The Galilee Society has launched a 3.5 year unique project in the Arab community, entitled “Harnessing Professional Expertise and Localized Knowledge for Collaborative Climate Resilience in Shefa-‘Amr”. This initiative is being carried out in partnership with the Municipality of Shefa-‘Amr and the University of Haifa and is funded by the European Union and Misereor.
The idea of this project came in light of the major global concern in the twenty-first century in the issue of climate change, which threatens the livelihoods of countless individuals, communities and ecosystems, depending on their geographical location and climate. In our country, we are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, which is expected to increase the rate and intensity of extreme weather events, leading to economic, environmental, health and social losses. It is well known that as society’s capacities in numerous domains develop and strengthen, so does its climate resilience, making it better prepared to deal with and survive the difficulties of climate change. It should be noted here that climate resilience is the political, social and economic ability of a community that supports it to absorb current or projected changes in the climate. Moreover, our society suffers from severe developmental gaps that make it particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, especially in the field of public health. This initiative is a pilot that might be replicated in other cities.
In this context, a project kick-off meeting was organized in the municipality of Shefa-‘Amr, which included an overview of the project and its goals. In this context, the project manager, Alaa Obeid, said: “The project’s purpose is to strengthen civil society participation in encouraging adaptation to climate change in the Arab community through cooperation between the Galilee Society, Haifa University, the Shefa-‘Amr municipality, and the community of Shefa-‘Amr. This will be accomplished by better understanding the community’s challenges and concerns, raising awareness and comprehension of climate change, and providing available and viable solutions that can be implemented”. Following the meeting, the project team went on a tour of the city to identify climate change vulnerabilities.
The Mayor of Shefa-‘Amr, Mr. Orsan Yassin, the Director General of the Galilee Society, Mr. Ahmed Al-Sheikh, an environmental health expert from the University of Haifa, Dr. Maya Negev, and the project manager Alaa Obeid, as well as staff and senior staff from the municipality of Shefa-‘Amr and the Galilee Society’s Environmental Justice Center, were all present at the meeting.