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INSTITUTIONAL ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN BAHRAIN


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INTEGRATED DECISION-MAKING

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies

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Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

The Government of Bahrain felt that economic development and sound environmental management are complimentary aspects of the same agenda and without adequate environmental protection, development will be undermined. With this in mind, the most important legislation was set forth as Amiri Decree No. 7 in August 1980, which formed the Environmental Protection Committee (EPC) and the Environmental Protection Technical Secretariat (EPTS). The EPC was attached to the office of H.H. The Prime Minister through the office of H.E. The Minister of Health , Chairman of EPC. Recently, an Amiri decree-law No.21 (1996) was enacted with to establish the Environmental Affairs Agency (EA) under the Ministry of Housing, Municipalities and Environment. The EA consists of two Directorates: Directorate of Assessment and Planning and Directorate of Environmental. The Amiri decree-law No. 21 (1996) outlined the mission.

In addition to Amiri Decree No. 7 and Amiri Decree No.21, the following legislation relating to protection of the environment has been issued as a series of Ministerial orders to control various disciplines (Table 1).

Table 1

Year Subject
1977 To control the removal of the desert sand
1977 To control garbage collection
1980 To control the extraction of the ground water
1981 To control fishing
1983 To control agriculture
1984 To control importation of plant materials
1984 To protect date palm trees
1986 To protect dugong
1986 To control gill nets and shrimp nets
1986 To limit trawling to areas greater than 20m depth
1986 To prohibit use of drift nets
1989 To control the use of pesticides
1995 Protection of Tubli Bay (Mangrove protected area)
1996 Designation Hawar islands and the adjacent waters as protected areas

In addition to the above, national effluent guidelines have been formulated on the basis of standard practices followed in the region. However, a comprehensive review of the standards and guidelines of other countries is in progress. It is intended after this study that the EA will formulate new guidelines.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans

A national committee was formulated to prepare a National Strategy to execute Agenda 21. Many meetings were held to define the priorities, and, in order to facilitate their work, it was requested from all ministries, companies, occupational organizations, and women's societies that they each nominate a representative to participate in these committees. A coordinator from the Environmental Affairs Agency was also appointed for each committee.

Mission of the Environmental Affairs: Based on the role, mandate and the ultimate goal set for the environmental affairs, the mission to be achieved is within the following scope:

To Protect, Rehabilitate and Improve the environment by providing leadership and encouraging partnership to successfully integrate environment and development concerns for better protected and managed ecosystems, leading to improved quality of life without compromising that of future generation.

Environmental Policy: The immediate and the medium-term objectives of environmental policy would be to address the most urgent problems, such as threats to human health caused by poor environmental quality. Losses, damage or destruction of natural resources, depletion and degradation of environmental resources, and the deterioration of Biodiversity. Bahrain Environmental Policy, initially, focussing on the following major fields:

A systematic approach is being carefully applied, weighing the environmental, economic and social implications of different alternatives. This environmental policy shall lead us into completing our environmental strategy, which shall clearly define what should be achieved, when by whom, and at what cost.

The ultimate message of precautionary environmental policy is the departure from downstream cleaning technologies, the so-called end-of-the-pipe technology, towards an environmental protection management integrated in over all production processes and products.

To achieve environmental policy objectives, a variety of policy instruments such as - regulatory, planning, economic and voluntary - would be needed for an effective action plan. Specific instruments that are appropriate for a particular objective, environmentally cost-effective and compatible with institutional framework shall be used wherever appropriate.

Bahrain Environmental policy is based on the precautionary principle, the polluter-pay principle, the sustainability concept, and the concept of shared responsibility, to fulfill the ultimate goals of sustainable development through harmonious action of all relevant actors.

An integrated, cross-media approach to preventing and resolving environmental problems is being promoted and adopted, rather than the traditional medium-by-medium approach (air, water, soil).

The Environmental Affairs Agency adopts three Environmental Policies namely, Precautionary Principle, Polluter Pays Principle and Cooperation Principle. The three Principles are the essence of interpretation legislation into national major fields of concerns and ministration of the community.

Objectives and Basic Principles of the Environmental Policy: In order to fulfill such broad mission, set of objectives for the environmental policy had to be defined to safeguard the state of the environment for the well-being of the people by way of comprehensive view of health and social welfare policy as well as an ecologically sustainable policy in such a way that:

The qualifying factors for a successful environmental policy lies within the fact that the urgency of environmental protection must be affixed in all fields of development and that environmental protection is understood as a cross-sectoral task.

Sustainable Development Strategy: The sustainable development strategy in Bahrain is targeted to human development. The efforts of the Government to develop the infrastructure, the society and the economic diversification have resulted in a tangible achievements in many fields. However, the main elements of this strategy are:

The initial step in developing a sustainable development policy is by determining a number of priority issues that are crucial and need attention. An integrated environmental approach has been recognized in addressing these issues as it represents the way forward to sound management of environmental resources in Bahrain economies.

The following are the six main priority issues and the relevant achievement on the national, regional and international levels.

