Key moments from the Middle Eastern and North African Climate Week

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

The Middle Eastern and North African Climate Week 2023 (MENA CW 2023) was held in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from October 8 to 12. MENA CW is part of the four Regional Climate Weeks that are held globally as part of the United Nations Climate Conference COP 28. The purpose of these Regional Climate Weeks is to fulfill goals of the Paris Agreement.

During MENA CW 2023 there were four main tracks, or topics, covered. These included:

  • Energy, systems, and industry
  • Cities, urban and rural settlements, infrastructure and transport
  • Land, ocean, food, and water
  • Societies, health, livelihoods, and economies

Within these four tracks, various subtopics were covered, such as, gender and sustainability, ownership building, conflict and protracted humanitarian crises, amongst many others.

Remote video URL

To understand the goals of MENA CW 2023 take a look at the opening ceremony for a comprehensive introduction starting at 34:00. 

I had the honour of attending MENA CW 2023 as a student delegate from the Youth Summit sponsored by the Sustainable Tourism Global Centre in Saudi Arabia in partnership with the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

As a Masters of Development Practice student, it was an enriching experience for me to fully apply what I learned in my lectures at the interactive sessions in the action hubs. Informed by the research and advocacy experience, I actively and meaningfully contributed my knowledge on how climate change affects many elements of our lives, such as health, gender, inequality, economics and more. Immersing myself in MENA CW was a unique opportunity to connect with students and experts in the field of climate change. Engaging in brainstorming workshops and discussions about cultivating inclusive academic and professional environments, about operating within planetary boundaries and learning about the climate-refugee nexus has informed my educational and career prospects. This was an opportunity for me to reflect on the kind of impact I want to have, especially in terms of using my education to help inherit a world where future generations can thrive.

I learned about climate change initiatives, the impact of these initiatives on our future and, most importantly, that what happens in one part of the world affects everyone. MENA CW was a platform that helped me further contextualize the physical environments where social processes, especially injustices endured by vulnerable populations, take place, how they manifest, and how we can mitigate and prevent them.

MENA CW 2023 was a deeply enriching experience for me. I completed my engagement with the notion that challenges are not un-opportunities but instead a mode of enablement to raise awareness, encourage participation, and inspire collaboration. I feel empowered knowing many students and experts like me are committed to transforming the manner in which our world is currently poised into one that is sustainable and safer.

Selfie of Anshikha Kumar

Anshikha Kumar, graduate student in the Master of Development Practice (MDP) program, attended the Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) UN Climate Week 2023 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. She reflects on her experience as a youth delegate and what she learned.  

Offering an opportunity to come together for delicious treats and good company, Environment held its second annual food truck social on September 28 at the EV3 Green. We know networking can be hard, but as Adrianna Hern, Harry Cheung, Dr. Chris Fletcher, and Dr. Simon Courteney remind us, being in the Environment community makes it easier, and there are tips that can help.