ECC Platform Library


Conflict Over Water in the Aral Sea

Type of conflict main
Intensity 3
Central Asia
Time 1991 ‐ ongoing
Countries Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan
Resources Fish, Biodiversity, Agricultural / Pastoral Land, Water
Conflict Summary Environmental degradation of the Aral Sea in Central Asia has caused a loss of livelihoods and led to resource competition over water amongst the states...
Conflict Over Water in the Aral Sea
Environmental degradation of the Aral Sea in Central Asia has caused a loss of livelihoods and led to resource competition over water amongst the states sharing the basin, especially Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The conflict over water has been non-violent and mostly diplomatic. However, localised conflicts between minorities and respective governments have also been evident.
Conceptual Model

Climate Change

Climate change has the potential to increase the occurrence of flooding, and contribute to overall soil degradation and long term water scarcity.

Intermediary Mechanisms

The environmental degradation of the Aral Sea has caused a loss of livelihoods. After the collapse of the fishing industry, many lost their source of income. Pollution and water contamination has also affected public health.

Fragility and Conflict Risks

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the decentralisation of water management in the Aral Sea and its rivers, diplomatic tensions have arisen as states seek to secure their resources in the face of increasing water scarcity and pollution.

Climate ChangeEnvironmental ChangeIntermediary MechanismsFragility and Conflict RisksSocial and Economic DriversMore frequent/intense extreme weather events lead to decreased water availability.More frequent/intense extreme weather events reduce available land.Economic activity causes pollution.Infrastructure development changes the allocation of water.Freshwater becomes scarce as an essential resource. Land scarcity hampers agricultural production.Pollution reduces fish stocks.Pollution creates public health risks.Pollution reduces available/usable freshwater.Fish becomes scarce as an essential resource.Reduced availability of/access to natural resources leads to tensions between states.Public health risks create or aggravate interstate tensions.An increase in the frequency and/or intensity of extreme weather events, such as floods or droughts.More Frequent / Intense Extreme Weather EventsAn increase in the scarcity of clean water and/or an increased variability in water supply.Increased Water ScarcityReduced availability of/ access to land.Increased Land ScarcityA broad concept to cover economic growth in general but also specific economic changes or changes of incentives.Economic DevelopmentPollution and degradation of ecosystems, such as coral reefs.Pollution / Environmental DegradationConstruction of major infrastructure, such as dams, canals or roads.Infrastructure DevelopmentReduced availability of essential natural resources, such as land and water.Change in Access / Availability of Natural ResourcesA decline in fish populations.Decline in Fish StocksRisks to the health of the population.Public Health RisksTensions between states that may but need not escalate into overt violent conflict.Interstate Tensions
Context Factors
  • Dysfunctional Resource Management
Conflict History

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the decentralisation of water management in the Aral Sea and its rivers, diplomatic tensions have been evident as states seek to secure their resources in the face of increasing water scarcity and pollution. Climate change has been recognised as a potential exacerbating factor of conflict around the Aral Sea as melting glaciers contribute to chances of flooding and impact long term water availability (UNEP, 2014).

Attempts at transboundary agreements
Although there have been some transboundary agreements towards comprehensive Aral Sea resource management, these agreements have been successful to varying degrees. The key challenge is that states prioritise their individual economic and livelihood security over regional development, with results reminiscent of a classic 'prisoners' dilemma'. Under the USSR administration, large-scale irrigation projects to grow cotton were pursued around the Aral Sea and its rivers. The impact of over-irrigation and pesticide use has have been varied and includes air and water pollution, increased salinity, desertification, water scarcity, destruction of fisheries and the spread of disease (anaemia, cancer and tuberculosis) (Roll, 2006).

Water mismanagement
Excessive water diversion from the rivers Amu Darya and the Syr Darya has caused the Aral Sea to lose more than three quarters of its surface area between 1960 and 1990 (Wolf & Newton, 2014; Calder & Lee, 1995). Today, the Aral Sea covers less than 10% of its pre-1960 volume (UNEP, 2008). This has had significant impacts on livelihoods and human security. With the collapse of the fishing industry during the 1980s, tens of thousands lost their jobs and many have suffered from poor health as a result of poisonous dust storms and contaminated water (UNEP, 2014).

