ECC Platform Library

 

Food Price Inflation and Revolt in Tunisia

Type of conflict sub
Intensity 3
Region
Northern Africa
Time 2010 ‐ 2011
Countries Tunisia
Resources Agricultural / Pastoral Land, Water
Conflict Summary In Tunisia, food price inflation and declining living standards - exacerbated by strong volatility in international food prices - contributed to strong...
Food Price Inflation and Revolt in Tunisia
In Tunisia, food price inflation and declining living standards - exacerbated by strong volatility in international food prices - contributed to strong grievances against the authoritarian regime of President Ben Ali, who was eventually ousted in January 2011.
Conceptual Model

Climate Change

In 2010, adverse weather events such as droughts and wildfires decimated harvests in Russia, the US and other parts of the world, leading to shortages of crop on the world market and rising food prices. Climate change is seen as one driver for the increase of such extreme weather phenomena.

Intermediary Mechanisms

The high dependence on food imports made Tunisian food markets vulnerable to international price fluctuations. Increases in international food prices thus contributed to an increase in local food prices, with adverse consequences for food security.

Fragility and Conflict Risks

The government didn’t manage to compensate rising food prices, so more and more people were not able to meet their basic needs anymore. Thus, long-standing frustrations about the economic and social development were exacerbated and came to light in massive demonstration against the authoritarian regime of President Ben Ali.

Climate ChangeEnvironmental ChangeIntermediary MechanismsFragility and Conflict RisksSocial and Economic DriversMore frequent/intense extreme weather events reduce available natural resources.Demographic changes increase pressures on natural resources.Economic developments lead to changes in land use.Changes in land use reduce available/usable natural resources.Reduced availability of/access to natural resources reduces available resources and ecosystem services.Reduced availability of/access to natural resources undermines resource-dependent livelihoods.Reduced availability of/access to natural resources leads to volatile food prices.Livelihood insecurity leads to growing discontent with the state.Food price volatility provokes growing discontent with the state.An increase in the frequency and/or intensity of extreme weather events, such as floods or droughts.More Frequent / Intense Extreme Weather EventsGrowing scarcity of essential natural resources.Natural Resource ScarcityChange in population density, age structure, or ethnic makeup.Demographic ChangeA broad concept to cover economic growth in general but also specific economic changes or changes of incentives.Economic DevelopmentA change in the usage of environmentally relevant land.Land Use ChangeReduced availability of essential natural resources, such as land and water.Change in Access / Availability of Natural ResourcesA threat or destruction of livelihoods dependent on the availability of environmental resources / goods.Livelihood InsecurityStrong fluctuations in the prices of foodstuffs, such as cereals or livestock.Volatile Food PricesChallenge to the state's legitimacy, ranging from peaceful protest to violent attempts at overthrowing the government.Anti-State Grievances
Context Factors
  • Food Import Dependency
  • Trade restrictions
  • Cut in Consumer Subsidies
  • Eroded Social Contract
  • High Unemployment
Conflict History

In December 2010, the young Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi committed suicide by self-immolation in the small city Sidi Bouzid to protest against his harassment by the Tunisian authorities. The event sparked nationwide protests, which were fuelled by substantial long-term grievances over high unemployment rates, corruption and rising food prices (Andoni, 2010; Freedom House, 2012; Mabey et al., 2013). The protests were met with a brutal security crackdown (Maktabi, 2011). In January 2011, thousands of government opponents took the streets of Tunis to demand the removal of President  Ben Ali, who eventually fled the country with his family on 14 January. During the month-long uprising over 200 people were reported killed and over thousands injured, mainly by police gunfire (Human Rights Watch, 2012).

The fact that the Tunisian revolution coincided with a record high on the FAO global food price index during the winter of 2010/2011 has led several experts to draw a connection between the two events (FAO, 2016; Lagi et al., 2011; see also Global Food Price Shocks). And whilst it is important not to overstate the role that food prices played in bringing about the Tunisian revolution - which was ultimately driven by dire job prospects and longstanding frustrations with the corrupt regime of President Ben Ali – it is fair to say that soaring prices on global food markets served to aggravate existing political tensions in Tunisia (Houdret & Elloumi, 2013).

