Climate Changes, Water Security and Possible Remedies for the Middle East

By Jon Martin Trondalen, for UNESCO-PCCP

Side publications Series, Scientific Paper

In the past, there seems to have been a common wisdom that environmental and water resources changes are taking place over such a long time span that they are more or less irrelevant in relation to the immediate need for water and conflict-management interventions in the so-called water hot-spots. However, recent studies as well as phenomena in the physical environment are beginning to call into question such a notion: This report asks whether we are in fact witnessing climatic and subsequent environmental changes with such a magnitude that it may impact the stability and management of coastal areas and of vital national and international resources such as water and productive land.

The report aims to look more closely at the Middle East and to explore the relationship between climate change and water vulnerability – it also aims to indicate some remedies in certain selected cases. The scope of the work deals with five questions:

  1. According to authoritative scientific knowledge, what and where are the most likely climatic and water resources changes to take place in the Middle East?
  2. What are the likely impacts on water vulnerability, stability, and water security in the Middle East?
  3. Where are the risks for immediate and serious water vulnerability, at a national and international level, caused by such environmental changes?
  4. What are the national and international water security challenges brought about by climate change?
  5. Are there any remedial actions that could be taken to cope with water vulnerability and security?
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