Bringing Remote Sensing to Arab Countries

The World Bank has approved US$4.9 million to finance remote sensing technologies that are expected to improve water resource and agricultural management in Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco, Lebanon and the Arab Water Council. These tools will enhance the capacity of these countries to monitor local and regional societal issues such as fires, drought, flooding, fresh water availability, evapotranspiration and crop yields.

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) grants will finance the hardware, software and technical assistance needed for the application of these tools.

The scarcity of freshwater in most countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is an increasingly acute problem with significant impact on agriculture, the environment and sustainable supply of water to the increasingly large and urban populations. The use of satellites and remote sensing tools offers a solution to common problems of costly and unreliable data and allows for the systematic, detailed and comprehensive collection of a vast array of parameters. Better data about water location and supply will help these countries to make more informed decisions about how to use the water they have, and how to manage the resource more sustainably. The direct beneficiaries of this program are in the end farmers and families who will be able to make better informed decisions about when to select, plant and harvest their crops so that they maximize their crop yields and hopefully avoid crop failures.

The project is the first under the recently launched Arab World Initiative—a World Bank Group partnership with the countries of the Arab world to foster effective cooperation and collaboration in the interest of economic integration and knowledge sharing. The project is also the first under a recent whole-of-government collaboration that the Memorandum of Understanding, recently signed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and World Bank Group President Robert Zoellick is intended to promote.

For more information on World Bank Programs in MNA :
Arab World at the World Bank
Arab World Council
Remote Sensing Tools

Download the full press release here