Water is a critical resource everywhere, but in the Middle East, it is a defining issue. Changing demographics, poor management and climate change are pummelling the region’s already alarming water security situation. EcoPeace Middle East’s brand new report ‘A Green Blue Deal for the Middle East’ taps into water as a make-or-break issue for regional cooperation, economic development, and even for the future of peace negotiations.
After close to 40 years of armed conflict, Afghanistan may be poised to begin a period of economic recovery. Electrifying remote areas and establishing pervasive political control is critical to its success. India is currently planning and funding several major hydropower projects along the Kabul River and its tributaries. Micro-hydropower is bringing electricity to remote areas such as the Banda Miralamji Village in eastern Nangarhar Province. However, in some areas far from the capital, the central government in Kabul and opposition groups are struggling for control and influence. While electrification of a village often eases poverty, health concerns, and improves communication, it does not always benefit the government in Kabul.
The Gulf Cooperation Council’s grid operator is studying the feasibility of a cable to Ethiopia, which would run through currently war-torn Yemen.
Climate change threatens conflict and poverty in the Arab region, according to the UN Development Programme (UNDP). In a report published last week, the agency suggested climate risks could derail development gains, such as the decrease in infant mortality and the achievement of near universal primary education.
EcoPeace Middle East is an organization that seeks to create lasting peace though environmental cooperation and protection of shared natural resources. The Jordanian project coordinator, Mohammad Bundokji, explains the innovative approach to peacebuilding that consists in generating positive mutual dependencies for water and energy.
In the Middle East, the consequences of climate change are already a reality of life. The region is one of the most water-stressed areas in the world, the average temperature is rising faster than elsewhere, and a massive reduction in rainfall is also expected for the coming years. Adding to the conflicts and quarrels – ranging from the Israeli–Palestinian conflict to Syria and Iraq as well as to rivalries between Iran and the Gulf states – access to and use of natural resources act as yet another crisis amplifier in the region: water is as important here as land ownership and as precious as access to oil.
The race is on for Saudi Arabia to find new sources of income before the oil age peters out. Could acting on climate change cause some of the world’s wealthiest countries to collapse into disorder and danger?
If there is something positive about climate change it is that it challenges our habitual thinking and our tendency to view the world in bits and pieces rather than seeing it as one unity.
The most important and anticipated climate change conference in years is finally underway. In some ways, as Bill McKibben and Andrew Revkin have pointed out, its success is relatively assured thanks to the number of major commitments countries have already made. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to see here.
It is neither acceptable nor possible for European countries to achieve energy security on the back of a fossil fuel strategy that will undermine democracy, human rights, and climate security, writes Luca Bergamaschi.
U.S. airstrikes launched on August 23 signaled the start of Operation Inherent Resolve. This is intended to eliminate the Islamic State terrorist group and the threat it poses to Iraq, Syria, the region and the wider international community.
European leaders are under the delusion that they can solve Europe’s security of energy supply problem by creating a strong internal market, which they believe the rest of the world will be eager to serve.
Jockeying for oil and natural gas resources are one component of the conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, and elsewhere. A deep reduction in fossil fuel consumption wouldn't make these conflicts disappear, Cobb writes, but they might make them far less dangerous.