Global Agenda Non-Military Security

Implications of climate change on the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA): Current pressures and future challenges

Dáša Židuliaková

The Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) has been one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change, warming up and drying up twice as fast as the rest of the world. As a result, multiple adverse climate change effects in the form of natural disasters are already being seen across the region including severe droughts, aggressive heatwaves, devastating floodings and more frequent sand and dust storms, bringing the global warming issue into the limelight like never before. The leading international organizations including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank (WB) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have warned that climate-related extreme events in the MENA region are likely to increase in severity and frequency, posing a major threat to the growth and prosperity of the region. As a region with one of the world’s highest poverty and inequality rates and limited fiscal space to develop adequate mitigation plans to respond to climate shocks, the MENA region is likely to face severe social and economic consequences of climate change, including displacement, migration, political instability, and conflict over natural resources. According to World Bank statistics, over 216 million people could become internal climate migrants by 2050, including millions of people at risk of climate displacement in the MENA region. Early and concerted climate and development action is needed to avert the emerging crisis associated with climate migration. The global climate change summit, COP27, taking place in Egypt this year, followed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2023, is likely to bring the MENA region into focus. The climate talks are an opportunity to focus on the challenges the region faces in transitioning to clean energy as well as the question of climate compensations paid by developed countries to less-resourced countries.

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