Programme description: an integral view

1. Security
2. End states
3. First steps in a journey
4. Ecology
5. Planning

3. First steps in a journey

What does it take to green the MENA-region? What actions do we have to take to start the process? First thing is that we have to communicate a clear attractive narrative that appeals to rulers, informal leaders of communities of mostly young people, landowners, farmers and shepherds, religious leaders and entrepreneurs from the valleys in Waziristan in Afghanistan to the valleys of the Atlas in Morocco, from the plains of Anatolia in Turkey to the Lak Dera river in Somalia.

Narrative example
Imagine 2030: large parts of the deserts of the MENA-region are green and prosperous. The people trade their crops while developing industrial activity. New plants and trading places emerge, education and jobs are available. The MENA-region countries flourish and claim their position as a granary for African, Asian and European countries. The economic strength bring them individual and group opportunities no one ever dreamt of. Terrorism lacks fundamental dissatisfaction of the people, refugees can come home and built up their lives again, MENA is developing itself, apart from oil, diversified their economic resources. What a sweet thought.

Of course the narrative will need an additional part that meets the local social dynamics, local circumstances and actualities. Films and pictures of the greening of Yan’an valley in China and places in MENA and Sub Sahara Africa are most suitable to show people what can be achieved. We can use it as prove to underpin the narrative and document our own improvements.

Using the first spots as examples we have to arrange a strong public education programme aiming on general announcements, the actual approach of communities, education on ecology and agriculture, management, maintenance of the process, entrepreneurship and community security. We have to connect people and knowledge, also when it comes to threats from thieves or terrorists.

Education is a very important issue in this programme, all the stakeholders, western and MENA, need education and training, exchange and braiding their skills and knowledge and experience.

Integral programme: Step by step
We need:

  • International NGO’s and IO’s to prepare the programme with.
  • A team that takes care of the governance of the overall programme aiming on security-ecology perspective.
  • Contact with the ecological and agricultural initiatives of NGO’s and corporates in MENA.
  • The support of embassies of Europe to help to energize the project in all stages.
  • Collaboration with NGO’s and embassies that can approach local and national leadership.
  • Social engineers to help to spread the narrative and mobilize communities staying on track as it comes to the security-ecology-focus and perspective.
  • A consortium of ecological oriented experts and companies.
  • Knowledge institutes worldwide and together develop educational materials.
  • Educational experts that can help to educate the communities and managers of local projects.
  • Film and radio makers that make programmes for public education.
  • Development of an overall safety and security plan considering protection against terrorism and strengthening community security ( gender issues included).
  • Awareness of the programme being an important contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals.

Local project: Step by step
We need:

  • A combined programme staff-MENA team that prepares local projects by finding suitable spots to start.
  • A team of social engineers to help to spread the narrative and align it with local needs and insights.
  • Local and national leadership that support the projects.
  • Participating communities that connect to the project with hearts and minds.
  • Local experts to host the local projects by facilitating local opportunities with technical and methodological approaches of the greening process.
  • To involve native MENA personnel in the project that comes up with approval and cooperation of leaders and landowners.
  • This team actually starts the farming with the communities Mechanisms to bring low- and mid-tech solutions on water, agriculture, ecology and energy at work at the selected spots
  • Local organizations that can approach or are already embedded in the local communities/ refugee camps/communities with large amounts of refugees.
  • Teachers who can coach on the job and tutor on information, exchange of experiences
  • Access to micro loans and materials,
  • Development of a local safety and security plan considering protection against terrorism and strengthening community security (gender issues included).

4. Ecology

1. Security
2. End states
5. Planning