15June
2021
Webinar Inaugural Conference on Environmental Politics in the Middle East and North Africa

ARI’s inaugural Environmental Politics conference convenes activists and researchers to discuss environmental questions in the Middle East and North Africa as they intersect with four critical political phenomena: governance, activism and popular mobilization, local politics, and armed conflict. The conference consists of four virtual roundtables over two days, open to the public. 

You can register to attend by following this link. You will receive a Zoom confirmation email should your registration be successful. Alternatively, you can watch the event live on our Facebook page.

CONFERENCE AGENDA

PANEL 1 | Governing the Environment: Discourse & Policy from Above

Tuesday June 15 

14:00  - 15:30 (CET)

Languages: English

What are the truths and distortions of current state-led discourses about the environment in the Middle East and North Africa? How do state discourses shape environmental policies? What do state-led “environmental projects” reveal about the political economy of Arab regimes? What does an environmental lens afford us in our understanding of governance in the region? What are the biggest gaps in our collective knowledge on the institutional and political landscape that governs national-level decisions on the environment in the region, and how can we close the gap?

Jessica Barnes, scholar of resource use and environmental change in the Middle East

Wael Gamal, Egyptian economic journalist and researcher

Hussam Hussein, scholar of hydropolitics in Jordan 

Roland Riachi, scholar of political ecology of food and water in the MENA

moderated by Farah Al Shami, ARI Research Fellow (Beirut)

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PANEL 2 | Mobilizing for the Environment: Activism & Resistance

Tuesday June 15 

16:00 - 17:30 (CET)

Languages: Arabic & English, with interpreting available on Zoom only.

From resistance to megaprojects, land dispossession and waste dumping, to mobilization against air pollution, fracking and mining, there is a growing and increasingly vibrant activism in MENA around environmental issues. What role does environmental activism play in the context of a broader process of social contestation seeking to change the region’s political and economic order? Who are the main actors involved? What are their principal modes of action and strategies? What are their current needs? Where is change most necessary; most possible? This roundtable brings together protagonists and first-hand observers of mobilization for environmental justice in four North African countries. 

Sami Bahri, Tunisian activist

Hamza Hamouchene, Algerian activist and researcher

Soraya El Kahlaoui, Moroccan activist and researcher

Aziza Moneer, Egyptian environmental politics researcher

moderated by Malek Lakhal, ARI Research Fellow (Tunis)

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PANEL 3 | Environmentalism from Below: Local Politics & Global Challenges

Wednesday June 16

14:00  - 15:30 (CET)

Languages: Arabic & English, with interpreting available on Zoom only.

Notions such as environmental sustainability, climate change, or water scarcity are structural problems of behemoth proportions that necessitate global if not national interventions. In this structural problem-space, what are the margins of maneuver from the local, defined broadly as the municipality, the neighborhood, or the community? What are the privileges of a local view on global challenges? Relatedly, along what political economy dimensions are the local, national, and global interrelated when it comes to environmental problems? This panel explores these questions through the lens of water and waste management in Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, and Tunisia. 

Jihad Farah, scholar of urban planning in Lebanon

Intissar Kherigi, scholar of local governance in Tunisia 

Chiara Loschi, scholar of waste management in Tunisia

Khaled Sulaiman, journalist of environmental issues in Iraq 

Noura Wahby, scholar of urban waterscapes in Egypt

moderated by Lana Salman, feminist scholar of international development

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PANEL 4 | Environment in Conflict: Ecologies of War and Occupation 

Wednesday June 16

16:00 - 17:30 (CET)

Languages: English

How does warfare and war-making affect ecosystems and ecologies in the region? What are the immediate environmental harms and toxic aftermaths of the post-2011 wars in Libya, Syria, or Yemen? What types of resistant or resilient ecologies do we see arising in war, and what are the implications for postwar societies’ climate resilience? How has the environment intersected with belligerent occupation in Palestine and Iraq? How do we think about and work towards environmental justice in the context of war and occupation? 

Muna Dajani, Palestinian environmental researcher and activist

Rabea Eghbariah, Palestinian researcher and human rights attorney

Bridget Guarasci, anthropologist and scholar of Iraq 

Munira Khayyat, anthropologist, war ecologies in South Lebanon

Jeannie Sowers, scholar of environmental politics in the Middle East

moderated by Julia Choucair Vizoso, ARI Director of Environmental Politics Program