Essential regional cooperation
To save the Aral Sea and prevent environmental degradation from further effecting livelihoods and human security, regional cooperation between all stakeholder countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) is essential. This has become even more relevant in the context of climate change, which has already been flagged by the United Nations Environmental Program as a potentially inflammatory contributor to existing regional tensions. Climate change will contribute to glacial melting in the mountain ranges of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan which feed the Aral Sea, ultimately increasing the occurrence of flooding and contributing to overall soil degradation and long term water scarcity (UNEP, 2014).

An intricate web of interdependency on resources exists between the five riparian states in the region. The two main rivers feeding the Aral Sea (Amu Darya and the Syr Darya) flow through Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan downstream to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan (Wolf & Newton, 2014). Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan rely heavily on the Aral Sea and its rivers for agricultural irrigation, while Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan lack natural gas and oil deposits, making them reliant on water for energy production (Roll, 2006; Chatterjee, 2007). The upstream countries have an incentive to release water during the cold winter months, when energy demand is greatest. The downstream countries, by contrast, most need the water during the hot summer months. A Soviet-era deal that provided for upstream states to release the water in the summer in exchange for gas deliveries by downstream countries during the winter broke down with the collapse of the USSR.

Interstate tensions
In 1998, a water-energy exchange was agreed upon between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan with the upper riparian state of Kyrgyzstan. However, conflict arose where these obligations were not met. For example, when Kazakhstan didn’t meet the energy requirements of the agreement, Kyrgyzstan cut water flows from its reservoir as a result (Chatterjee, 2007). In 1999, Uzbekistan deployed 130,000 troops on the Kyrgyz border to guard the reservoirs which were threatened by Taliban and Islamist militants in the area (Chatterjee, 2007). Since the collapse of the USSR, the five riparian states governing environmental protection in the Aral Sea and its rivers have cooperated on various agreements and established administration and monitoring bodies which aim to foster regional cooperation in the development of the Aral Sea. However despite these efforts challenges still remain. For example, states continue to announce plans to build their own dams and reservoirs without considering regional development and states have a poor track record of keeping their obligations under various bilateral and multilateral agreements. This has proven inflammatory to neighbouring countries with economic and livelihood interests in the waters of the Aral Sea (Barghoutti, 2006).

Resolution Efforts

The Agreement on Joint Activities in the Aral Sea
In 1992, the five states around the Aral Sea and its rivers agreed to establish a regional committee responsible for the management of the Aral Sea and its resources and water allocation. In 1993, following the creation of the Interstate Commission of Water Coordination, the Agreement on Joint Activities in the Aral Sea was signed by all five member states. A number of institutions and departments were established (Wolf & Newtown, 2014):

1. Interstate Commission for Water Coordination (ICWC): Created in 1992, the ICWC manages water allocation, including dispute resolution mechanisms (Barghouti, 2006).

2. Interstate Council of the Aral Sea (ICAS): Created in 1993, ICAS was responsible for the creation of policies regarding resource management of the Aral Sea

3. Aral Sea Basin Program (ASBP): Created in 1994, the ASBP was responsible for the management of long term solutions to the environmental emergency continuing in the Aral Sea. It was an internal consortium, including United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Bank, the EU, and other international agencies.

4. International Fund for the Aral Sea: Created to manage the funds contributed by member states to manage the Aral sea, a long term "Concept" and a short-term "Program" for the Aral Sea were adopted by the ASBP in 1994. The concept covered regional development of the Aral Sea and its resources including water allocation management. As a result of inter-institutional competition for dominance and a lack of trust, the ICAS was merged into the International Fund for the Aral Sea in 1998 in an attempt to centralise governance. However, the IFAS suffered a three year hiatus because of disagreements amongst members about its credibility and its management of multi-sectoral interests (Wolf & Newton, 2014).

Bilateral and unilateral decisions still pursued
Despite these institutions and various regional agreements, states still pursued bilateral and unilateral decisions outside of the regional framework. For example, the Syr Darya Framework Agreement was signed between Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. The treaty offers compensation to Kyrgyzstan through energy-water exchanges for the hydropower it forfeits to provide downstream riparians with water (Chatterjee, 2007). Amu Darya River Basin Agreements were also signed with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan with similar energy-water exchanges. There has been some success of Aral Sea Basin Programs in cooperation with international donors, such as the World Bank. In Kazakhstan the construction of a dyke on the Syr Darya has helped to redirect water to the North Aral Sea, reduce salinity and regulate water levels (UNEP, 2014).

