Sudan Bio-Energy Project Launched

On February 1, 2011, Sudan has launched a bio-energy project in partnership with China that will provide an alternative source of energy and improve the local environment. The project is in the al-Selait area, some 25 kilometers east of the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.  Chinese Ambassador to Khartoum Li Chengwen said, “We have established 75 units of bio-energy in all parts of Sudan and they are operating satisfactorily.” Al-Wasila Hassan Manofaly, director of the Al-Selait bio-energy project, said the project units are models that would be later used in many other farms. He said the use of animal waste would improve the environment for both man and animal.  The project is expected to be expanded to other areas of Sudan, particularly those areas lacking electricity supply.
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Syria: National Forum for Environment – Environment Protection Is Everyone’s Responsibility

The Second National Forum for Environment held on February 28, 2011 by the Ministry of Endowments in cooperation with State Ministry for Environmental Affairs focused on environment issues through the religious perspective. Minister of Islamic Endowments Mohammad Abdul-Sattar al-Sayyed said environmental pollution is a contemporary economic and social problem that is related to the depletion of natural resources, leading to a hazardous situation that threatens everything unless it were dealt promptly with.  He pointed out to the attention paid by Islam regarding environment, referring to the role of endowment utilities that serve the environmental, social and intellectual aspects in protecting agriculture, lands and water resources.  State Minister for Environmental Affairs Kaukab al-Sabah Dayah said the process of spreading environmental awareness and controlling individuals’ behavior needs religious and ethical persuasion which could be achieved through education and the presence of the correct example, which is where preaching and guidance come in.  She pointed out that the Ministry is working on forming an environmental control body to follow up on the full implementation of environmental laws and legislations.  Bishop Jean Qwak said the responsibility of protecting environment is shared by everyone through proper awareness and good upbringing at home, school, church and mosque to produce generations aware of environment protection.  Participants in the Forum underlined the importance of combining the concept of environment in university curricula and in all education levels and to encourage scientific research in the field of environment.  They also underlined the role of media in increasing awareness of environmental legislations in addition to its role in warning about harmful projects and finding eco-friendly energy sources.

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Yemen: Yemeni-Omani environment protection MoU ratified

On February 14,  the republican decree No. 35 for 2011 was issued ratifying a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Yemen and Oman on environment protection. The MoU was signed between Ministry of Water and Environment and Omani Ministry of Environment and Climatic Affairs in Sana’a on April 22, 2010.

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