Bahrain Land Reclamation

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The Kingdom of Bahrain, a small archipelago situated in the Arabian Gulf, is composed of 50 natural islands and an additional 33 artificial islands, with Bahrain Island itself constituting the majority of its landmass, accounting for approximately 83%. The total land area of Bahrain has seen fluctuations over time due to extensive land reclamation projects, with the territory expanding to around 780 square kilometres. Its strategic geographical location places it between Qatar and the northeastern coast of Saudi Arabia, connected to the latter by the King Fahd Causeway.

Demographically, Bahrain boasts a diverse population of over 1.5 million individuals, according to recent estimates, with Bahraini nationals comprising a significant portion. The population density of Bahrain ranks among the highest globally, emphasizing the density of its urban settlements and the pressure on its resources. Ethnically, Bahrain reflects a rich tapestry of identities, with Shia Bahrainis and Sunni Bahrainis constituting the two main religious and ethnic groups, followed by Christians (14.1%), Hinduists (10.2%) and Buddhists (3.1%). The Shia community is further divided into Baharna and Ajam, while Sunni Bahrainis encompass Arabs and Huwala, with historical ties to both Iran and Arab nations. This diversity enriches the cultural fabric of Bahrain but also underscores underlying social dynamics and power structures within the nation.

The intricate landscape of Bahrain’s land reclamation endeavours intertwines economic aspirations with environmental preservation, social equity, and regional diplomacy. While these projects have expanded Bahrain’s urban landscape and diversified its economy, they have also catalysed environmental degradation, socio-economic disparities, and domestic tensions. Moving forward, the imperative lies in striking a delicate balance between development imperatives and sustainability goals, guided by principles of accountability, transparency, and democratic governance. By prioritizing human rights, environmental protection, and sustainable development, Bahrain can pursue a path towards resilient and equitable coastal management, fostering regional cooperation and stability while safeguarding the well-being of its citizens and ecosystems. Moreover, as Bahrain navigates the complexities of land reclamation, the need for diplomatic dialogue and collaboration with neighbouring states underscores the interconnectedness of regional geopolitics and local livelihoods, emphasizing the importance of fostering peace, cooperation, and prosperity in the Arabian Gulf region.


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