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 Sustainable development for fragile ecosystems

Since 1993 FEDA has worked in Rosetta (coastal area), Wadi Natroun (desert area) and Gamalia district (historic part of Cairo). These fragile ecosystems are well known for their cultural heritage. Both Gamalia and Rosetta have some of the most important Islamic monuments, while Wadi Natroun is known for its famous Coptic Christian monasteries.

Prof Dr. Adli Bishay
Friends of Environment and Development Association (FEDA) Board Chairman, Emeritus Professor AUC, Cairo, Egypt

The mission of Friends of Environment and Development Association (FEDA) is to implement strategies for sustainable development in Egypt, as put forward by a special UNDP Task Force coordinated by the author. The Bruntland definition of sustainable development was adopted and its framework was based on a dynamic balance between (a) resource management, (b) environmental protection, and (c) human and economic development.

To achieve this balance, we require appropriate management, necessary financial resources, and R& D with emphasis on optimization between the ecological and economic dimensions of development. Public participation (social & political), adequate infrastructure and efficient support services are also of utmost importance in implementing strategies for sustainable development. It was realized by FEDA's Board that it would be more realistic and effective to limit its implementation activities to fragile ecosystems, namely coastal, desert and historic areas. Since 1993 we have been working in Rosetta (coastal area), Wadi Natroun (desert area) and Gamalia district (historic part of Cairo). These three fragile ecosystems, though different in location, climate and natural resources, are well known for their cultural heritage. Both Gamalia and Rosetta have some of the most important Islamic monuments, while Wadi Natroun is known for its famous Coptic Christian monasteries.

FEDA's sustainable development objective is to implement projects leading to upgrading of these fragile ecosystems with the goal of improving the quality of life of its residents and encouraging tourism. For this to be achieved we need to deal with both human and environmental aspects.

The paper reviews some of the steps taken towards achieving sustainable development in these fragile ecosystems through (a) upgrading physical conditions and improving infrastructure of demonstration areas, (b) developing democratic community structure through information management, monitoring and public awareness as well as capacity building and initiation of local organizations, and (c) improving living conditions of the inhabitants with respect to social, educational, cultural, health, environment and economic support through training and technological upgrading.

For more details please contact ICARDA at the contact link above. (Link will be active for registered users only)

© International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), 2006

Associated links

Meeting information

Eighth International Conference on Dryland Development 25-28 February 2006, Beijing, China

Keywords associated to this article: sustainable development; ecosystem
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