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Economic Aspects | Natural Resource Aspects | Institutional Aspects | Social Aspects | Bahrain

SOCIAL ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN BAHRAIN

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POVERTY

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DEMOGRAPHICS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

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Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations  

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Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

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Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

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Programmes and Projects   

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Status

The state of Bahrain is located centrally on the southern shores of the Arabian Gulf between latitudes 25 32 and 26 30 North, and longitude 50 20 and 50 50 East. It lies some 22 km off the Eastern Coast of Saudi Arabia and slightly further from the Western Coast of the Qatar peninsula. It is linked with Saudi Arabia through the King Fahad Causeway which opened in November 1986.

The state comprises a group of some 36 islands, with a total land area of about 700 sq. km. The largest of these is Bahrain where the capital city, Manama, is situated. Bahrain island, which accounts for nearly 85% of the total area of the State of Bahrain, is low lying, with a maximum elevation of 134 metres. Apart from a narrow fertile strip along the North and North-Western Coast, it is generally rocky and bare. The limestone bedrock is covered with varying depths of sand which supports little vegetation other than a few tough desert plants.

The significant aspects of the general climate are cool winters with sparse rainfall, and hot summers with high humidity. The winter season, from December to February, is influenced by low pressure systems from the Mediterranean, which travel east into the Gulf and cause periods of disturbed weather. These disturbances are accompanied by rainfall which averages approximately 74 mm per annum. January is usually the coolest month, when extreme low temperatures are experienced, and prevailing north-westerly winds. The summer season from June to September is generally hot with a noticeable increase in wet bulb temperatures. First the region is influenced by low pressure over Pakistan. This is caused by dry north-westerly winds, known locally as Al-Barah, which persist for long periods and create more pleasant conditions than in other summer months. After this period, the low pressure system declines allowing the formation of South-Easterly winds known as the Kaus, which cause a steady rise in both temperature and humidity. August is the hottest month of the year. By October, temperatures begin gradually to decrease and cloudiness increases the possibility of rain. Although the weather may be changeable with the possibility of thunderstorms, the most comfortable months are March, April, October and November.

The population reached over half a million in 1992. The Bahrainis represent about 62.5% of the total population, divided equally between males and females. The population has almost doubled since 1971.

The growth rate of Bahrainis is 2.91%, and the average age of the Bahrainis population is 18 and over. Therefore, Bahrain is classified as a young community. Those who are of the ages between 15-44 represent 51% of the total population, whereas the older people (65 years and over) represent 2.3% only.

Bahrain has a relatively high population density with 829 inhabitants per square kilometre. Due to its small size, the State experiences mixed development, industrial areas being located close to residential areas. The urban population represents about 80% of the total population.

Challenges  

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Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

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Information   

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Research and Technologies  

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Financing  

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Cooperation  

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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.

For demographic information on Bahrain in the Island Directory maintained by Earthwatch, click here.

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HEALTH

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

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Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

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Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

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Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

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Programmes and Projects   

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Status

Health services in Bahrain started in the early 1900s. Since then, the Government has been working hard to provide advance free medical care to all inhabitants of Bahrain. The Government has also adopted the World Health Organization's goal to achieve "Health For All in the Year 2000".

As a result of the health development experienced by Bahrain, the expectation of life at birth for both sexes rose dramatically from about 55 years in 1971 to 67 years in 1991.

Health services begin at the Health Centres. There are 22 Health Centres and Clinics, 4 Hospitals and 5 Maternity Hospitals. Cases requiring additional care are brought to Salmanyia Medical centre, the biggest hospital in Bahrain which is highly equipped and contains over 832 beds. The total number of beds in hospitals (Government and Private sectors) is not less than 1837.

Challenges  

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Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

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Information   

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Research and Technologies  

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Financing  

Government expenditure on health is over 8.5% more than that contributed to public expenditure, with a revenue of approximately 6.7% of the expenditure.

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.

Click here to go to the Health and health-related statistical information from the World Health Organization.

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EDUCATION

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

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Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

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Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

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Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

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Programmes and Projects   

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Status

Regular education in Bahrain started in 1919 when the first boys' school was opened in Muharraq town. Nearly ten years later (in 1928), the first girls school was opened. In 1929 education was put under direct Government control, through the Ministry of Education.