1. Terrestrial and Marine Resources

Bahrain, being a small island developing State suffers tremendously of small land areas. Therefore great attention is being given to this issue to enable a sound utilization of coastal areas and resources. Expansion of land at the expense of coastal areas constitutes a major concern. There is a pressing need to develop an integrated approach to the protection and management of land and marine resources, taking into account the opportunities of tourism and much needed coastal and off-shore development.

National

-- Residential

-- Industrial

-- Commercial and Agricultural

Regional

International

2. Water Resources

Bahrain suffers from a scarcity of water resources. There is no surface water in Bahrain and the ground water level is declining in both quality and quantity. A high percentage of the water supply comes from the desalination of seawater.

This situation has caused deep concern over the sound management of water resources in Bahrain. Indeed a strategy in this respect is being formulated.

3. Climate Change

Bahrain being a low lying island and also oil-producing country is facing the impact of climate change both directly and indirectly.

Since the early nineties great consideration has been given to climate change issues and representatives from Bahrain have participated in international meetings relating to this subject. Bahrain signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Rio de Janeiro in 1993 and verified it in December 1994.

Currently, Bahrain is preparing the first National Communication Report for the Secretariat of the Convention. This report will constitute the GHG Inventory and other related activities that address the mitigation of GHG and assess the impact and vulnerability to climate change on the environment.

National

Regional

International

4. Waste Management

Bahrain is a small country with limited natural resources, high population growth rate and restricted space. The Country's fragile resources are under immense threat mainly due to population explosion and rapid industrialization. The waste generation from domestic, industrial and healthcare facilities and their uncontrolled and inappropriate disposal is causing major threat to the country's ecosystem creating adverse impacts on public health, land, water and air resources. Waste management has become our priority issue to be solved on war footings in environmental friendly manner by utilizing appropriate technologies to restrict the pollution and conserve the finite and fragile environmental resources of the country.

Industrial and hazardous waste represents considerable risk to the environment in Bahrain. This is due to the fact that Bahrain as a land is small. Investors in industrial projects are encouraged to reduce the amount of waste and to utilize part of their premises for waste disposal.

National

Regional

International

5. Biodiversity

Bahrain is very rich in Biodiversity. It possesses hundreds of species of flora and birdlife. Indeed one of its small islands is famous for having the worlds's largest colony of Cormorants.

Conservation of Biodiversity is therefore one of the most pressing issues at a national level. In fulfilling its international obligations, Bahrain has ratified the Convention of Biodiversity and Ramsar conventions and seriously studied the requirements to be party to other related international agreements.

On the National level the Bahrain Government has given considerable attention to the protection of Biodiversity. This has been translated into issuing regulations and informing institutions who are responsible for these issues. There is an ambitious plan to protect its rich Biodiversity for national and global good.

National

Regional

International

6. Pollution Control

Pollution alters the environment generally as it gives rise to the threat to human beings and environmental resources. There is no doubt that pollution should be given the greatest attention as it is the direct manifestation of environmental harm.

Bahrain's Government has addressed this issue thoroughly by ensuring the relevant regulations, recently the Environmental Impact Assessment regulation as the way forward for pollution prevention and in the near future the environmental quality and emission standards will come into action.

The population and industrial growth has aggravated the pollution due to air emissions from vehicles and industries, marine pollution due to water effluent from sand washing plants, industries and oil spills, occupational hazards due to noise, vibration, heat stress, ventilation, radiation, radioactive materials, etc. and chemical pollution due to various hazardous chemicals, pesticides, asbestos and ODS. These forms of pollution are causing serious threat to the public health and the environmental resources due to which they are on the priority agenda of the Government to safeguard the health of the residents.

National

- Asbestos (in progress)

- Criteria for services (in progress)

- Ozone Depleting Substances (in progress)

- Chemical Control Criteria/Procedures (in progress)

- R&R on Refrigerants (in progress)

- Institutional Strengthening Project (in progress)

- Refrigerant Management Plan (in progress)

Regional

As member state of GCC working on:

- Chemical Standards (in progress)

                    - Radiation Control (in progress)

International

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available

Programmes and Projects

A proposed project on Integrated Planning and Management for Environmental Resources in Bahrain will ensure that conservation of Bahrain's Biodiversity becomes an integral part of its development strategy thus ensuring the provision of institutional, human and financial resources through both public and private sources. The project is also aimed at developing an integrated approach to the protection and management of Bahrain's environmental resources, on land and in its coastal and marine waters. It will also address Environmental Quality Standards, the Environmental Impact Assessment Process, ecotourism opportunities, species at risk and threatened habitats.

A project is underway to formulate a National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) for Bahrain for subsequent implementation which will ensure the protection and sustainable use of its Biodiversity in accordance with article 6 and 8 of the Convention.

