The MENA region already has one of the lowest water availabilities per capita world-wide, and at the same time its water sectors is projected to become most severely affected by climate change from lower precipitation – further reducing water availability – from higher temperatures – increasing agricultural water demand – and from increasing variability – compromising reliability of water systems.

So far, other pressures on water resources, in particular population and economic development have been stronger than those from climate change. Accordingly, there is a widespread perception of climate change to materialize only in the distant future in combination with climate scenarios perceived as still being very uncertain, which is unfounded in view of already high climate risks today and the large agreement among climate models about the decrease of precipitation in the MENA region (on top of general warming).

This misconception has contributed to an ignorance of national water planning in terms of climate change and a lack of mainstreaming climate adaptation into water management. Even in cases where climate adaptation has been addressed in water strategies or plans, implementation of measures and enforcement of regulations is often lacking. So awareness-raising about climate change and its impact (e.g. with the help of new regional climate scenarios being made available by UN-ESCWA) and about win-win opportunities through technical, economic and institutional adaptation, many of which at the same time are IWRM objectives, is important.

The study shows how three pilot countries, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt can benefit from and at the same time contribute to the implementation of the Arab Strategy for Water Security through sharing of (water-related) adaptation and (energy-related) mitigation experience, and through a joint approach on tapping financial support e.g. from new climate adaptation funds.