A majority of Arab youth are prepared to endorse calls for boycotting brands detrimental to the environment, according to the 15th annual ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey.
This percentage stands at 58 percent, with notable variations across regions. Youth in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states lead the charge at 65 percent, followed by North Africa at 58 percent, and the Levantine nations at 51 percent.
The survey, released on September 21 to coincide with Zero Emissions Day, indicates mounting apprehension among Arab youth about climate change’s impact on their daily lives.
An astonishing 66 percent of respondents, the highest in five years, expressed being ‘very concerned’ about this global challenge.
With climate crisis asserting its immediate presence in the region, a substantial 71 percent of all respondents affirmed that global warming is already affecting their lives. This sentiment is most pronounced in North Africa (76 percent) and the GCC states (74 percent), and somewhat lower but still significant in the Levantine countries (63 percent).
Despite this, 87 percent of Arab youth believe their governments are taking positive action against climate crisis.
However, 56 percent feel that governments should set transparent and accountable targets for achieving net zero emissions.
Presently, only a handful of countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have set such targets, including the GCC states and Iraq.
Regarding the role of Arab countries in tackling global warming compared to other nations, less than half (42 percent) of the surveyed youth believe that Arab nations should do more.
When it comes to addressing global warming, opinions are divided, with 49 percent advocating for lifestyle changes and 47 percent pinning their hopes on technological advancements.
Climate Change awareness among Arab youth
Sunil John, President of MENA at BCW and Founder of ASDA’A BCW, highlighted the region’s significance in the global climate change dialogue due to its energy resources.
“The Middle East is home to some of the world’s largest energy producers and proven oil and gas reserves. This has positioned the Arab world at the heart of the global climate change dialogue. With Egypt hosting the COP27 UN Climate Change Conference in 2022 and the UAE preparing to welcome the world for COP28 this year, the region is once again in the global spotlight,” he said.
He also stressed the vulnerability of the MENA region to climate change, citing increased temperatures, frequent heatwaves, and water scarcity as pressing concerns.
“Amidst all this, it is encouraging that the region’s largest demographic, its over 200 million youth, understand the implications of climate change. Most are also willing to support the boycott of brands damaging nature. It is important that businesses take heed of their sentiment and make genuine efforts to minimise their environmental impact by aligning their values with the aspirations of the region’s youth,” he added.
This survey of over 200 million Arab youth underscores the urgent need for climate action, both on a governmental and corporate level.
With the Middle East at the center of climate discussions, the region’s youth are poised to play a pivotal role in driving change and holding businesses accountable for their environmental impact.