EMME: Environmental Management in the Middle East

A project funded by European Commission, Erasmus+ CBHE.

The Middle East region faces several environmental challenges. The annual cost of environmental degration e.g., in Iran is currently at US$8.4 billion (equal to 7.4% of GDP), and keeps increasing. The negative influences of environmental issues on the health and lives of people are undeniable.

Major climate and environmental challenges

Climate change, misuse of environmental resources (e.g., overuse of groundwater) and environmental interventions (e.g., dam construction without proper environmental impact assessment) are important challenges that need solutions. Furthermore, the deteriorating situation for fresh water, sanitation and waste treatment, and the effects on health and food security, are increasing the demand for international aid to the region.

Spatial Data Infrastructures and underlying Technologies (SDI-T), including Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing (RS), have proven to be crucial for environmental management (EM) (2). RS, mainly through satellite images, can be used to monitor environmental changes like land degradation and water levels.

Spatial data to support decision making

GIS can be used to model trends, identify hotspots, analyze and simulate measures to protect the environment and mitigate the effects of crisis. An SDI is required to overcome the technical and conceptual barriers in sharing heterogeneous spatial data to support collaborative decision making. Different sources of data, GIS software components, spatial DB, and analysis tools, can be combined in an SDI to provide integrated environmental modelling for the Middle East. Although SDI-T has proven to be a very useful tool to improve environmental management, it is not still used by the authorities in the Middle East, largely because of lack of capacity and knowledge.

EMME is prepared following an ongoing project, GeoNetC.

The significant added values are:

  • Establishing an e-learning system in Yemen and implementing GeoNetC program in the country.
  • Developing three new applied blended courses on SDI-T which can be used by experts in environmental management authorities.
  • Development and implementation of an environmental management Geoportal (emGeo) for Iran, Iraq and Yemen, based on novel technologies to facilitate the sharing of spatial data, planning and decision-making for environmental management. Iraq is an associate partner in the project. emGeo will be accessible to Iraq, through our existing network, to be used for better environmental management.
  • Expanding the existing European-Middle East Network by including new European, Iranian and Yemeni participant universities in the consortium.
  • Introducing Open Network Learning (ONL) tools to the partner countries that can considerably improve the quality of education and teaching.
  • Improving HEIs role within the society by improving the linkage between HEI, government and enterprise in the partner countries.

The aim is capacity building in Iran and Yemen using spatial data infrastructures and Technologies to improve environmental management.

The project includes five European partners, three university partners from Iran and two from Yemen.

 

EMME. Picture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Major activities in the project:

  • Course development
  • Development of web-based systems to facilitate spatial data collection
  • Management
  • Analysis and sharing 
  • Establishing e-learning
  • Training of pilot students
  • Training of trainers
  • Dissemination

EMME web page
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