A fragile political situation     
In 2010, the political situation in Tunisia was already volatile. High unemployment rates - mostly in rural areas and especially among young people - were an important source of anti-state grievances. In 2009, the overall unemployment rate in Tunisia was 13.3%, with a rate of more than 30% among Tunisia's aspiring youth, who make up almost a third of the total population (IMF, 2010; World Bank 2010; World Bank 2014a). This situation was further compounded by high levels of corruption and meagre economic prospects for those who lacked the necessary political connections. In particular young and well educated people saw few opportunities on the job market (Anderson 2016; Drine, 2012; World Bank 2014a).       

Another source of grievances was the set of structural adjustment policies that Tunisia, along with  several other North African countries, had initiated in the late 1980s on the advice of the International Monetary Fund. The economic reforms included a wave of privatizations, market liberalizations and cutbacks in public spending, increasing economic pressures on vulnerable groups and thereby deepening social inequalities (Gana, 2012). In the agricultural sector, the policy changes became manifest in decreasing farm subsidies, higher production costs and conditional access to land, resulting in the marginalization of small-scale farmers (Gana, 2012; Rosenberg, 2011; Zotian, 2012). A rising necessity to use technical equipment, which many farmers could simply not afford, exacerbated these disparities (Ayeb, 2012).    

Dependence on food imports 
Moreover, the reforms encouraged Tunisia to focus on producing crops with a high export value, mostly vegetables and fruits, and to import cheap grain for local consumption. This shift towards export-oriented farm production made Tunisia highly dependent on global food markets; a risky strategy in view of a rapid population growth and rising domestic demand for food (Ayeb, 2012; Cincotta, 2014; Gana, 2012; Mabey et al., 2013).  

The global food price crisis as an aggravating factor
Rising food prices were among the main concerns of those demanding the departure of President Ben Ali, even though the Tunisian government did comparatively well in protecting local consumers through food subsidies and price controls (Cincotta, 2014; Randeree, 2011). Yet, these measures could not make up for years of economic mismanagement, corruption and social marginalization (Gana, 2012).
Indeed, local consumer prices for food had gradually increased in the years preceding the 2010 global food price crisis, corresponding to a growing number of Tunisians who did not have enough money to buy food (Breisinger et al., 2011; Cincotta, 2014; Silva et al., 2012). Between 2005 and 2011, wheat imports increased by more than 200%, which made the measures to keep local consumer prices low extremely expensive. The additional spending had the effect of dramatically raising government expenditure, further undermining public trust in the viability of Ben Ali's economic policy (UNECA, 2012; FAO, 2015).
Moreover, according to the FAO, most of these expensive measures failed to reach low-income families and therefore did not protect particularly vulnerable groups. The perception of being treated unfairly among those who were not protected against the rising food prices certainly contributed to their anger towards the government (FAO, 2015).

Resolution Efforts

Improving domestic production capacities    
As extreme weather events in important food-producing regions are expected to become more frequent in future, it is critical to avoid overreliance on volatile markets and strengthen local food production capacities (Gana, 2012; IPCC, 2014; see also general case on Food Price Volatility in the MENA Region). Compared to other countries in the MENA region, Tunisia has achieved remarkably high degrees of self-sufficiency in some products, e.g. vegetables, fruits and dairy products. Nevertheless, dependence on imports of staple foods remains high (Cappellazzi, 2013; European Commission, 2014).The Tunisian government has therefore increased incentives to cultivate grain, raising subsidies for both the production costs of grain and the selling price of particular seeds. Moreover, producers are guaranteed a minimum price for their harvests (UNECA, 2012).       
Additional investments in agricultural research and development could further sustain the agricultural sector. In particular if the knowledge gained is actually brought to the farms, the expansion of these investments would certainly pay off in the long-term (FAO, 2015). 

Improving water use efficiency          
Nonetheless, food production in Tunisia is complicated by limited water resources and inefficient irrigation systems. Water management reforms therefore have the potential to bring improvements. Supported by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the World Bank and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) among others, Tunisia has initiated a range of projects to improve water use, e.g. by optimizing the agricultural use of sludge and wastewater (AfDB 2012; GIZ, 2015; World Bank, 2014b). More such initiatives could support the development of the food producing sector (European Commission, 2014).

Protecting local consumers   
Having faced repeated global food price fluctuations in 2008 and 2010, the Tunisian government has augmented its efforts to control local consumer prices for food. In 2008, these included a reduction of taxes on grain imports as well as the strategic subsidization of staple foods, such as bread, sugar and semolina. These policies were accompanied by social policy measures such as food distribution and targeted cash transfers (UNECA, 2012).
In reaction to the upheavals in 2010 and 2011, the Tunisian authorities nearly doubled food and energy subsidies, but these measures failed to calm the situation (Mabey et al., 2013). Since then, expenditures on food subsidies have steadily increased, reaching USD 94 million in 2014 (Chapman, 2015). It is questionable whether subsidies are cost-efficient and actually reach the most vulnerable households. In contrast, well-directed cash transfers have proven to be more purposeful. (FAO, 2015, Silva et al., 2012). 

