"Seeking Sustainability" Environmental Programme launches!

Jul 31, 2011

Kuwait's southern desert

As a key development partner for the State of Kuwait, the United Nations Development Programme is pleased to present Seeking Sustainability and Cost Efficiency: A UNDP Environment Programme for Kuwait as a blueprint for coordinated and targeted action towards achieving some of Kuwait’s most significant environmental goals. With limited land and water resources, Kuwait is particularly vulnerable to some of the greatest environmental challenges of our time, including air, water and land pollution and the impact of global warming.

Kuwait has an enviable record for establishing world-class urban infrastructure in a very short space of time and has provided its citizens with a high standard of living, thanks to the natural resources of the energy sector. However, national prosperity has encouraged excessive consumption and waste, while the burning of fossil fuels is a major contributor to pollution and climate change.

These factors threaten Kuwait’s economic and environmental sustainability, with serious repercussions for the quality of life of its people, particularly in the coming decades. It is thus essential for the sake of future generations that the Government now adopts a coordinated and comprehensive approach to environmental management. In recognition of this need, the Government of Kuwait has identified environmental protection, as well as economic diversification, as priorities in the Mid-Range Development Plan for 2009/10 – 2013/14.

This commitment is also in line with UN Millennium Development Goal No.7: Ensuring Environmental Sustainability, and is reflected in the UNDP Country Programme Document and its Country Programme Action Plan (CPAP). The Environment Programme forms the foundation of the national strategy to meet these critical environmental protection goals.
Globally, UNDP is committed to supporting States to strengthen national capacity to protect the environment, in recognition of the fundamental role played by the natural world in the daily lives of all human beings. In furtherance of this aim and as part of UNDP’s support to the Government of Kuwait in meeting the objectives of its Mid-Range Development Plan, UNDP engaged a pre-eminent expert on environmental management, Dr. Philip Tortell, to assess the key environmental challenges facing the State and design a comprehensive framework for action. Following an extensive consultation process with the Government and civil society actors, Dr. Tortell has designed a programme that addresses the primary concerns of the Kuwaiti people and emphasizes key strategic approaches to ensure sustainability and build national commitment to, and capacity for, environmental protection. These approaches are the building of State institutional capacity, implementation of national and international laws regarding environmental protection and management and raising public awareness to enable Kuwaiti citizens to participate in the protection of their natural heritage. State leadership and public participation are both essential to achieve environmental protection goals.

The Environment Programme identifies three outcomes based on the Mid-Term Development Plan, the UNDP Country Programme and well-known public concerns: institutional capacity for environmental management, strengthened; biodiversity and ecosystem services, conserved; and pollution controlled and waste minimized. The document then proposes 18 interventions to achieve these outcomes, consistent also with the Government’s development priorities to enhance private sector economic capacity and empower Kuwaiti youth. During the course of the consultative process that informed this Programme, national partners expressed particular interest in five key issues and consequently these have been translated to projects and will be prioritized. However, these projects are just the beginning and UNDP is committed to ensuring that all the recommended interventions are implemented, consistent with the overall strategy of the Programme.

The Environment Programme sets out a roadmap of targeted and coordinated activities that will allow Kuwait to make major advances in the protection of its environment. This holistic approach to environmental management represents a key step forward in the attainment of Kuwait’s development goals and will make a significant contribution to protecting the State’s natural patrimony for the enjoyment of future generations.

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