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COP Comes to MENA: Examining Climate Change in the Region

The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP) is coming to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and staying for at least two years in a row. In November 2022, COP 27 is set to take place in Egypt and in November 2023, COP 28 will be held in the United Arab Emirates. With the arrival of this high-profile, global initiative comes an unparalleled opportunity to examine pressing climate change issues and their impact on those living in MENA and to offer ground-up solutions that facilitate adaptation to or mitigation of these challenges. It’s also a critical moment to unpack the underlying political, social, and economic conditions that determine whether or not climate policy can truly be transparent, accountable, and just.

TIMEP presents “COP Comes to MENA: Examining Climate Change in the Region,” a project that is cultivating a community and a platform through which experts, advocates, and those most impacted will drive the climate policy agenda in the face of insufficient engagement at home and underrepresentation of MENA in the global climate conversation. The project aims to instill into the discourse a more comprehensive understanding of climate change’s impact on everyday life and what it means to deliver climate justice. Through written, audiovisual, and interactive programming, TIMEP will center perspectives and insights from and in the region to inform inclusive and effective climate interventions ahead of and around critical fora like COP.

Climate Challenges and Impact

Gabès, a Victim of Industrial Pollution in Tunisia 

On June 5, 2022, the world celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first United Nations Environment Conference, which led to the creation of the United Nations Environment Program and to the designation of June 5 as World Environment Day. At the same time, in the south of Tunisia, the region of Gabès, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Tunisian Chemical Group, a public company operating phosphate mines since the 1970s, and has polluted its water and oasis ever since.

تغيُّر المناخ و غياب الاستقرار السياسيّ: هل سيجد السودان...

مع استمرار حالة التوتُّر السياسي في السودان وحقيقة أن تغيُّر المناخ ليس من أولويات الحكومة التي يقودها الجيش، فمن غير المُتوقَّع أن يتمكن السودان من تحقيق الإمكانات الهائلة المُنتَظَرة من مؤتمر الأطراف 27.

Climate Change and Political Instability: Will Sudan Ever Find...

Sudan has a lot of work to do before the conference in order to define its priorities and potential gains from COP 27. But with the continued political tension and the fact that climate change is not a priority for the military-led government, it is highly unlikely that Sudan will be able to unlock the full potential of COP 27.

Climate Adaptation and Mitigation

تونس والتحوُّل نحو الطَّاقة منخفضة الكربون

في الأشهر القليلة الماضية، اضطرَّت تونس إلى مواجهة الضَّعف الكامن في قطاع الطاقة الناجم عن الصدمات الخارجية في سوق الطاقة. في عام 2021، شكَّل قطاع الطاقة نسبة 32.2 في المئة مِن إجمالي العجز التجاري للبلاد، ويتوقَّع الخبراء خلال عام 2022 مزيدًا مِن الارتفاع في نسبة النقد الأجنبي التي تُنفق على صادرات الطَّاقة، مع ارتفاع سعر برميل النفط بمقدار دولارٍ واحدٍ، ما يُكلِّف الحكومة نحو 140 مليون دينار (ما يُعادل 48 مليون دولار). في مُحاولةٍ لمواجهة هذا الأمر وآثاره على التضخُّم، رفعت الحكومة أسعار الوقود في أبريل 2022 بنحو 5 في المئة للمرَّة الثَّالثة هذا العام، ما فرض ضغوطًا مُتزايدةً أثَّرت على دخل المواطن التونسي العادي، في وقتٍ تتزايَد فيه أسعار المواد الغذائيَّة والكهرباء أيضًا.

Challenges Remain for Agricultural Sector in Libya: Ways Forward

Libya’s neglected agricultural sector has been shrinking through the years, impacted by both climate change and political instability, and has become more vulnerable to the challenges it faces. The grim reality of the agricultural sector requires major efforts to revive it again, and some innovations that are seeing the light in the sector could have high potential in helping achieve this.

From the River to the Sea: Water Management in...

Focusing on the question of water security for Libya’s marginalized communities, this article will consider the country’s water politics and environmental issues, its historical approach to the issue of water scarcity, and potential solutions.

Climate Stories

Lebanon’s Solar Revolution: Q&A with Ryme Assaad

In this Q&A on Lebanon’s climate change and environmental challenges, in addition to the existing financial and political ones, TIMEP interviews Ryme Assaad, a social entrepreneur and activist, president at Sustain the World, an NGO that focuses on finding sustainable solutions.

Spotlight: COP and the International Community

MEI-TIMEP: Assessing MENA’s 2022 Climate Implications and Exploring Policy...

The MENA region experienced another year of escalating climate extremes in 2022. Suffocating dust storms ravaged the Arabian Peninsula, stifling and deadly heatwaves persisted over the summer, and intense precipitation events caused calamitous flooding in various locations across the region. The end of 2022 finally saw some promise: at the COP27 conference in Sharm El […]

Who Is this COP for? 

It might be hard to imagine full accessibility in Egypt, a country that has been marked by the lack of access, crackdowns, and widespread oppression of any dissenting or even alternative voice to that of the government for so long. However, perhaps the fact of how international COP27 actually is helps unmask the reality of Egypt’s political situation to a broader audience, and perhaps this could be the start of a slightly more accountable political space. One can only hope.

Bringing “Loss and Damage” to MENA 

While the concept of loss and damage financing is far from novel, the recent momentum in advancing the loss and damage agenda has been unitedly led by the G77 and China. Yet, despite consistent warnings from experts highlighting the MENA region as the most water-stressed areas in the world, lived experiences and anticipated adverse climate impacts in MENA countries are rarely considered within loss and damage discourse. The reasons for exclusion are likely complex and multifold, particularly given economic and geopolitical turmoil underpinning the region’s recent history. However, the existential threat to human security resulting from human-induced climate change in MENA should not be overly conflated by the lack of nuance that does not take into account the intricate country-specific sociocultural, political, and economic historical realities.