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Newsletter No.5 - February 2011
Issue No.5 | February 2011 

Climate Change:
IFI and the UNFCCC Conference of Parties negotiations

  IFI has been involved in the climate negotiation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) by sending delegations to both the UNFCCC 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) in Copenhagen and the COP16 summit in Cancun, Mexico. IFI conducted a regional consultation on Climate Change to exchange ideas and knowledge among leading Arab experts in the aftermath of Copenhagen—discussions revealed poor data and knowledge sharing among Arab governments, which exposed information transparency, unreliable research and a lack of donors. IFI also collaborated with UNEP on a Regional Climate Change Policy Development Workshop for Arab negotiators prior to Cancun, and held a panel discussion at AUB, "Assessing the Cancun Climate Change Summit: Views from Within". Cancun's COP16 was viewed as a continuation to Copenhagen's COP15; its significance was in restoring faith in the multilateral process and reinstating negotiations back into the UNFCCC framework. With the League of Arab States playing a proactive role, Arab governments showed more unity and coordination at Cancun.
  IFI's Climate change program is now focusing its work on regional politics and policies on issues of Renewable Energy, Climate Change negotiations, and the Economic Costs of Climate Change.

Food Security:
AUB professors consulted on IFAD's 2010 Rural Poverty Report

  In cooperation with the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences at AUB, IFI hosted a regional consultation workshop on rural poverty and development. The workshop brought together a total of 26 participants from Middle East and North Africa to discuss the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Rural Poverty Report 2010 to share opinions from a regional perspective and to propose recommendations. Three themes from the report were selected as priority issues for the region: 1) Governance and Conflict in Fragile States—highlighting social protections and increased representation for the rural poor, 2) Natural Resources Market—improving access to, management and quality of natural resources (mainly land and water) for farmers, 3) Role of Markets in Rural Poverty—debating whether farmers should be producing crops to generate revenue versus crops with high nutritional value to develop food sovereignty.

Read consultation workshop synthesis report

Research in Focus

IFI Working Paper: "Describing Lebanese Youth: a national and psycho-social survey"

  Dr Charles Harb, associate professor of social psychology, AUB, investigated young Lebanese's identities, values, and their degree of sectarianism—with an emphasis on prejudice, attitudes towards inter-sectarian marriage, and religion. His Working Paper revealed there still remain high levels of sectarian bias amongst Lebanese youth, as well as low levels of acceptance of inter-sectarian relationships—two thirds of Lebanese youth would not consider marrying someone from a different sect. Unlike the youth population elsewhere in the world, who associate predominantly with their peers and prioritize their individuality, Dr Harb found that Lebanese youth give importance to family, national identity, and sectarian affiliation above all else.

"Young Lebanese: What they feel, how they behave" roundtable discussion:
Video ||| Audio ||| Agenda ||| Dr Harb's presentation ||| Press clippings

Palestinian Camps

"Opportunities Amidst Crises: UNRWA and Palestine refugees in today's Middle East"


A lecture and open discussion with Fillipo Grandi, UNRWA Commissioner-General.

Listen Audio ||| Watch Video




UN in the Middle East Research Initiative

"Supervising a temporary truce working for a Permanent Peace"

A lecture and open discussion with Major General Robert Mood, Head of Mission and Chief of Staff at United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO).

Listen Audio ||| Watch Video




Research Briefing

"Centrality of the Family in Women’s Higher Education: The Case of Jordan"

A lecture and open discussion with Carine Allaf, Ph.D. in International Comparative Education at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).


Listen Audio



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