Civil society organizations dealing with the environment and renewable energy in the MENA region

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We want to cooperate on the protection of the climate and get engaged in the political decision- making processes on low carbon development strategies and the promotion of renewable energy in our region.

On October 29th, just one day before the opening of the 4th Dii Desert Energy Conference in Rabat, key representatives from civil society organizations in the MENA region discussed the role civil society should play to contribute to the protection of the climate, to low carbon development strategies and the promotion of renewable energy in the MENA region. All participants agreed that transforming our fossil fuelled energy system into a sustainable one can only be accomplished through cooperation and dialogue among all relevant stakeholders.

During the meeting it was reaffirmed that in order to achieve the required social acceptance for the energy transition in MENA countries it would be mandatory to develop it along the needs and interest of the civil society stakeholders who have, so far, only gained little traction in the debate.

According to Fadoua Brour from the Moroccan Youth Climate Movement “The engagement of civil society becomes a prerequisite for the sustainable and successful implementation of renewable energies and measures of energy efficiency”. With regard to the political changes in many MENA countries as a result of the Arab Spring Patricia Sfeir, Director of the Lebanese NGO IndyAct underlined that “People are demanding their right to participate in the energy transition in their countries and do not want to be seen as just passive recipients of foreign technologies. They are claiming a transparent and equitable distribution of socio-economic opportunities for the best of society”.

At the end of the meeting, all participants agreed that the establishment of a consolidated and interconnected civil society framework would allow for more structured and effective engagement with the public and private actors in seeking a direct and equitable cooperation on climate protection, low carbon development and the promotion of renewable energies in the MENA region.

“The discussions during this meeting have clearly showed that there is an urgent need to support the networking among MENA NGOs to collaborate on environmental and energy related issues, build capacities to enable civil society engagement in the context of developing and implementing national energy plans and increase awareness on the needed shift towards a sustainable energy future” noted Wael Hmaidan, Director of the Climate Action Network (CAN), while stressing the very positive spirit of collaboration in the meeting.

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