UNDP Report Reveals Unemployment, Malnutrition in Arab World

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Seven years ago, the United Nations conducted a study of human development in the Arab world. Now it has released a follow up and there’s not a lot of good news for the 330 million people in that region. Some of the low points: unemployment in Arab countries is over double that of the rest of the world, malnutrition in some places is on the rise and there’s inequality in wealth.

Adel Abdellatif was part of the U.N. team that published the 'Arab Human Development Report 2009: Challenges to Human Security in the Arab Countries.' He joined guest host Andrea Bernstein to talk about the problems facing the Arab world – as well as highlight some potential solutions.

Listen to the whole interview here:

Here's an excerpt of the conversation:

Andrea Bernstein: Americans think of Arabs as some of the richest people in the world. Arabs are some of the richest people in the world, so it's a bit of a shock to hear that a lot of the people in these countries are living in poverty under very difficult conditions.

Adel Abdelatif: Actually you will find that most of the Arab countries are falling in the middle income countries or the low income countries. So their incomes actually are much lower than the countries that you hear about. And this image, of course, the report is not trying to work on this image because in the region it is known that there are high income countries and low income countries.

But there are some challenges that are facing all of them. Like the question of climate change. It is facing rich countries as well as poor countries: desertification and lack of fresh water. Actually, most of the Arab countries -- around nine of them, they have water stress.


A country like Kuwait, it depends on 97% of its water coming from desalination. Which means that, in the future, without oil income, all these countries will have to find a solution to provide water to their population. If they can't do that, they will have to be environmental refugees or immigrants, they will have to leave their countries.

Read the report here


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Comments [1]

J.Doherty from NYC

Excelllent article!

While the Earth has always endured natural climate change variability, we are now facing the possibility of irreversible climate change in the near future. The increase of greenhouse gases in the Earth?s atmosphere from industrial processes has enhanced the natural greenhouse effect. This in turn has accentuated the greenhouse ?trap? effect, causing greenhouse gases to form a blanket around the Earth, inhibiting the sun?s heat from leaving the outer atmosphere. This increase of greenhouse gases is causing an additional warming of the Earth?s surface and atmosphere. A direct consequence of this is sea-level rise expansion, which is primarily due to the thermal expansion of oceans (water expands when heated), inducing the melting of ice sheets as global surface temperature increases.
Forecasts for climate change by the 2,000 scientists on the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) project a rise in the global average surface temperature by 1.4 to 5.8°C from 1990 to 2100. This will result in a global mean sea level rise by an average of 5 mm per year over the next 100 years. Consequently, human-induced climate change will have ?deleterious effects? on ecosystems, socio-economic systems and human welfare.At the moment, especially high risks associated with the rise of the oceans are having a particular impact on the two archipelagic states of Western Polynesia: Tuvalu and Kiribati. According to UN forecasts, they may be completely inundated by the rising waters of the Pacific by 2050.According to the vast majority of scientific investigations, warming waters and the melting of polar and high-elevation ice worldwide will steadily raise sea levels. This will likely drive people off islands first by spoiling the fresh groundwater, which will kill most land plants and leave no potable water for humans and their livestock. Low-lying island states like Kiribati, Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands and the Maldives are the most prominent nations threatened in this way.“The biggest challenge is to preserve their nationality without a territory,” said Bogumil Terminski from Geneva. The best solution is continue to recognize deterritorialized states as a normal states in public international law. The case of Kiribati and other small island states is a particularly clear call to action for more secure countries to respond to the situations facing these ‘most vulnerable nations’, as climate change increasingly impacts upon their lives.

Jan. 07 2012 06:02 AM

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