American University of Beirut

Climate Change and Conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa

​Working Pa​​​per #50

Author: Jamal Saghir, Affiliated Scholar at the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs (IFI), AUB
July 2019​


​​​By adding pressure on already scarce resources and compounding preexisting threats such as political and economic deterioration, climate change’s likely contribution to exacerbating conflicts and violence in the MENA region should not be dismissed.

However, the literature is broadly inconclusive about establishing a linear link between the effects of climate change and conflicts in MENA. Additional research and data collection are required to comprehensively examine the accuracy and magnitude of such links, depending on the many contexts they may fall under.

Considering that a number of countries are experiencing the repercussions of climate change without induced insecurity or conflict, well established and effective institutions are crucial for having higher levels of resilience, and adaptation in the face of climate-related shocks.

Climate induced migration should be addressed not only within the framework of climate change, but also by means of political economies that address other economic, technological, or political conditions that might foster or limit migration.

Conflict-sensitive adaptation measures can help avoid situations in which climate change heightens existing risks of destabilization or violent conflict. If designed and implemented properly, adaptation measures could help reduce tensions and catalyze processes that promote stability. The ways in which adaptation measures are designed and implemented can be a key determinant of climate change resilience.

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