Last month, Arnold Schwarzenegger, chairman of the R20 Regions of Climate Action, signed an agreement in Algeria to address waste and sustainable energy challenges in the Mediterranean and North Africa.
At the same time, a meeting of officials in Bahrain examined technologies and strategies to help that nation improve its energy and water efficiency.
Are there lessons in those examples for the U.S. now that President Obama has reignited the debate over climate change policy?
The governments of Algeria and its Oran region have realized the potential of energy efficiency measures, development of renewable energy sources, and the conversion of waste to energy.
Those initiatives, being developed in conjunction with R20, are hoped to create thousands of new jobs by utilizing existing resources more efficiently, including the abundant sunshine in that part of the world, and using waste productively, instead of dumping it in a landfill.
In the process, Algeria will become a model for other countries in the region, which face unrest from unemployed youth and job-seeking college graduates.
Meanwhile in Bahrain, Governor Sheikh Abdulla bin Rashid Al Khalifa has convened a unique multi-agency task force, including the R20 and UNIDO, to maximize every resource in his Southern Governorate.
In addition to a menu of options similar to Algeria's, Governor Al Khalifa is using his region's building boom to adopt the most efficient building standards and apply them first to things that benefit the public most, including schools and police stations.
He also recognizes the connection between a healthy environment and healthy citizens.