Recently, the IMF approved a four-year Extended Fund Facility amounting to USD 2.9 billion, committing Tunisia to social and economic reforms, including a reduction of subsidies for food and energy, and the strengthening of social safety nets (IMF, 2016). However, critics fear that such reforms may lead to further deterioration in living conditions among the most disadvantaged and thus reinforce the crucial drivers of the 2011 revolts (Rosenberg, 2011; Houdret & Elloumi, 2013).   

To strengthen food security, Tunisia further plans to increase the level of wheat stocks. On the one hand, higher storage capacities might be helpful to counter-steer developments in global food prices. On the other hand, storeages are expensive to maintain and especially in Tunisia their cost is comparatively high (World Bank & FAO, 2012; FAO, 2015).

Trade and cooperation within the MENA-region         
Finally, optimizing south-south trade and cooperation is considered important to secure food supplies in the future (UNECA, 2012). Several regional and sub-regional integration agreements have been established. Tunisia is a member of the Greater Arab Free Trade Agreement (GAFTA) and the Agadir Agreement for the Establishment of a Free Trade Zone between Arabic Mediterranean Nations (AGADIR). While GAFTA was found to have only minor effects, AGADIR has significantly increased trade among participating states (Freund & Portugal-Perez, 2012). Moreover, a ministerial commission of the Maghreb states responsible for food security has been created to develop a common agricultural strategy. Apart from trade issues, the cooperation aims to further develop common fields of scientific research, the exchange of ideas, and the more efficient use of natural resources (UNECA, 2012). The effects of these policies have yet to be seen.

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

Influences
Environmental Influences
Societal Influences

Manifest Crisis
Fatalities
200
Violent Conflict Yes
Salience within nation National
Resources
Agricultural / Pastoral Land, Water
Resolution Success
Reduction in Violence Violence has ceded completely.
Increased capacity to address grievance in the future The capacity to address grievances in the future has increased.
Grievance Resolution Grievances have been mostly addressed.
Causal Attribution of Decrease in Conflict Intensity Decrease in conflict intensity at least partially the result of conflict resolution strategies.
General opencollapse
Country Data in Comparison
ConflictNoData Created with Sketch.


Actors
Participation Conflict Party     Conflict Resolution Facilitator
Tunisian Government
Functional GroupPublic
Geographical ScaleInternal National
Tunisian People
Functional GroupCivil Society
Geographical ScaleInternal National
World Bank
Functional GroupCommercial
Geographical ScaleExternal
African Development Bank (AfDB)
Functional GroupPublic
Geographical ScaleExternal
German Ministry for Eco. Cooperation & Development (BMZ)
Functional GroupPublic
Geographical ScaleExternal
Entry Points for Resilience and Peace Building
2 Reducing dependence on specific supplies Various steps towards reducing dependence on food imports have been taken, such as increasing incentives to cultivate grain, raising subsidies, and guaranteeing producers a minimum price for their harvests.
2 Containing (effects of) price volatility Policy measures, including the subsidization of staple foods and targeted cash-transfers, have been set in place in an effort to control local food prices and protect vulnerable households. Recent plans will consider social and economic reforms as proposed by the IMF four-year Extended Fund Facility, as well as increasing the level of wheat stocks.
2 Reducing trade barriers Tunisia has taken part in several regional and sub-regional free trade agreements, including the Greater Arab Free Trade Agreement (GAFTA) and the Agadir Agreement for the Establishment of a Free Trade Zone between Arabic Mediterranean Nations (AGADIR). Among other goals these aim to achieve food security in the MENA region.
2 Improving resource efficiency Several programs were initiated to improve water use efficiency with support from international actors such as the World Bank, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Among others, Tunisia has initiated a range of projects to improve water use, e.g. by optimizing the agricultural use of sludge and wastewater.
Further Details opencollapse
Conflict Characterization
Data of involved Countries
Resources and Materials opencollapse
Conflict References References with URL
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Topics

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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Cities

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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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Co-Benefits

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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Development

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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Energy

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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Finance

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

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

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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Security

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.

Water

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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Regions

Asia

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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Europe

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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