Common interest in the survival of the Aral Sea is evident in the varying multilateral agreements and treaties signed amongst the Central Asian states. Resource dependency amongst stakeholders also helps to prevent all out resource wars (Chatterjee, 2007). However, resource competition is still evident and environmental degradation continues to destabilise livelihoods and resource access. Challenges remain in adopting an integrated regional approach to Aral Sea protection, which overcomes overlapping jurisdictions and institutional responsibilities (UNEP, 2014; Wolf & Newton, 2014).

Intensities & Influences
conflict intensity scale
International / Geopolitical Intensity
Human Suffering

Environmental Influences
Societal Influences

Diplomatic Crisis Diplomatic crisis involving non-violent tools such as economic sanctions
Violent Conflict No
Salience within nation Regional
Mass Displacement None
Cross Border Mass Displacement No
Fish, Biodiversity, Agricultural / Pastoral Land, Water
Resolution Success
Reduction in geographical scope There has been no reduction in geographical scope.
Increased capacity to address grievance in the future The capacity to address grievances in the future has increased.
Grievance Resolution Grievances have been partially addressed.
Causal Attribution of Decrease in Conflict Intensity Conflict resolution strategies have been clearly responsible for the decrease in conflict intensity.
General opencollapse
Country Data in Comparison
ConflictNoData Created with Sketch.
Fault Lines Defining Conflict Parties
Purely Environmental | Cultural   ♦   Occupational   ♦   Economic   ♦   Urban / Rural   ♦   National / International conflict   ♦   Sub-national political

Participation Conflict Party     Conflict Resolution Facilitator
Kazakhstani Government
Functional GroupPublic
Geographical ScaleInternal International
Kyrgyzstani Government
Functional GroupPublic
Geographical ScaleInternal International
Tajikistani Government
Functional GroupPublic
Geographical ScaleInternal International
Turkmen Government
Functional GroupPublic
Geographical ScaleInternal International
Uzbekistani Government
Functional GroupPublic
Geographical ScaleInternal International
United Nations (UN)
Functional GroupPublic
Geographical ScaleExternal
World Bank
Functional GroupPublic
Geographical ScaleExternal
European Union
Functional GroupPublic
Geographical ScaleExternal
Entry Points for Resilience and Peace Building
2 Cooperation The Interstate Commission of Water Coordination was established as regional committee responsible for the management of the Aral Sea, its resources, and water allocation.
3 Treaty/agreement The Agreement on Joint Activities in the Aral Sea was signed by all five states around the basin. A number of institutions and departments were established and bestowed with various tasks relating to the management of the Aral Sea.
Further Details opencollapse
Conflict Characterization
Character of the contested good Club Good: Can be owned and is not depleted from use.
Structure of decision-making power / interdependence Mixed: The abilities of parties to affect the environmental resource is mixed.
Broad conflict characterization Resource capture is not present.
Ecological marginalization is not present.
Data of involved Countries
Resources and Materials opencollapse


Adaptation & Resilience

All countries will need to adapt to some of the environmental, social and economic impacts of climate change that are already unavoidable. Food security, livelihoods, water resource availability and public health are some affected areas. People living in poverty are more vulnerable, having a lower capacity to adapt. Thus, it is essential to promote resilience building. The adaptation and resilience aspects need to be mainstreamed into planning by policy makers and the private sector as well as integrated into development strategies.

Biodiversity & Livelihoods

Nature protection is most sustainable if it essentially contributes to the long-term stability of human needs. Today many regions around the world are confronted with increasing destruction of the natural foundations of life. The consequences of wide-ranging resource destruction are no longer regionally limited, but rather represent a global threat. Those affected are mainly rural populations, who find the sources of their income and the foundations of their way of life swept away. The depletion and destruction of natural resources goes hand in hand with decreasing agricultural yields and increasing poverty, which in turn forces the affected populations to deplete the remaining resources.

