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Muslim nations unite against climate change

From Magharebia in Tunis |  By Mona Yahia |  10/10/10 [Fethi Belaid/AFP/Getty Images] Tunisian President Ben Ali called on Muslim nations...

From Magharebia in Tunis | By Mona Yahia | 10/10/10

[Fethi Belaid/AFP/Getty Images] Tunisian President Ben Ali called on Muslim nations to improve water resource management at the environment conference.
The fourth Islamic Conference of Environment Ministers ended Wednesday (October 6th) in Tunis with a call for Muslim countries to work together on sustainable development and against climate change.

The event gathered government officials from Arab countries and experts from some 30 international and regional organisations. Topics at the two-day summit included environmental protection, management of water resources, development of renewable energies, and anti-desertification.

"One of the most important duties for the time being is to look for the most effective ways of dealing with the water scarcity problem," Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali said at the opening session. "[I]t constitutes a source of deep concern for most Muslim countries, given their water poverty, imbalanced demographic growth, arbitrary exploitation of water resources, aggravated pollution, and severe and frequent climate changes, together with the associated problems of drought."

Participants also warned of the dangers of environmental disasters and the possible losses of human life and assets, stressing the need for proactive monitoring and prevention.
At the closing session, Algerian Minister of Land-use Planning and the Environment Cherif Rahmani discussed the importance of water and energy conservation and renewable energies.
Most Arab countries suffer from desertification, given their geographical location in desert, arid and semi-arid regions. Therefore, environment ministers in the Islamic world seek greater co-ordination mechanisms in combating this destructive process.

In their closing statement, participants also urged the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO) to contribute to the "United Nations Decade for Deserts and the Fight against Desertification", and to support ecological systems programmes and patterns of desert living in the Middle East and North Africa.

"Muslim countries suffer from problems of desertification, immigration, and deteriorating land," said Mohamed Mahmoudi Ould Bat of Mauritania's environment ministry. "Therefore, this conference was held to respond to these environmental questions."
In Mauritania, he noted, "four-fifths of the country is desert and the government is exerting efforts to solve this problem".


Participants also tied their closing statement into International Youth Year 2010, calling on member states to step up their participation. This comes after President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali urged the executive bureau of the Islamic Environment Conference in the opening of the conference to draft "a declaration on youth and biological diversity".


"The Islamic world includes a high percentage of children and youth, and the future is theirs," said Jordanian Environment Minister Hazem Amin. "Therefore, we have to preserve our natural resources and all that they need for the future."

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