HPA Hydropolitics Academy's International Webinar on Climate Change and the Middle East, Euphrates-Tigris River Basin was completed
25 February 2021
The Webinar series, which was held in two sessions on the virtual environment on 23 and 24 February 2021, was followed by nearly 40 participants on both days.
Competent academics and experts, most of whom were foreigners, discussed the climate change effects on water in the Middle East, Euphrates and Tigres River Basin in detail for two days.
In the session on the first day, the effects of climate change on the Middle East and water resources in the Tigris Euphrates Basin were technically discussed. In the session on the second day, the effects of climate change on regional security, whether it will affect cooperation between countries or conflict, as well as the effects on food security and the measures to be taken were discussed.
After the speakers on both days, most of the experts participating in the panel asked questions and made some suggestions by sharing their opinions as well.
Experts from Lebanon, Iran, Jordan, Iraq, Germany and France actively contributed to the event by taking the floor.
Academicians and experts who made presentations at the event stated that climate change will be more effective in the direction of the decrease of surface water resources in the Middle East and the Euphrates-Tigris Basin. It was stated that the decrease in the groundwater of the region is mainly caused by excessive draft rather than the effect of climate change.
In the presentations, it was stated that the anticipated reduction in water resources in the region would have effects on energy, food and environmental security, and it was also discussed to what extent and scope these effects would occur.
In the second session of the event, the relationship between climate change and regional security, the dangers and risks of climate change, and how this would reflect on the relations between countries were discussed.
In this session, it was discussed that decision-makers in the countries of the region are not sufficiently aware of the dangers and risks posed by climate change or that this issue is not sufficiently included in their agenda.
Experts shared their views that how to manage transboundary waters in the region under these risks. Mitigation measures need political will and effort rather than technical solution suggestions
It was stated that the failure to make progress in the problems in the region was due to the lack of political will and effort and the lack of trust among the countries in the region rather than lack of technical solutions. Emphasis was placed on the importance of confidence-building by economic relations in solving these problems. In addition, it was claimed that the work and cooperation of civil society, the press, universities could increase social awareness, but this was not taken into account by policymakers. On the contrary, some experts have given some examples of how progress has been made, albeit limited, in this area. Thinking outside the box and changing dynamics of dialoge between riparian states had also been suggested by speakers.It is also stressed that water should be a tool for economic cooperation instead of political tensions. Some suggestions have been made to build confidence among riparian states.
At the meeting, experts stated that water should be used much more efficiently in terms of agricultural production and regional food security cooperation is needed.
Expressing that the region is highly dependent on food from outside, experts argued that the policies of each country to provide their food security are unrealistic. Indicating that this situation and the risks of climate change necessitate region-wide trade cooperation. Experts also said that regional strategic agricultural investments should be made.
It was also stated that it may be difficult to provide enough food to society as well as when irregular migrants return to their countries. Therefore it is necessary to increase cooperation between riparian states over food security from today.
In the event, some experts stated that the water resources management of the region could be handled within the scope of the EU Water Framework Directive and Sustainable Development Goals and suggested that work could be done on this subject.
In the event, it was also mentioned that the current and increasing political uncertainty in the region, with the effect of climate change, may cause the water and land resources to be reconsidered within the scope of securitization policies. At the end of the webinar, there was a consensus that it would be beneficial to continue such brainstorming meetings among NGOs at regular periods.
Some participants suggested establishing new initiatives coordinated by HPA, in cooperation with universities and non-governmental organizations for this region.
At the end of the event, HPA Director Dursun Yıldız and Moderator Kamal Jalouqa thanked to all speakers and participants for their great effort and contributions to the webinar.
The participants expressed their gratitude by expressing that it was a very productive international meeting where scientific and information-based analyzes were made on the issues and very valuable suggestions were shared.
1- Climate change on Euphrates and Tigris Basins_Prof.Dr. Murat Türkes
2-Water Scarcity in the Context Of Climate Change.Middle East, Euphrates And Tigris Basin. Prof.Dr Nadhir Al-Ansari
3-Estimating the groundwater depletion in the Middle East Dr.Gholamreza Joodaki
4-Climate change impacts on security in the Middle East . Dr. Benjamin Pohl
5-Water as a tool for economic cooperation instead of political tensions .Dr. Azzam Alwash
6- Climate Change and Food Security in the Middle East .Dursun Yıldız
7-Technology in Water Resource Management,A Tool For Diplomacy. Kamal Jalouqa