Environmental Policy Making in Egypt

Environmental Policy Making in Egypt

Environmental Policy Making in Egypt

Environmental Policy Making in Egypt


"This book is ... an example of how to study a specific problem (the environment in Egypt and how it relates to its politics and economics), how to define the parameters to achieve the goal of the study, and how to reach the goal.... Readers will trace the intellectual input of the author in every line of the book". -- From the foreword by Mostafa Kamal Tolba

In the first examination of environmental policy and policy making in Egypt, Salwa Sharawi Gomaa analyzes and explains the nature, development, and possible implications of environmental concern as a political issue. She explores the interactions between the Egyptian government, environmental non-government organizations (NGOs), the Green Party, and foreign donors and explains who makes environmental policy, how that policy is arrived at, and what its impact is.

Of particular interest is the substantial amount of fieldwork and interviews on which Gomaa's study is based. Her conversations with government officials, NGO environmentalists, and officials from the international donor community provide insight and a concrete application of complex theoretical principles. Through personal contacts at every level of the process, she is able to show how the environment was put on the policy-making agenda, who saw it through the decision-making process, how the international donor community got involved, and how local organizations came to play a role.

Unlike the grassroots environmentalism of the West, Egypt's environmental initiative originated with the state, following some prodding from the international community. Gomaa's description and analysis of how this process has advanced in a country rife with political and economicchallenges holds lessons for environmental advocates throughout the Third World.


The environment is a complicated dynamic system with many interacting components. Our knowledge of these components, of the interactions between them, and of the relationship between people, resources, environment, and development has undergone profound evolution over the past two decades. We now realize that unless development is guided by environmental, social, cultural, and ethical considerations, much of it will have undesired effects or even fail altogether. Such "unsustainable" development will only exacerbate the environmental problems that already exist. We all must come to terms with the reality of resource limitations and the carrying capacities of ecosystems. We must pursue plans that will not lead to conflicts over limited resources but instead to a process of sustainable development that meets the needs of the present without compromising future generations.

The goal of sustainable development cannot be attained without significant changes in the ways development initiatives are planned and implemented. These changes will not come about unless there are similar changes in our attitudes toward environmental issues. They will not come about if we do not stop taking the environment and its natural resources for granted, if we do not stop considering the environment as free for the taking. And they will not come about if we do not come to consider environmental protection and environmental security as essential parts of national and international security. Furthermore, environmentally sound development plans will not succeed without public participation and a sense of individual responsibility.

Over the past two decades it has become more evident than ever that environmental problems are not confined within national boundaries but are of regional and often global significance. International cooperation-- global partnership--is essential not only to protect the environment but also to set the world on the path to sustainable development.

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