UNEP launches the first atlas of its kind in the Arab Region

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The pace of environmental change in the Arab region seems to be faster than in the rest of the world due to the rapid pace of economic and social development, according to UNEP's atlas for the Arab region released Tuesday.

 The atlas examines the environmental change that has taken place at more than 80 locations across the Arab region, using a combination of on-the-ground photographs, current and historical satellite images, with narrative based on extensive scientific evidence.

 "Before-and-after" studies in the atlas clearly demonstrate the pace of development in the region, offering compelling examples of wide-ranging environmental change, including land use change, urban growth, degradation of marine and coastal areas, altered hydrology and shrinking water bodies, loss of habitats and impacts of climate change.

The Atlas images serve to highlight the distinctive environmental circumstances and challenges faced in the Arab region, from limited freshwater resources, rapid urbanization, depletion of natural resources, and the vulnerability of many Arab settlements to environmental risks and natural disasters.

 It also illustrates how humans have positively or negatively altered their surroundings and continue to make observable and measurable changes to the Arab region and its environment.

 The atlas also shines light on the unique environmental issues faced by each country, and tracks the individual progress each is making towards achieving the goal of Ensuring Environmental Sustainability, as part of the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals.

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI), supported by the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) released The Arab Region: Atlas of Our Changing Environment.

Donn Bobb, United Nations

Duration: 1’40″


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