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Policy Makers

Palestine is shifting towards more sustainable lifestyles

Current lifestyles and unsustainable patterns of consumption are one of the main causes of environmental degradation in Palestine. Resource consumption, water scarcity, pollution, waste generation or biodiversity loss are some of the environmental issues that Palestine has to face due to is consumption and production patterns. Palestine is committed to promoting and enhancing sustainable lifestyles and education. Here we will learn more about how Palestine is shifting towards more sustainable lifestyles.

Currently, there are many environmental impacts brought about by lifestyle in Palestine. Some of them are the degradation of water sources, due to the wide gap between water supply and demand, a result of the growing population and urbanization and limited water resources; inadequate collection and disposal of solid waste from residential areas; and inadequate collection and treatment of wastewater. Biodiversity is threatened and endangered due to negative human behaviours such as uncontrolled forms of hunting, the felling of trees or overgrazing. There is desertification and soil erosion due to intensive agricultural expansion and urban sprawl as well as air pollution from mobility uses and population increase. Sustainable lifestyles and education can help meet basic needs and provide higher standards of living for citizens while reducing environmental degradation and resource depletion. However, a shift in consumers’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviours is first needed. The role of the government and other institutions is to encourage, enable, engage and exemplify this new sustainable way of living. How is Palestine addressing the issue?

The number of licensed vehicles in Palestine is 217,130. Licensed private cars constitute 74.1% of the total number of cars, indicating a widespread positive attitude among citizens in regard to owning a private car. This has contributed negatively to controlling air pollution.


Palestine is facilitating the shift towards sustainable lifestyles by supporting and enabling the creation of a new vision for sustainable development. Institutional settings and the regulatory framework as well as economic and informative instruments are the main tools implemented by the government of Palestine in encouraging sustainable lifestyles. Some examples of these practices are the establishment of environmental awareness and education and sustainable development authorities and departments; the design and implementation of related laws and policies; the application of economic instruments such the “polluter pays principle?; the deployment of environmental awareness campaigns; or the integration of environmental perspective into educational curricula.

 

About a year ago the Bank of Palestine started an initiative on green loans. The programme provides small loans to farmers and households to encourage the use of green technologies.


Although some progress has been made, changing lifestyles and consumption patterns is no easy task. That is why it is important that efforts from public institutions promoting sustainable lifestyles do not stop there. The next Sustainable Consumption and Production National Action Plan of Palestine, which is being developed by the Environmental Quality Authority and Ministry of National Economy of Palestine with the support of SwitchMed, will be one of the main tools to support this shift towards more sustainable lifestyles.