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UNESCO’s climate change related activities and plans in Education, Science & Culture in the Arab Region with a notion on the importance of tourism by Benno Böer UNDP Arab Climate Resilience Initiative Conrad Hotel, 20-21 st of September 2010.

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slide1

UNESCO’s climate change related activities and plans in Education, Science & Culture in the Arab Region with a notion on the importance of tourism

by Benno Böer

UNDP Arab Climate Resilience Initiative

Conrad Hotel, 20-21st of September 2010

slide2

The impacts of climate change on sea level rise, coastal erosion, biodiversity and economic and human development

  • Presentation:
  • Examples of socio-economic risk of climate change in the Arab States
  • UNESCO’s conservation flagships: World Heritage Convention, the Global Network of Biosphere Reserves, the Quranic Botanic Garden network
  • Urban ecosystem enhancement and Ecoschools
  • A proposal and outlook for UN cooperation
  • UNESCO’s strategic objectives
slide3

The impacts of climate change on sea level rise, coastal erosion, biodiversity and economic and human development

  • Examples of socio-economic risk of climate change in the Arab States
  • Difficult to estimate $ figures
  • Case-study: Tropical Cyclone Gonu, Oman 2007
  • World Heritage Sites, Biosphere Reserves attract 10 x more tourists than other sites – if damaged by abrasion, frost, flooding, salt spray etc.: great economic loss, due to loss of tourism revenues, loss of jobs and income.
  • Agriculture, fisheries & water will be impacted by climate and sea-level change
  • Biodiversity will be impacted by climate change, especially coral reef
slide4

The impacts of climate change on sea level rise, coastal erosion, biodiversity and economic and human development

  • Case-study: Tropical Cyclone Gonu, Oman 2007
  • >50 human lifes lost
  • >1,5 billion US$ physical damage
slide5

Khor al Udayd on the 8th of June 2007, one day after Cyclone Gonu

Was Gonu caused by climate change ? We don’t know.

Did Gonu impact Qatar ? Most likely yes. This area is used by hundreds of tourists on a weekly basis. Damage can not be estimated.

The impacts of climate change on sea level rise, coastal erosion, biodiversity and economic and human development

The seawater rose > 1 m above high tide mark – horizontal intrusion: several kilometers

slide6

The impacts of climate change on sea level rise, coastal erosion, biodiversity and economic and human development

  • UNESCO’s conservation flagships
  • World Heritage Sites – areas of globally unique value for mankind: Algeria 7, Bahrain 1, Egypt 7, Iraq 3, Jerusalem 1, Jordan 3, Lebanon 5, Libya 5, Mauretania 2, Morocco 8, Oman 4, Saudi Arabia 1, Sudan 1, Syria 5, Tunisia 8, Yemen 3 – total: 64.
  • Biosphere Reserves – characteristic landscapes as models for sustainable human living, sustainable development & nature conservation: United Arab Emirates 1, Algeria 6, Egypt 2, Jordan 1, Lebanon 3, Qatar 1, Sudan 2, Syria 1, Tunisia 4, Yemen 1, and cross-border reserves between Mauretania & Senegal 1 – total: 23.
  • Quranic Botanic Gardens – centres of excellence for botanic education, research and conservation: United Arab Emirates (Sharjah) 1, Qatar 1.
  • (Climate change induced damage can not be estimated, and it would need exact scientific research)
khor al udayd potential world natural site
Khor al Udayd potential World Natural Site

Khor al Udayd (Qatar) potential World Natural Heritage Site

Success 1: Site survey completed in 2005 (marine biology, terrestrial ecology, eco-tourism) supported by many companies from the private sector

Success 2: Nomination file developed in 2007

Success 3: Tentative list for Qatar developed and submitted and accepted in 2007 and 2008

(Sealevel change will inevitably impact on tourism)

new biosphere reserves qatar uae
New Biosphere Reserves, Qatar & UAE

Biosphere Reserves are good places for tourism and climate change research and monitoring

scientific research related to arabian ecosystems
Scientific research related to Arabian ecosystems

Intact ecosystems including biodiversity and water are essential for tourism development

biodiversity loss
Biodiversity loss

Quranic Botanic Gardens are Centres of Excellence for biodiversity education, research, conservation & recreation.

Example how biodiversity conservation can boost tourism

slide11

The impacts of climate change on sea level rise, coastal erosion, biodiversity and economic and human development

  • Urban ecosystem enhancement and Ecoschools
  • (Science & Education)
  • Doha Green Conference
  • Ecoschools

Ecoschools can contribute to education towards responsible tourism

slide12

The impacts of climate change on sea level rise, coastal erosion, biodiversity and economic and human development

A UNESCO proposal in the making (Education, Science & Culture)

North African – Arab – Central Asian Dry Desert Ecosystems:

Promotion of UNESCO sites, unbiased research & training into biodiversity, climate & sealevel change

Aims to contribute to unbiased knowledge, establish a regional climate change response centre, demonstrate climate change adaptation and enhance capacity of Arab young people to get professionally involved

Cooperation of relevant UN specialised agencies is highly welcome.

slide13

UNESCO’s strategic objective

1. Building and maintaining the climate change knowledge base: science, assessment, monitoring, early warning

2. Promoting mitigation and adaptation to climate change, including through enhanced education and public awareness

3. Moving towards a climate-neutral UNESCO

slide14

Why do we need to look into climate change issues ?

We do already have real and present environmental crisis in Arabia, such as:

Food crisis; Water crisis; Desertification; Pollution of air, soils, water & biota; Urban environmental issues, such as traffic issues and green house gas emissions; Loss of biodiversity

These can be worsened by climate change

Sustainable environmental development is in the long-run even more valuable than today’s prime industries because human living absolutely depends on wise and pro-active management of natural resources. The development of responsible tourism can make a valuable contribution.

UNESCO is ready to assist climate change issues