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Just spotted this great two-page UN fact sheet on climate change in Iraq. Though it’s not often discussed in the media, Iraq is “one of the Arab region’s most vulnerable countries to climate change.” On top of an increasingly variable climate, the country is experiencing severe water shortages and desertification from damaging farming practices and water resource mismanagement (not to mention continued political and economic instability). As the country reconstructs itself after a decade of conflict, building resilience to rapid changes in the climate will be of critical importance, and may also offer opportunities for peace-building. Watch this space.
When the dust settles in the Arab world, there will be two major questions asked: who actually holds power now, and what are we going to do about water?
UPI recently reported on the numerous water-sharing agreements that are being negotiated and renegotiated as the nations of the Arab world simultaneously experience the institution-shaking phenomenon of the Arab Awakening, and an unusual string of punishing droughts (thanks to Andrew Holland at ASP for the heads up). (more…)
This blog also appeared on the humanitarian news site, AlertNet
The strategic position of Iran, straddling the energy-thruway that is the Strait of Hormuz, bordering, among other nations, Iraq, Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and sitting a mere 1,000 miles northeast of an anxious Israel, is unquestionably important. However, while the recent focus has been on whether or not Iran has the capability and the will to turn its domestic nuclear energy program into a nuclear weapons program, another human and economic disaster looms relatively unnoticed: the drying up of Lake Urmia in the country’s northwest – the largest lake in the Middle East. Given the current volatile political landscape surrounding Iran, this is worth a closer look. (more…)