UCL Institute for Global Prosperity


A Just Transition or Just a Transition? Energy and Climate Policy in the Middle East & North Africa

20 March 2024, 5:00 pm–6:30 pm

Manal lecture banner

This Public Lecture discusses the urgency, meaning, and hurdles of a climate-resilient and just energy transition in the MENA and Lebanon.

Event Information

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Institute for Global Prosperity


29-39 Brunswick Square
United Kingdom

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region faces serious economic, political, social, environmental, conflict, and security challenges and vulnerabilities, which are further exacerbated by climate change. In this region, rich in and dependent on oil and gas, countries have adopted ambitious energy transition and net-zero emissions targets. The ensuing projects (announced and planned) have been presented as opportunities for unmatched new exports as well as green economic, environmental, and social development. Can these energy transition projects be a vehicle to achieve a just transition that is centered around justice, fairness, equity and climate-resilient development? Or are they just a transition to new energy sources benefitting vested economic interests while maintaining the status quo?

Part of the UCL Institute of Global Prosperity’s 10th Anniversary Celebrations, this Keynote Lebanon Week Public Lecture discusses the urgency, meaning, and hurdles of a climate-resilient and just energy transition in the context of the MENA and Lebanon. It will also discuss implications of energy transitions on the region and beyond along with the role of research in driving pro-sustainability and just transition in the MENA. This talk aims to offer audiences the opportunity to participate in the debate and to spark public and academic discussion about prosperity and its impacts in the MENA and globally.

About the speaker

Dr. Manal Shehabi is an Associate Faculty Member of the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Oxford. She is also Member of the Institute for Climate, Energy & Disaster Solutions at the Australian National University and Research Fellow of the Economic Research Forum. She is a Consultant to the International Energy Agency and an Expert of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on just transition, response measures to climate change, and economic diversification.

An applied economist, she has recognized expertise on development and sustainability at the intersection of economics, energy, environment, and climate in resource-dependent economies. Her research on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) challenges conventional approaches to sustainability in MENA resource economies and explores evidenced-based ways to advance a just, climate resilient, green economic transformation and economic sustainability. Her work has been at the forefront of global debates for solutions to global problems. Most recently, she presented by invitation her research and recommendations at COP28’s First Annual High-Level Ministerial Round Table on Just Transition, to help ministers and delegates prepare for the text and activities of the Just Transition Work Programme, operationalized at COP28.

In addition to her academic publications, she was lead or contributing author of various policy reports, most notably briefs to T7 (G7) and T20 (G20); the IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere; a report to UNFCCC on impacts of response measures on developing countries, presented at COP26. Her other policy work includes economic policy assessment and design, hydrogen national strategies, decarbonization, climate security, and just transition. She is an advisory board member of the Energy Futures Initiative-KAPSARC Joint Research Program on energy transition.

Formerly, she was Senior Research Fellow and OIES-KFAS Research Fellow at Oxford Institute for Energy Studies and held academic visitorships in Germany, Kuwait, and the UK. With previous professional experience in business public policy and the corporate world, she is Founding Director of SHEER Research & Advisory Ltd and regularly advises policymakers and firms. A polyglot, she is a winner of various awards and honors, and was cited or appeared in international media outlets in different languages across the world. 

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