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Capacity Building

On the one hand, conflicts are caused by structural factors, such as economic and social inequality or environmental destruction. On the other hand, conflicts are fuelled by a lack of democratic structures, deficient mechanisms of non-violent conflict settlement, inadequate rule of law, the destruction of social and cultural identity and the disregard of human rights. Against this backdrop, development policies have been dedicated to a broad concept of security, which comprises political, economic, ecological and social stability. As a consequence, development cooperation agencies and actors have developed a broad spectrum of approaches for conflict prevention and transformation as well as for sustainable use of natural resources.

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Civil Society

Civil society is the first victim of environmental pollution, under-development and conflicts. Economically disadvantaged and politically marginalized population groups are particularly affected by violent conflicts as well as increasing resource degradation. Simultaneously, civil society is a fundamental pillar for implementing sustainable development. It contributes in many ways to strengthening conflict prevention and plays a significant role in the peaceful and democratic development of states. It must be supported to strengthen civil rights, adherence to human rights in general and democratic participation.

Climate Change

Climate change resulting from the emission of greenhouse gases represents one of the vital challenges for international environmental policy. Flooding, droughts, shifting of climate zones and increasingly frequent and intense extreme weather events will have serious economic and social consequences for entire regions. The climate problem is also directly linked to the question of future energy generation.

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Climate Diplomacy

To address the challenges posed by climate change, a new profile of climate diplomacy is evolving. This utilises a full range of policies, including development cooperation, conflict prevention efforts, and humanitarian assistance, in addition to more traditional measures of climate change adaptation and mitigation. Moving from a risk analysis of climate-related threats to well-timed preventive action requires a greater commitment to integrating climate change concerns into development, foreign, and security policies. Examples include strengthening diplomatic networks, building new alliances with partners, and raising awareness – not only of potentially negative climate change impacts, but also of opportunities to embark on a sustainable transformation of our societies.

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Climate action entails an array of economic, social, political and environmental co-benefits. It provides an opportunity for economic growth and new jobs. Many investments can take into account climate considerations without becoming more costly. Further important co-benefits include: improved energy security, less local air and water pollution, health benefits as well as ecosystem and biodiversity protection.

Conflict Transformation

In order to overcome the structural causes of violent conflicts and thus bring about an improvement in the framework conditions for peaceful and fair development, it is essential to have long term and broadly planned peace development and peace advancement. Various governmental and non-governmental, national and international actors and groups are involved in these processes.

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Climate change and development are inextricably linked. Climate change endangers the development agenda and has the potential to reverse development goals. Furthermore, successful mitigation of climate change heavily depends on development choices around the world. Therefore, development strategies need to be climate-compatible to provide long-term success, and there are viable policy options that support this compatibility. Many mitigation and adaptation activities can present development opportunities to developing countries and avoid the lock-in to environmentally damaging technologies.

Early Warning & Risk Analysis

The reasons for the development and escalation of conflicts and the incidence of risks are multifaceted and complex. Simultaneously, the assessment of the specific causes in the form of risk and conflict analyses can contribute to a better understanding of these processes and make it possible to provide warning of negative developments, or ideally help prevent them. In the context of natural resource use, risks and conflicts have gained increasing attention in the past years. The debate on possible future water wars is merely one example.

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The well-being of individuals, communities and nations depends on the availability of energy resources. The gap between energy supply and demand appears to be growing, making the world vulnerable to serious economic shocks. At the same time, the burning of fossil fuels causing climate change is one of the vital challenges of international environmental policy. So far, only rudimentary approaches exist for shaping climate and energy security in a sustainable way. The components of a strategy that can contribute to reducing vulnerabilities related to climate change and energy policy include a greater role for renewable energies, the improvement of energy efficiency and a stronger decentralisation of energy supply.

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Environment & Migration

The economic, social and environmental consequences of climate change aggravate the breakdown of eco-system-dependent livelihoods and are likely to become dominant drivers of long-term migration. Natural disasters already cause massive shorter-term displacement and the number of temporarily displaced people is likely to further increase with climate change. For vulnerable populations in vulnerable regions, such as the Sahel zone or the Ganges delta, migration often becomes the sole survival strategy. In order to address climate-related displacement and migration successfully, knowledge of effective adaptation and an improved understanding of how environmental change affects human mobility is essential. 