The above two project proposals are in line with the SIDS and the Barbados Plan of Action. These proposals are as per the objectives of the UNCED 1992 and 1994 Global Conference for the Sustainable Development for SIDS. These projects highlight the priority areas and have strategic importance to the country as they address the core issues and major aspects, which are part of our national environmental agenda. Furthermore, the materialization of these projects will build and strengthen our existing capabilities and will integrate the diversified environmental activities already in progress. The projects will assist us in fulfilling our national duties, commitments and obligations towards Agenda 21.

These projects aim at conserving the ecologically fragile and finite environmental resources of the country which are already under great stress mainly due to population explosion, varied economical and commercial activities and industrial expansion. Both the projects proposed are complimentary to each other and supports the inter-disciplinary and integrated management approaches on environmental conservation, resources management and controlling activities on biodiversity.

The materialization of these projects will pave the way for better networking and development of new mechanism for planning and implementing projects on environmental conservation and activities related to biodiversity. The outcome and results will be coordinated and shared with other SID States and neighboring GCC countries.

The implementation of these projects are expected to yield quantification results in terms of pollution reduction, waste minimization, conservation of land and marine resources leading to economic benefits, improved public health, development and training of human resources, improved quality of life and enhanced environmental awareness among the people.

Status

Bahrain is limited on geographical space and area, and the policy is to expand the development on reclaimed area gained from the intertidal zone. There is definitely a need for an integrated approach for land reclamation procedures. Such an approach will provide a full, comprehensive picture to ensure the best and wisest use of land, water and other resources, with the minimum of conflict and the sustainability of the Bahrain environment.

Industrialization combined with the population increase has brought major pressures on the land area of Bahrain. There has been a considerable reclamation of land from the sea which caused blocking of natural drainage channels killing date palm trees, adversely affecting mangrove swamps and stopping the flow of natural springs. Rapid industrialization has brought stress on the environment and other natural resources. While the primary aim of the new economic policy is to accelerate industrial development, improve operational efficiency and competitiveness, enhance exports and induce greater foreign investments, inevitably it will have both positive and negative environmental consequences.

Bahrain is committed to the cause of environmental protection and has thus decided to incorporate Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) into the industrialization process to solve the problems of pollution and environmental degradation.

The State of Bahrain participated in the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) which was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 1992, which asserts the necessity of linking sustainable development with the conservation of environment. And for the sake of executing Rio de Janeiro declaration, the Environmental Affairs (EA) insisted on the effective participation of all related parties in the State of Bahrain for the execution of Agenda 21.

A national committee was formulated to prepare a national strategy to execute Agenda 21 program. Many meetings were held to define the priorities, and five environmental issues were recognized, and considered to be pressing environmental matters. These issues are:

Generally, the ambition of the Committees was too great as stated by Agenda 21 and the Achievements of these committees should be subjected to rational consideration. The ambitions will not be realized without the international cooperation through the related organization, specially United National Environment Program, United Nations Development Program, Economic Social for West Asia (ESCWA) and Sustainable Development Committee. After attending the 19th Special Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations which took place in June 1997, the Cabinet of Ministers directed the Ministry of Housing, Municipalities and Environment to spearhead the formation of the National Team on the Development and Agenda 21. The Team's major tasks are to study Kyoto protocols and other conventions and sustainable development matters. The team has convened 10 meetings all of which are concerned with Kyoto protocols and protection of freshwater resources in the Island.

Challenges  

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Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

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Information   

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Research and Technologies  

No information is available

Financing  

No information is available

Cooperation

The Government of Bahrain is committeed to affirming the partnership relations with the International community and the Regional Nations ( such as the League of Arab States and the Gulf Cooperation Council), its efforts for the protection of the globe through the ratification of conventions and protocols, and its attendance at conferences such as the Earth Summit of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), took place in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992.

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This information was provided by the Government of Bahrain to the fifth and seventh sessions of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: April 1999.

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MAJOR GROUPS

WOMEN

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies

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Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

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Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans

Women's societies were among those requested to provide representation on all five of the committees organized to implement the National Strategy to execute Agenda 21, including Committees on:

Protection of freshwater resources;
Environmentally sound management of waste and chemicals;
Protection of the marine environment;
Protection of the atmosphere; and
Changing consumption patterns.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement 

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status   

No information is available

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies  

No information is available

Financing  

No information is available

Cooperation  

No information is available

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This information was provided by the Government of Bahrain to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 1 April 1997.

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CHILDREN AND YOUTH

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INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

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LOCAL AUTHORITIES

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WORKERS AND UNIONS

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BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies

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Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations  

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Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans

Companies were among those requested to provide representation on all five of the committees organized to implement the National Strategy to execute Agenda 21, including Committees on:

Protection of freshwater resources;
Environmentally sound management of waste and chemicals;
Protection of the marine environment;
Protection of the atmosphere; and
Changing consumption patterns.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status   

No information is available

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies  

No information is available

Financing  

No information is available

Cooperation  

No information is available

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This information was provided by the Government of Bahrain to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 1 April 1997.

 

SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY

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FARMERS

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SCIENCE

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INFORMATION

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INTERNATIONAL LAW

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