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8 Arab Female Experts Working in Climate Change & Sustainability

Happy Women's Day

Today, the effects of climate change are undeniable, driven by growing pollution, overconsumption, destruction of forests, harmful industrial and manufacturing process, and many other harmful actions on our planet. Indeed, the world has been dealing with many pressing challenges, ranging from food insecurity to protecting ecosystems. Fortunately, NGOs and governmental bodies are stepping forward to protect the planet, as well as individuals, activists to scientists, entrepreneurs to sustainability ambassadors. In this rising movement are many remarkable women, many in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, finding innovative ways to protect the environment. Let's take a look at eight of these heroines and how they're helping to attain a more sustainable future for all.

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HE Mariam Bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri (UAE)

Her Excellency Almheiri is the Minister of Climate Change and the Environment in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Under her leadership, the ministry works to help the nation mitigate and adapt to climate change, in addition to protecting the ecosystem. As a former Minister of State for Food and Water Security, she also brings with her expertise in safeguarding the UAE's food and water security through implementing initiatives, policies, and measures.

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Esra M. Alhabshi (Saudi Arabia)

Esra M. Alhabshi is best known for her contributions through Saudi Aramco's Satellite Research & Development Center where she works as a member of the Sustainable Energy team. During her research in renewable energy, she spearheaded research on improving solar panel cells while unlocking potentials on non-corrosive materials. Essentially, she was influential in helping Saudi Arabia go green. In fact, her work had drawn the attention of the public followed by publications, and having been presented at a number of prestigious conferences.

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Shaima Sharif Abu Baker Al Aydarous (UAE)

Shaima Al Aydarous is the Director of Partnerships and Special Projects for the UAE's Ministry of Climate Change and the Environment. She works towards achieving sustainability, while promoting green economy initiatives with assistance from the private sector. This also includes smart transportation and district cooling in an attempt to conserve water and electricity.

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Nura A. Abboud (Jordan)

Nura A. Abboud is the founder and Project Manager of the Jordanian Society for Microbial Biodiversity (JMB), the first NGO in the region focusing on microbial biodiversity. Specializing in molecular biology, biological sciences, and microbial biodiversity, Abboud is a microbiologist who understands the importance of microorganisms in the ecosystem. Through JMB, her goal is to safeguard ecosystems across Jordan.

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Yasmeen Oraby (Egypt)

Yasmeen Oraby is the Senior Operations Specialist & Project Coordinator at the Regional Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (RCREEE). RCREEE is an intergovernmental organization in Egypt focusing on promoting the adoption of renewable energy. Oraby brings with her expertise in communication with stakeholders, in addition to her experience relating to youth, gender inclusion, advocacy, and policy.

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Dolores Al Shelleh (Jordan-Serbia)

Dolores Al Shelleh is a Jordanian-Serbian mountaineer and activist currently based in Dubai, in the UAE. When she isn't conquering some of the world's tallest mountains, she's well known for raising environmental awareness such as with her partnership with the Sustainable City, Dubai's first net-zero district. In this instance, her goal centered around promoting the Sustainable Development Goals, which was implemented by the United Nations (UN).

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Zainab Al Ali (UAE)

Zainab Al Ali is the Head of Outreach and Stakeholders Relations at Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar). She was the main architect behind Masdar's stakeholder engagement strategy and had contributed to the company's Women in Sustainability, Environment, and Renewable Energy platform (WiSER). Through WiSER, she helped position women as drivers of change and innovation while giving them the chance to be heard.

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Maya Talih Khatoun and Tima Hamadeh (Lebanese)

Maya Talih Khatoun and Tima Hamadeh are founders of RIOT, a Dubai-based, customer-to-customer e-commerce website that is helping users buy and sell hard-to-find luxury dresses. The idea stems from the cousins' personal experience of hording luxury dresses, and realizing that they could fill the market gap by providing the means to resell them. In fact, this endeavor has also been helping to reduce environmental impacts caused by clothing industries by simply allowing pre-owned dresses to be sold to new owners.

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