BAHRAIN is stepping up efforts to ensure that it doesn't lose its coastlines to climate change, it emerged yesterday.
Between five to 10 per cent of Bahrain's coasts will be under water and its natural habitats, infrastructure and population density could be severely harmed, according to experts.
Public Commission for the Protection of Marine Resources, Environment and Wildlife will start work on a new climate change report to tackle the problem, after the first one it conducted revealed the potential dangers.
"Up to 70sqkm of Bahrain's mainland could be under water within the next 100 years as a result of climate change," said public commission vice-president Dr Ismail Al Madani.
He said that the second report was necessary, considering that the problem has been identified, but without any solutions to tackle it.
The first report was prepared by the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change, chaired by Dr Al Madani.
It suggested that global warming was increasing, mainly because of human activities that involved emission of "greenhouse gases" such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.
Dr Al Madani said that the new report would focus on calculating the emitted gases and ways of lowering them.
"It would also focus on the precautionary measures that Bahrain must take to limit the negative effects of climate change," he said.
Dr Al Madani was speaking at the signing of an agreement between the public commission, in Salmabad, and three local research institutes assigned to complete the report by March next year.
The ceremony was attended by Bahrain University College of Science dean Dr Haifa Al Maskati, Bahrain Centre for Studies and Research secretary-general Dr Abdulla Al Sadiq and Arabian Gulf University deputy dean for technical studies affairs Dr Waleed Zubari.
Dr Al Madani said that the three institutes were selected because of the confidence the public commission has in local research establishments.
"We are trying to encourage more co-operation between us, other government bodies and non-governmental organisations, to look for solutions to the complicated environmental problems that we face."
Bahrain is obliged to submit annual reports according to the UN after signing its Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1994.
United Nations Environment Programme representative Dr Adel Abdul Kader said its funding to the previous report proved beneficial, matching other international reports focusing on climate change.
"We hope that Bahrain's second report would be one of the best submitted to us from the Arab world, and with the local expertise contracted, I believe, are capable of doing the best job possible," said Dr Abdul Kader.
"Bahrain is the second GCC country to receive funding from us and we hope to support it come up with solutions to combat climate change."