Global restrictions ‘has benefited the environment’

Regular life coming to a standstill has benefited the environment and may have long-lasting implications, according to experts from Bahrain and around the globe discussing how recent changes had made an impact on the planet.

Supreme Council for Environment (SCE) chief executive Dr Mohammed Bin Daina took part in an online forum called ‘Act For Nature, Adapt to Thrive: transformational change for nature and business’, held in Kenya.

Dr Bin Daina described the impact of strict measures introduced to combat Covid-19 in Bahrain and believes it offers plenty of food for thought on how best to move forward.

“We all have seen the satellite photographs showing the positive effects on the environment and on the air quality on countries because of the closure of everything,” he said.

“We are a small island, in a developing state, shops were closed and we were worried about having enough supplies, including food and medical equipment.

Dr Mohammed Bin Daina

“This has made me consider whether we should continue with globalisation or look more to help small, local businesses, especially in the agriculture sector, to offer us more food security.”

He added that before the pandemic everyone had been ‘too busy’ attending conferences and trying to negotiate deals on an international level but the coronavirus crisis had brought a new perspective as people were forced to sit at home and take a long hard look at what was happening locally, as well as globally.

Business for Nature executive director Eva Zabey, representing a global coalition of organisations and businesses at yesterday afternoon’s event, agreed.

“The crisis has been a learning time for all of us and we are still in it,” she said.

“What we will need is transformation. Sustainable investments have had better-than-average results during the pandemic, including for the environment.”

Dutch Research Institute for Transitions professor Derk Loorbach is confident there is a momentum of ‘transformative change’ that could create a ‘huge market’ for businesses, with efforts focused on ‘the art of improving sustainable businesses’.



The facts appear to support their theories. The worldwide disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in numerous impacts on the environment and the climate.

The considerable decline in planned travel, for example, has caused many regions to experience a large drop in air pollution.

In China, lockdowns and other measures resulted in a 25 per cent reduction in carbon emissions and 50pc reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions, which one Earth systems scientist estimated may have saved at least 77,000 lives over two months.

Other positive impacts on the environment include investments towards a sustainable energy transition and other goals related to environmental protection.

Mr Loorbach added that positive thinking on how to improve businesses will be essential to help tackle the negative effects caused by the virus.

“We need to start thinking about a more positive future and also backing our entrepreneurs. We must all ask, how can we help businesses thrive?

“I believe we must have strategies in place for the next one-to-three years allowing space for innovation and experimentation. Diverse and proactive thinking is essential.”

Add refreshing, social and environmental projects into the mix, alongside transparency to demonstrate what actions have been taken, and the future could look brighter than ever, the expert suggests.

Dr Bin Daina is also confident small and medium-sized businesses will have the potential to prosper in Bahrain too and he expects they will receive further official support as the crisis nears its end.

“The government of Bahrain thought of people first and paid three months of full salaries of Bahrainis while they were at home, for example, ” he told the international audience.

“They did this not just to protect the economy but to protect their own people. There are a lot of measures being taken and our people will remain at the centre of all decision-making.”





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