Just an ordinary citizen living in a Middle East and North of Africa country and requring a birth certificate for your new-born daughter? No problem—just take something with you, either some cash, a pack of cigarettes or buy a glass of tea with milk and a lot of sugar.
Despite formally adopting progressive laws, such as Law Number 4, and ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disability, Palestinian authorities still struggle to get beyond rhetoric when it comes to supporting the 7 to 11 per cent of the population that is affected by disability.
We have arrived at the point of no return. At this very moment the world is witnessing the highest level of humanitarian needs since World War Two. We are experiencing a human catastrophe on a titanic scale: 125 million in dire need of assistance, over 60 million people forcibly displaced, and 218 million people affected by disasters each year for the past two decades.
“The objective of extremists is for us to turn on each other [and] our unity is the ultimate rebuke for that bankrupt strategy.”
Despite ostensibly freezing the Prawer Plan -- a proposed bill to 'regulate Bedouin settlement in the Negev’-- in 2013, Israel continues to push for forced closure of unrecognised Bedouin villages in this southern region. The village of Umm al-Heran, near the Bedouin township of Hura, is amongst those slated for demolition.
“Africa’s human existence and development is under threat from the adverse impacts of climate change – its population, ecosystems and unique biodiversity will all be the major victims of global climate change.”
There is an oil producing country situated in the Gulf region, made of a cluster of islands. It is small, surface and population wise. But it holds the dubious privilege of ranking top of the list out of the 33 countries most likely to be water-stressed in the year 2040.
Thanks to tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, major oil producers couldn’t come to an agreement in Doha to freeze their output to January levels to raise oil prices. The current low oil prices have a lot to do with the grim outlook for global economic growth while supply is growing. China, the second largest economy in the world, is slowing down. Not surprisingly, global oil demand is much lower at 94.8 million barrels a day vis-à-vis supply of 96.3 million barrels a day in the first quarter of 2016 according to the International Energy Agency.
This is not about any alarming header—it is the dramatic conclusion of several scientific studies about the on-going climate change impact on the Middle East region, particularly in the Gulf area. The examples are stark.
Make no mistake-the Middle East is the longest and perhaps the most complex crisis in recent History, this explaining the innumerable, successive –and frustrating- attempts to solve it.
Now that Yemenis begin to hope that their year-long armed conflict may come to an end as a result of the Gulf Cooperation Council and the United Nations sponsored round of talks between the parties in dispute, scheduled on 18 April in Kuwait, a new threat to their already desperate humanitarian crisis has just appeared in the form of a much feared massive desert locust invasion.
There is a ‘Little Boy’ who has nothing to do with the atomic bomb that the United States dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945. This time it is about another ‘Little Boy’ who has been devastating the harvests in many regions, especially in Africa.
This is not a minor issue. Chickpea, faba bean, lentil, common bean, field pea, mung bean, black gram, pigeon pea, cowpea, and grass pea are the major pulse crops produced globally. And these especially play an important role in food and nutritional security and sustainable agricultural production systems in the drylands, which cover over 40 per cent of the world’s land area and are home to approximately 2.5 billion people.
Five years ago the Arab world blew up, and the flames are still raging. What at first had been euphoria quickly turned to chaos. What cannot be denied, though, is that the uprisings were the spark of an epochal change.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has singled out Oman as perhaps the only Arab country in the Gulf playing a discreet role – mostly behind-the- scenes – in helping resolve some of the military and political conflicts in the war-ravaged region.