The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, EAD, has published an information and educational guide book on water activities in the Arab world on the occasion of World Water Day.
EAD's water awareness programme is being implemented through United Nations Organisation for Education, Science and Culture, UNESCO's Associated Schools Project Network, ASPnet, and is supervised by the organisation in Paris and its regional office in Amman, Jordan, in close cooperation with the United Arab Emirates National Commission for Education, Culture and Science.
Part of a regional initiative designed to promote education in sustainable development in the Arab world, the water awareness programme aims to encourage youth to address various environmental issues and equip them with the necessary tools to protect the environment.
The guide book is a key part of the project, and is a tool that enables teachers and students to carry out water educational activities and programmes that have been delivered within the UNESCO network.
Fozeya Ibrahim Al Mahmoud, Director of Environmental Outreach at EAD, said, "EAD took the lead in the planning and development of a water educational programme for the UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network in the Arab world, because of our extensive experience in delivering engaging and impactful environmental education initiatives. This programme concludes the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014), and the International Decade for Action 'Water for Life'. EAD's initiative saw the participation and support from over 75 specialised teachers from 12 countries across the Arab world."
Al Mahmoud stressed the urgency of addressing water issues and challenges in the Arab world, highlighting that the region is suffering from water scarcity. The Arab world covers 10% of the world's surface and receives only 2% of the global average rainfall and an estimated 0.3% of renewable water resources in the world annually. As a result, education and awareness plays a vital role in engaging students to address these regional challenges.
Al Mahmoud also highlighted that the current guide book will serve as an additional, multi-disciplinary resource for schools, integrating new practical learning and teaching methods to build knowledge and raise public awareness of water related issues. EAD has already held several training workshops on the guide book to educators in the participating countries.
Amal Al Koos, Assistant Under-Secretary for Activities and School Environment at the Ministry of Education, Acting Secretary-General at the National Commission for Education, Culture and Science, said, "The concept of UNESCO's ASPnet has changed along with the schools' messages and objectives. This became clear during the discussions witnessed at the World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development, held in Japan a month ago. The new approach is to instil sustainability concepts, not only in UNESCO schools but across all schools at different stages, and introduce them at the heart of the educational process, practices and activities, in addition to the school administrations and curriculums and professional development for educators."
Al Koos also highlighted that UNESCO schools, and modern schools in general, are now working towards achieving a strategic goal of providing students with the required 21st century skills, technology, means of communication and the scientific potential to help them keep up with their time and the course of their future.
Al Koos commended EAD's efforts in raising local and regional awareness around environmental issues and challenges that communities face, as well as its ongoing commitment in addressing key environmental issues locally, regionally, and internationally.