The Middle East and North Africa region is on the front lines of climate change. According to the World Bank report Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4 ͦ C Warmer World Must be Avoided (WB, 2012), the region is steadily getting hotter and drier. Of the 19 countries that set new national temperature highs in 2010, the warmest year globally since records were first kept in the 1800s, five were Arab states.
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The end of 2011 was undeniably a momentous time across the Arab World with uprisings first emerging in Tunisia and Egypt and then spreading to Libya, Yemen, and Syria. Expectations of 2012 were high as old regimes were discarded and new governments brought with them hopes of more equitable societies and opportunities for all.
Local communities around the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden understand better than anyone the value of their natural environment. This became very clear when we visited various marine protected communities in Sudan, Djibouti and Egypt: the inhabitants have real concerns for using marine resources sustainably and in a way that benefits all.The World Bank is piloting a new approach to marine management in one of the most biodiverse, underwater hotspots in the world, famous for its stunning corals, large number of endemic species, and attraction to tourists. The project aims to help the member countries of PERSGA to develop a more holistic management approach based on the ecosystem.