Conservation of date palm key to reducing global inequality and creating a more sustainable world, The Khalifa Award Report finds
Each date palm tree absorbs around 200 kilograms of CO2 annually, playing a key role in tackling the climate change crisis
The Khalifa Award has released its report: ‘Bridging boundaries: how can bio-regional collaboration convert the date palm industry into a successful model of the bio-circular economy?’ The report has been commissioned in commemoration of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030).
In a year which marks the sixth anniversary of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the report is framed around ‘the five Ps’: People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace, and Partnerships, which shape the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The report is a call to action for governing bodies and industry leaders to recognise the importance of date palm, particularly to the MENA region, and to use it as a springboard to create positive change for both people and the planet, across a multitude of sectors.
Owing to the rising importance of date palm both globally and, more specifically in the MENA region, The Khalifa Award Report has been created with the following objectives:
- People: Scale up the restoration of date palm ecosystems to alleviate poverty, to ensure food security and to see date palm as a holistic developmental solution
- Planet: Implement transboundary adaptation programmes focused on date palm oasis restoration, to enhance its full environmental, economic, and social potential
- Prosperity: Focus on new jobs across all sectors with a diversity of skills from manual labour, to intermediate technology to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This will help to ensure that all human beings can enjoy prosperous and fulfilling lives and that economic, social, and technological progress occurs in harmony with nature
- Peace: Use climate action, the UNFCCC system, Agenda 2030, and other global frameworks to scale up oases’ restoration, prevent degradation and foster sustainable urbanisation for regional security
- Partnership: Create an enabling environment for new policies at the regional, national and local government levels for the implementation of SDG 11.A to “Support positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning”.
The report has been inspired by 46 contributors across 21 countries, including adaptation experts such as Dr Youssef Nassef, Director of Adaptation Programme UNFCCC. It provides a framework to tackle the major climate change issues: CO2 emissions, biodiversity, desertification, drought and land degradation, with date palm at the very heart of the climate revolution.
One of the report’s co-editors, Dr Sandra Piesik, who co-edited the report alongside Professor Dr. Abdelouahhab Zaid, reflected on the post-pandemic Green Recovery opportunities: “The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed unresolved pre-pandemic challenges involving the national food security of individual countries during national lockdowns. Therefore, the pursuit of a self-sustainable developmental model serves both planetary and human health.
“To achieve this, North-South, South-South and triangular regional and international cooperation will be crucial, in line with SDG 17, which aims to enhance international cooperation when implementing sustainable initiatives. As a result, we urge governing bodies and industry leaders across the world to read the report, work together and take the appropriate action. It will save lives, livelihoods and fundamentally, our planet.”
Due to their genetic diversity, date palms are resistant to extreme weather conditions such as heat, drought and floods, which can lead to reduced harvest yields and the deterioration of natural resources, particularly in lower income countries. When sustainably managed, date palm ecosystems are vital in reversing desertification in desert regions, as they provide habitat, shade and protection from wind and heat for other species. This is a key aim for the United Nations, which created the ‘Convention to Combat Desertification’.
Date palm can also play a key role in reducing the number of people that face food insecurity across the globe, worsened by regional dependencies on imports. Latest reports suggest that 2 billion people currently face food insecurity. Meanwhile, an additional 32-80 million people in low income countries that rely on food imports could face the same issue. Presently,10.3 million tonnes of waste are produced from date palm, which could instead be turned into food. For example, waste can be used in a variety of consumer products, including chopped dates, date honey and date paste.
To read the full report, please click the link here: https://bridgingboundaries.world/