Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung
Jordan & Iraq

P.O. Box 941876
Amman 11194
Jordan

Phone: +962 6 500 83 35
Fax:    +962 6 569 64 78

E-Mail: fes@fes-jordan.org
www.fes-jordan.org

Learn more about
the work of FES in this field

For more information about the work of FES in this field, please visit the FES Sustainability website at www.fes-sustainability.org/en.

The Energy and Climate Program for the MENA Region:

Countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) find themselves needing to both meet a massively increasing domestic energy demand and to respond to the challenges of climate change. While a reliable energy supply is a major condition for economic development, the current fossil-based energy consumption is about to trigger a climate change that jeopardizes future economic development. Floods, droughts, unbearable heat and destabilizing mass migration are only some of the expected causes, should the global temperature increase exceed the two degrees mar. Calculations as to the expected result of such a scenario led UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon to the conviction that “climate change is potentially more dangerous than all conflicts put together.” The key question therefore is: How to ensure the needed energy supply for a just economic development, without further contributing to the multiple dangers of climate change.

Renewable Energy as an Economic Development Opportunity
Sustainable energy provides the key to both economic development and active engagement against climate change. Large scale development of renewable energy sources would bring about an increase of manufacturing and export capacities which would generate much needed income from energy exports and thousands of new jobs in the renewable energy industry. It would keep financial resources within the region that otherwise would have to be spent on purchasing oil, natural gas, coal or uranium. Decentralized renewable energy solutions could foster the development of rural areas throughout the region. CSP (Concentrated Solar Power) powered sea water desalination plants would help to overcome water scarcity. There are many more advantages.

A Question of Political Will
However large scale development of renewable energy will not materialize without political will and supporting political frameworks. The current situation can testify to that: While the MENA-region holds a greater potential for the use of renewable energy than any other region in the world, it is at the same time the region with the smallest share of renewable energy in its primary energy supply. Most analysts see the main reason for the lack of renewable energy utilities and the excessive per capita energy consumption in most MENA countries in the way energy policies are currently structured. It is only through political will and smart policies that countries can succeed in transforming their energy sectors towards sustainability. The challenge for MENA policy makers therefore is to restructure energy policies in a sustainable way. While many different players are already active in the wider field of renewable energy in the MENA region, their efforts have mainly focused on facilitating business-to-business conferences, technical research, and energy financing issues. So far, little has been done in the fields of policy research, policy consulting, and public awareness to promote a sustainable use of energy in the region.

In Search of Suitable Energy Policies: The FES Energy and Climate Program
Against this backdrop, the FES Energy and Climate Program in the MENA region supports the search for suitable policies to promote energy savings and energy efficiency and encourages a transition towards an energy supply based on renewable energy sources. The Arab Spring has strengthened our belief that public opinion can change politics everywhere. Since energy questions often relate to public interest (pollution, nuclear power, pricing), it is time to use the momentum of change for introducing ideas about clean and safe energy. It is our hope that new energy policies will bring about new, green, and fair jobs, economic development, energy justice, a solution to the many water issues of the region, and clean air for citizens from Tehran to Rabat.

FES Amman serves as a regional link for MENA activities under the Energy and Climate Program.