Managing Environmental Degradation: An Analysis of Environmental Governance and Its Impact in Egypt

Sherifa Fouad Sherif, Alia Abdel Hamid Aaref


Environmental degradation is threatening all countries alike. Egypt for years has been facing serious environmental threats but according to environmentalists Egypt is currently facing even more serious environmental challenges. Decades of increased population growth, intense urbanization and virtually unchecked industrial pollution are significant pressures on the Egyptian environment. Heavy metals in industrial wastes and emissions are contaminating air and water supplies, increasing the risk to many Egyptians of acquiring various forms of cancer, respiratory diseases and brain damage. The causes of these environmental problems are varied and complex, involving many aspects of recent Egyptian political, economic and cultural history.  In The core of this complexity lies one intervening factor that is extremely prevalent, this is the institutional choices that the Egyptian policy makers have made through the course of industrialization since the 1960’s. These choices tended to downplay or ignore environmental consequences in favor of attaining the most rapid economic growth possible.

Egypt’s environmental problems can no longer be ignored; the country needs immediate action in addressing several environmental issues, the most immediate environmental problems facing Egypt include unsafe water, inadequate sanitation, soil depletion, and air pollution. Environmental degradation is the deterioration of the environment through depletion of resources such as airwater and soil and the destruction of ecosystems, having  impact on our health, the quality of the food we eat, and the air we breathe. Many officials today have begun to re-examine the wisdom of these past policies, weighing any economic gains that might have been realized through rapid industrialization against the environmental costs that are beginning to emerge and can no longer be ignored. Environmental governance is believed to represents a quantitative and qualitative breakthrough in improving the environment and solving its problems. This paper approached environmental governance using a pluralistic perspective, as it was addressed through analyzing its application on three dimensions; the multilateral, multi-level, and multi-instrumental dimensions. Applying each of these dimensions in the Egyptian case revealed and shed light on major problems in applying good environmental governance, thus limiting its effectiveness in handling environmental problems.

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