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Climate finance, from all sources, plays a key role in supporting and enabling adaptation and mitigation action as well as climate and energy innovation. The Paris Agreement ensured that the Green Climate Fund and the Global Environment Facility are at the core of climate finance architecture as entities entrusted with the operation of the Financial Mechanism of the UNFCCC. Increasing climate finance from all relevant public and private sources is crucial. Furthermore, much needs to be done to redirect finance flows to sustainable paths, e.g. reducing fossil fuel subsidies, introducing maritime and air transportation taxes. The conditions for green investment in developing countries should also be improved.


Forests are disappearing at an alarming rate. Competition for forest resources triggers, exacerbates, or finances numerous crises and conflicts in tropical developing countries. Illegal logging and timber trade foster instability and sometimes violent conflict by strengthening illegal and armed groups, increasing corruption and exacerbating use and claim conflicts among local communities, the state and the business sector. Forests are a vital resource to poor people but they can also become areas of conflict. Sustainable management of forest resources is therefore key to preventing violent conflict over and within forests.

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Gender plays an important role as a category of conflict for many reasons. The interlinkages between gender, environment and conflicts are complex and much research is still needed. Existing insights suggest that conflicts may worsen gender inequalities that existed before the outbreak of violence. The unequal distribution of land property rights in many parts of the world serves as an example. Moreover, women (and children) are among those most affected by both violent conflict and natural disasters. At the same time, women carry much of the burden of trying to implement rehabilitation measures after crisis events.

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Land & Food

Increasing water scarcity, desertification and crop failures due to extreme weather events are becoming more and more of a threat to global food production. While the world’s population continues to grow rapidly, food production is unable to keep pace. Due to the global food crisis in 2008, the number of hungry people reached the symbolic one billion threshold for the first time – corresponding to about 16 percent of world population. Food insecurity may be a consequence or cause of conflicts. Violent conflicts often lead to the destruction of agricultural infrastructure and means of production, as well as to the displacement of local communities.

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Minerals & Mining

In the past, the discovery and tapping of valuable or strategic resources like valuable minerals, oil and natural gas, particularly in developing and emerging countries, has often led to large scale environmental contamination and negative development. The "resource curse" of some countries shows that the wealth from resource yields is frequently unfairly distributed; instead of serving development it advanced the formation of corrupt elites and in some cases even led to conflicts and civil wars. Measures in various sectors and at all levels are important in order to use the potential of these natural resources in a manner that is sustainable and prevents conflicts.

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Private Sector

The spread of violent conflict not only affects people but also companies located in such regions. Destruction of investments and infrastructure, collapse of markets and trade partnerships, flight and expulsion of employees are phenomena of conflicts and environment-induced crises that directly affect companies in unstable regions. Almost all branches of the economy thus have a clear interest in a stable and peaceful environment for their activities. Conversely, the business sector plays an important role in the interaction of economic growth, social development and a healthy environment, all of which can advance peace and sustainable development. 

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Environmental issues have a significant security dimension. Access to, and overuse of, natural resources often play a key role in civil wars or other forms of internal domestic conflict. This is compounded by climate change and environmental degradation. Climate change is now widely recognised as a non-traditional, risk-multiplying threat that will have increasing security impacts. Key risks with possible implications for human and national security include water scarcity, food crises, natural disasters, and displacement. More preventive diplomacy and advocacy is needed to address the strategic implications of climate and environmental change.

Sustainable Transformation

Sustainable Transformation allows societies to profit from a growing, environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive economy – especially in emerging and developing countries. This requires a higher up-front investment, but the benefits of a sustainable transformation in the medium and long term are significant. For instance, energy cost savings and reducing the impact of price volatility offer major incentives for deploying renewable energies and promoting energy efficiency. Such benefits exist in all key sectors of the economy.

Technology & Innovation

Innovations and technologies are already readily available and affordable but their global diffusion and uptake remains a challenge. Innovation and technology are crucial to achieving ambitious climate change mitigation and adaptation targets. However, research and development often do not receive appropriate public support. Developing countries can leapfrog high-carbon industrialisation phases by adopting, deploying and improving existing innovations and technologies. For this, it is essential to minimise financial, administrative and political barriers.


