KFAS News

The “Our Seas: Theories, Data and Policies” Symposium highlights the importance of human intervention in saving the environment and in mitigating rising sea levels.

November 18, 2017

Local and international experts at the “Our Seas Symposium” unanimously echoed the global message of urgency for promoting environmental awareness to avoid the potential ramifications that could affect the health and wealth of the global community. The Symposium, hosted by (KFAS) and held under the auspices of the Director General of the Environment Public Authority, Sheikh Abdullah Ahmad Al-Humoud Al-Sabah, in cooperation with the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), Kuwait University, Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research and the National Council of Culture, Arts and Literature, emphasized the critical state of the marine environment due to the global impact of climate change.

Participants, who ranged from selected international specialists, to local researchers and non-governmental organizations discussed the severe consequences in the rise in the Earth’s temperature and sea-levels, as well as ocean acidification, and the exhaustion of oxygen dissolved in the sea water. Threats from poor management of environmental resources through the lack of proper protocols, along with negative practices such as overfishing, pollution, habitat destruction and global population pressure were showcased by various speakers, as key focal areas not only for research, but more importantly, for policy development and implementation.  The two-day symposium generated fruitful dialogue on these pertinent challenges and their impact worldwide, in particular on the Gulf region, allowing participants to exchange experiences and explore potential collaborations in environmental research.

The Director of the Scientific Culture Directorate at the Foundation, Dr. Salam Ahmed Al-Ablani, stated in his opening speech at the Symposium, that he hoped this two-day event would generate a platform for exchanging knowledge and information on how to collaboratively tackle environmental issues facing the region, and enhance the welfare of the global ecosystem.  He noted that the Foundation’s role in advancing Kuwait’s national development plan is through the funding of research and development, and promoting innovative solutions to address environmental challenges. Dr. Al-Ablani stated that the Foundation strives to use knowledge to drive the socioeconomic development of the country, and enhance the quality of life for the people of Kuwait.   

Dr. Abdel Megeed Al-Haddad, the Director of the UNEP Reginal Office of West Asia of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), reaffirmed Dr. Al-Ablani’s sentiments and noted that the marine environment challenges are of interest to all coastal countries, including the countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council. He added that regional and international cooperation in addressing diverse environmental problems facing the seas that surround the Arab region, particularly problems resulting from the climate change phenomenon, is essential in overcoming these issues and in finding viable, sustainable solutions.

The global expert on climate change and oceanographer, Dr. John Englander, delivered a public lecture on the eve of the Symposium in which he warned the audience of environmental threats and socio-economic consequences of the rising sea level due to climate change. He called for a concerted global effort to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions, which is the main contributor to this phenomenon. Dr. Englander warned that the rise of the sea surface will be the most profound geological change in the recorded history of mankind and that this would not only cause the attenuation of continents, but would also destroy some countries located on the shores of seas and oceans. He further noted that mitigating these challenges starts with raising public awareness of climate change significantly.

A translated version of Dr. Englander’s new book, called “High Tide on Main Street: Rising Sea Level and the Coming Coastal Crisis” was displayed at the KFAS Booth at the Kuwait Book Fair. The book which was translated and issued by the Foundation, seeks to prove that sea-level rise is the most profound impact of the long-range climate change, because, according to the book, the sea water level has consistently been rising, a problem which most of the general public is not aware of.

The symposium ended with a series of recommendations on the direction of research in Kuwait and the Gulf region, as well as propositions on new avenues for collaboration to promote the dissemination of information on environmental issues. As Dr. Al-Ablani noted the future will rely on adopting science and knowledge as a basis for growth and long-term sustainability of individual nations and the global community. This will involve strengthening the culture of science, technology and innovation locally, regionally and internationally, where members of the society will collectively be making a difference in rescuing the environment, leaving footprints of action and change, for a better tomorrow.