Our Perspective

      • Road to RIO: Sustainable Development as Freedom in the Arab Region | Kishan Khoday

        09 May 2012

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        Chants of freedom have reverberated across the Arab region calling for more transparent, accountable and participatory governance, action against corruption and human rights abuses and policy reforms to create an innovative, employment-generating economy. The systemic transition underway is compelling countries across the region to craft new social compacts to usher a new era of inclusive and equitable development. In that context, the history of unsustainable and inequitable use of natural resources —land, water, energy and minerals— will likely emerge as a focus for reform. Control over the environment has for decades been central to state legitimacy and power in this region, shaping the nature of autocratic and centralized systems of governance, and rentier economies, and influencing how sovereignty and statecraft function. The social compact in many countries has been defined by a balance between the state control over natural wealth and provision of social development results. But development is about more than charity, it is also about justice and accountability. The vulnerability of food, water and energy resources brings serious risks to sustaining development in the long-term and brings risks to achieving a more inclusive and sustainable model of development in the post-revolution era. With much of the region’s poor heavily Read More

      • Saudi Arabia: Charting a low-carbon future | Kishan Khoday

        01 May 2012

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        Saudi Arabia has seen one of the world’s fastest rates of progress on human development indicators in recent decades. As noted in the 2010 Global Human Development Report, the Kingdom ranked fifth globally in terms of rate of improvement on HDI criteria, and third globally if measured solely by non-income HDI components of per capita access to health and education. In achieving High Human Development status, the Kingdom has relied heavily on export revenues from its world-leading oil reserves. It currently relies on oil for 80% of public revenues, 45% of GDP, and 90% of export earnings. But as Saudi Arabia looks to the future, attention is also placed on the need for a development model which goes beyond oil. Out of approximately 10 million barrels per day that the Kingdom currently produces, about 3 million barrels per day of oil equivalent (mboe) is used within the domestic economy, as the country relies heavily on oil-burning power facilities for electricity generation alongside rising demands from transport and other sectors. But some project that local demand could grow to as much as 8 mboe per day by 2030, owing to growth of population, urban energy demands and energy-intensive industry.  With global oil Read More

      • On Women’s Day, Remember Our Arab Sisters | Amat Al Alim Alsoswa

        07 Mar 2012

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        Arab women have fought bravely over the last year to demand dignity and new freedoms. And their courage has been noted: In December, my Yemeni sister Tawakkol Karman became the first Arab woman to win the Nobel Prize for Peace, in recognition of her principled democratic activism. But launching transitions was the easy part. Across the region, Arab women are realizing that while moves toward democracy can bring hope for long-suppressed rights, they can also unveil deep-seated discrimination that threatens to set women back. In Tunisia, admirable efforts by the interim government to achieve parity in the Constituent Assembly elected last October were thwarted as most parties buried the names of female candidates at the bottom of electoral lists. In Egypt, where a 12 percent quota for women’s representation was scrapped in the early days of transition, the new 508-seat People’s Assembly includes only 12 women—less than 3 percent.  And last week Libyans celebrated one of their first democratic elections, for the local council in Misrata. The result? Twenty-eight men, zero women. What’s more, women activists have faced harassment—not only by security forces but also by men who oppose to their presence in public life. In several countries, some newly empowered Read More