The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have long lived with the challenges of an arid and extremely variable climate, but pressure on regional water systems is increasing rapidly, driven by population growth, socio-economic development, urbanization and environmental degradation. Existing supplies simply cannot meet the growing demand for irrigation and municipal water; as a result, the region must import most of its food.

Climate change is expected to bring even hotter, drier and more variable conditions; at the same time, the region’s greenhouse gas emissions are rising rapidly, driven by the same socio-economic trends that are squeezing water supplies. It is clear that both adaptation and mitigation are urgently needed – and that to be effective, they cannot be undertaken in isolation, but rather must be mainstreamed into these countries’ development strategies.

This discussion brief provides a quick overview of the main themes explored in this ongoing SEI project, which has an initial focus on Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon. The work is part of the GIZ (German Agency for International Cooperation) programme Adaptation to Climate Change in the Water sector in the MENA region (ACCWaM), which supports the League of Arab States and national water ministries in mainstreaming and climate-proofing.

Download the discussion brief (PDF, 756kb)