Education in Bahrain is in three stages: Primary stage (6 years), Intermediate stage (3 years and Secondary stage (3 years). Higher education is available for secondary school graduates and can be obtained through the Bahrain University, Arabian Gulf University and specialized Institutes.

The total number of students of all schools reached 120, 657 in 1993, distributed among 162 Government schools and 31 private schools.

Challenges  

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Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

Great attention is given to the importance of environmental protection awareness for the public and decision-making levels, and broad participation is encouraged wherever appropriate. The Environmental Affairs Agency (EA) cooperates with other Ministries and Major Groups, such as private schools and societies, in executing all specialized programs focused on increasing public awareness in regard to national, regional and international environmental issues. These programs include - but are not restricted to - painting and drawing competitions among students, stage shows, lectures at school, TV interviews, scientific field trips, and so forth.

In coordination with relevant public and private sectors, EA celebrates the following events to engender a concern and caring attitude: World Health Day (7 April); Earth Day (22 April); Regional Environment Day (24 April); World Environment Day (5 June); and Arab Environment Day. (14 October).

EA collaborates with the Ministry of Education on regular introduction of environmental topics, literature and issues of national, regional and international nature in the school curriculum. Every attempt is made to develop an earth watching, earth-protecting, earth-caring, and earth- helping attitude in the minds of children. Many schools have been encouraged to start recycling activities, and leading schools have already started Ecology clubs. Children regularly take part in clean-up campaigns and project work on environment. On World Environment day, 1992, EA supported NGO's in organizing a "Mini Earth Summit" in Bahrain. The conference was a big hit and was not only a learning experience for the participating students, but also received attention in the community.

The Central Municipal Council (CMC), together with the Directorate of Heritage and Museum, celebrated the Environmental occasion by a three- year carnival entitled, 'Who adopts a Palm Tree' in which date palm seedlings were distributed among the children to plant and nurture in their gardens.

Considerable attention is given to training and general and professional staff, by supporting or encouraging them both to pursue their academic studies and to participate in workshops, technical conferences, seminars and specialized training courses. This is seen as a part of the continuous process to achieve the ultimate goal in making the Environmental Affairs Agency a learning institute.

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies  

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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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HUMAN SETTLEMENTS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

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Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

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Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

It is Government policy to provide housing in the various areas on the island, since housing is a key element for socio economic development.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

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Status   

The capital of Bahrain is Manama, where most of the commercial centres, Government departments and other service centres are located. Manama has experienced some migration to the suburbs and other towns and areas. Although the State of Bahrain is composed of various islands, the majority of the population is on the main Island, Bahrain. It is the centre for most activities and public services. Muharraq, the second largest island lies northeast of the main island. The third inhabited island is Sitra, east of Bahrain. Bahrain society is considered an urban and settled society. No Bedouins or tribes are present among the communities.

The Bahraini definition of urban is places or communities with a population of 2500 or more. Urbanization has been increasing, and this has also led an increase of domestic waste. At present, Bahrain's production of domestic waste of 1.2 Kg per capita is considered to be one of the highest in the world.

Due to the large increase in population, inhabited areas have expanded southwards to the desert and new towns have been established. The first was Isa Town, built in the sixties and Hamad Town, built in the late seventies-early eighties. A third town is presently being planned in the south east region. However the old housing areas have witnessed a variety of improvements.

Bahrain experienced a rapid growth in all kinds of infrastructure during the seventies and eighties, such as modern road networks and bridges, which now connect all areas in Bahrain. The telecommunication system is excellent, and almost every house in Bahrain has a telephone set. Direct dialling, telex, telefax, Internet, and other facilities provide access to most parts of the world. The airport facilities and seaport services have been expanded and upgraded, and luxury hotels have been constructed to boost tourism.

Among the most important infrastructure utilities is a sewage network which has covered almost all major towns, and considerable progress has been achieved to cover domestic and industrial areas. Limited reuse of the tertiary treated sewage waters is in use for irrigation in restricted and controlled areas. 

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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