The European Commission has released a report highlighting its collaborative research “cluster” on water and security in Southern Europe and surrounding regions, an area already suffering the effects of climate change (not to mention dire future predictions). The EU has identified climate and water security in Southern Europe as a thematic priority, stating:
The impacts of climate change on water resources are raising concerns over the possible implications for security. Decreasing access to water resources and other related factors could be a cause or a ‘multiplier’ of tensions within and between countries. Whether security threats arise from climate impacts – or options for cooperation evolve – does not depend only on the severity of the impacts themselves, but on social, economic institutional vulnerabilities or resilience and other factors that influence local, national and international relations.
The research cluster, appropriately acronymized as “CLIWASEC (Climate Change Impacts on Water and Security)” is divided into three integrated projects, which will each explore a set of regional case studies, and hopefully fill some gaps in research on the intersection of climate, water, security and conflict:
- CLIMB (Climate Induced Changes on the Hydrology of Mediterranean Basins): Noce (Italy), Rio Mannu (Sardinia, Italy), Thau (France), Chiba (Tunisia), Izmit Bay (Turkey), Gaza (Palest. Adm.), Nile Delta (Egypt)
Description: “CLIMB analyzes climate induced changes in hydrological budgets and extremes across the Mediterranean and neighbouring regions, targeted to selected river or aquifer catchments. A combination of novel field monitoring and remote sensing concepts, data assimilation, integrated hydrologic modelling and socioeconomic factor analyses is employed to reduce existing uncertainties in climate change impact analysis. Results of a multi-model ensemble feed a GIS-based Vulnerability and Risk Assessment Tool, serving as a platform for dissemination of project results, communication and planning for local and regional stakeholders.”
- CLICO (Climate Change, Hydro conflicts and Human Security): Cyprus, Andalusia-Morocco biosphere, Sarno (Italy), Niger, Alexandria (Egypt), Sudan, Seyhan (Turkey), Jordan River, Sinai Desert (Egypt), Nile (Ethiopia), Ebro (Spain)
Description: Climate change poses threats to human security and hydroclimatic hazards can exacerbate social tensions, intra- and inter-state conflict. Still, there are few peer-reviewed studies examining links between climate change, hydrology, conflict and security. Focussing on the Mediterranean, Maghreb, Middle East and Sahel, CLICO fills this gap in knowledge over the social dimensions of climate change. It examines why some countries and communities are more vulnerable to droughts, floods and related conflict, and what policies and institutions are necessary to ensure adaptation and security under global and regional hydro-climatic change.
- WASSER Med (Water Availability and Security in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean): Syros Island (Greece), Merguellil (Tunisia), Sardinia (Italy), Jordan River (Jordan), Nile (Egypt)
Description: WASSERMed builds on existing climate projections in order to assess present and future uncertainties in hydrological budgets in the Mediterranean area, and to provide an improved assessment of climate effects on water resources and use sectors. Research expands to the quantification of socioeconomic factors that can affect future threats to water security, and to the evaluation of potential measures to mitigate adverse effects. Results, which concern sensitive sectors of the Mediterranean area and specific regions, are widely disseminated to stakeholders in order to facilitate long-term adaptive planning.