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Entrepreneurs urged to focus on water, energy, food as interconnected sectors

Levant threatened with worst drought in 9 centuries — Princess Sumaya

By Hana Namrouqa - Nov 28,2016 - Last updated at Nov 28,2016

AMMAN — Entrepreneurs and researchers in the Arab region are invited to focus on the interlinked sectors of energy, food and water and be catalysts of change to create more environmentally aware and sustainable societies, thought leaders agreed on Monday.

During AMWAJ Forum 2016, the experts in environment-sustainability and social entrepreneurship called on the Arab youth to generate real and innovative solutions to build a more sustainable future for the Middle East.

Speaking at the opening of the forum, HRH Princess Sumaya, the president of the Royal Scientific Society, underscored that the region is going through a critical time, highlighting that sustainability is not just an abstract word, but it is about addressing things that might be a problem in the future.

Princess Sumaya indicated that the Levant is facing, according to National Aeronautics and Space Administration, what is probably the worst drought in 900 years, but noted that as bad as problems are here in Jordan and in the region as a whole, there is a reason for optimism.

"No one can deny that the West Asia and North Africa [WANA] region is rich in scientific knowledge. Just one figure; today we have over 136,000 registered engineers in Jordan, that’s equivalent to a city bigger than Aqaba. Imagine what that concentration of expertise could do if it was used to fulfil its potential," Princess Sumaya, who is also the president of the board of trustees of the Princess Sumaya University for Technology, said.

Likewise no one can deny that the people of WANA are entrepreneurial, the princess added.

“The three interlinked sectors of energy, food and water pose unprecedented existential threats to all our people; I believe that these must be the constants of which science for peace is built,” the princess told the audience.

As part of AMWAJ Forum, representatives from the private and public sectors, civil society and academia from the Middle East and North Africa region are sharing socially innovative ideas to identify practical solutions that create an inclusive, sustainable future for the region, according to organisers.

Tarik Yousef, director of the Brookings Doha Centre, urged young Arab entrepreneurs to steer their innovations towards sectors such as water, energy and environment, to bring about a sustainable future for the region.

He also called for innovation and research to promote scientific development in the Arab region.

Also yesterday, Revolve Media released the 2016 Water Around the Mediterranean Report, which shows a growing link between water and energy and the critical importance of addressing water scarcity in the MENA and the Mediterranean regions.

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