Arab economies have underperformed over the past four decades. Arab countries have adopted aggressive economic growth models, but in doing so have gravely undermined progress on social and environmental issues. The ensuing forms of poverty, unemployment, food and water security threats, and environmental degradation continue to plague Arab economies. These shortfalls are not necessarily borne out of natural limitations. Rather, they are the outcomes of policy choices.
The shortcomings in the performance of Arab economies have also significantly contributed to deteriorating social conditions. The persistent poverty and unemployment have led to social marginalization, which is further compounded by income disparities. The aggregate impacts of these shortfalls have caused social and political instability. Demands for change across Arab countries reveal that the mounting economic, social, and environmental strains and the resultant implications on livelihood security have become unsustainable.
This report of the Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED) advocates a development model rooted in a green economy. A fundamental tenet of a green economy is giving equal weight to economic development, social equity, and environmental sustainability. This report argues that meeting these three goals provides a sound foundation for addressing the shortcomings of Arab economies, from curbing poverty and unemployment, to attaining food, water, and energy security, to achieving more equitable forms of income distribution. Moreover, a green economy places great emphasis on the efficient use and deployment of natural assets to diversify the economy, which in turn provides immunity against the volatilities and recessionary pressures of the global economy.
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