The availability of freshwater resources in sufficient quantity and quality is essential for the preservation of human health and sound ecosystems. The use of water resources is also vital, however, for economic development: whether for agriculture, industrial production or for electricity generation. The world's freshwater resources are distributed very unevenly in terms of geography and seasons. In addition, water shortage is becoming more prevalent in several regions due to population growth, economic development, urbanisation and increasing environmental pollution. Thus, water resources can hold potential for conflicts between parties who have different interests and needs.

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The environment in Asia is already under tremendous pressure as a result of the unsustainable use of land, forests, water and even air in many regions. Climate change will only exacerbate these challenges. Rising sea levels will likely endanger densely populated areas, changes in the monsoon patterns can strongly impact agriculture, melting glaciers will increase long-term water scarcity, and extreme weather events such as heavy rainfall and cyclones can pose further hazards.

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Central America & Caribbean

Natural disasters and water scarcity are key challenges for most of Central America and the Caribbean. These challenges will become even more pronounced as the climate changes. Weak resource and disaster risk management and land disputes pose additional security challenges for large parts of the region. Several countries of Central America and the Caribbean have limited adaptive capacities as they face political instability caused by high social inequality, crime, corruption, and intra-state conflicts.

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As one of the most developed and most densely populated regions in the world, Europe makes heavy use of its resources, resulting in difficult trade-offs and negative consequences for the environment and ecosystems. Land is used for settlements, agriculture and dense infrastructure, creating problems of soil degradation. Water resources are stressed due to unsustainable agricultural practices. Despite nature protection policies, Europe continues to lose biodiversity at an alarming pace. Some of these trends are exacerbated by climate change, which is expected, for instance, to lead to shifts in water availability.

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Global Issues

Resource scarcities, environmental pollution and climate change are not limited by national borders, but often have a transboundary or even global impact. These issues interact with political stability, governance structures and economic performance, and can trigger or worsen disputes and violent conflicts. Exacerbating some of these trends, climate change is likely to lead to the degradation of freshwater resources, declines in food production, increases in storm and flood disasters and environmentally induced migration. All these developments pose potential for conflict.

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Middle East & North Africa

The geopolitical position of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), its fossil fuel resources, high population growth and the political changes spurred by the Arab Spring all make the region one of the most dynamic in the world. Nevertheless, it is also one of the most arid and environmentally stressed. Dwindling water resources, limited arable and grazing land, high pollution from household and industrial waste, remnants of conflicts and increasing desertification are key environmental challenges.

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North America

Climate change has various impacts on the three North American countries of Canada, Mexico and the US. Canada and the US have well-developed adaptive capacities and foster the strengthening of capacities in other regions as well. With high per capita emissions, these two countries also bear a greater responsibility for a changing climate. Mexico has a sound national strategy for climate change adaptation, yet fewer capacities than Canada and the US. The poorer and rural populations of Mexico are especially vulnerable to climate change, due to an increased sensitivity and a lower adaptive capacity.

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Oceania & Pacific

In Oceania, population growth and economic development trends put a strain on oceanic and island ecosystems. Freshwater scarcity, overexploitation of fisheries, loss of land biodiversity, forests and trees, invasive species, soil degradation, increasing levels of settlement, poor management of solid and hazardous waste and disproportionate use of coastal areas are some of the problems. Climate change exacerbates most of these trends, while also raising questions about the future sovereignty of some island states.

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South America

South America has diverse and unique ecosystems and is very rich in biodiversity. Weak natural resource management, land disputes and extreme weather events bring about significant challenges for the region. While South America accounts for relatively few CO2 emissions, the changing climate will alter its ecosystems and greater climate variability will lead to more hurricanes, landslides, and droughts.

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Sub-Saharan Africa

In many African states, environmental security issues rank high on the political agenda. Throughout the continent, countries suffer from water scarcity, food insecurity and energy poverty. These chronic and worsening resource scarcities have severe livelihood implications and are exacerbated by political conflicts over access to and control over these resources. Climate change may seriously threaten political and economic stability in Africa. It may also put a severe strain on the capacities of states and societies to co-ordinate activities, to communicate and to organize.

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