The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is the world’s most water-scarce region, containing 1% of the world’s freshwater resources while housing 6% of the world’s population. The average per capita share of total renewable freshwater resource base sits at 600 cubic metres, with around 80% of water consumed in the agricultural sector, seeming to be only further exacerbated through climate change. Varying water consumption and usage throughout the region is met with differing degrees of efforts to thwart depletion, including national and international policies and projects, such as water desalination and reuse programs.
In this webinar, the panellists will discuss the current state of water insecurity in the region, technical projects and the governing policies working to address this by governments and international actors. The panel will explore how political, social and economic instability, in addition to climate change, exacerbates water resources and the implications. Discussing the Levant, North Africa and Iran, panellists will speak to the future of water governance in the MENA region and international understanding of environmental security.
Dr Aaron Wolf is a Professor of Geography at the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University. His research and teaching focus is on the interaction between water science and water policy, particularly as related to conflict prevention and transformation. A trained mediator and facilitator, he directs the Program in Water Conflict Management and Transformation, through which he has offered workshops, facilitations, and mediation in basins throughout the world. He is the author of The Spirit of Dialogue: Lessons from Faith Traditions in Transforming Conflict.
H.E. Dr Hazim El-Naser serves as the Chairman of the Middle East Water Forum and is the Former Minister of Water and Agriculture, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Dr El-Naser started his career as a civil servant with the Ministry of Water and Irrigation of Jordan in 1991. From 2001-2005, he was Minister of Water and Irrigation and from 2003-2004, he also served as Minister of Agriculture. In 2013, he was again appointed Minister of Water and Irrigation and Minister of Agriculture. An expert on water resource management and environmental economics, Dr El-Naser has more than 60 publications in international journals on water, the environment and agriculture infrastructure and has published two books.
Kaveh Madani is an environmental scientist, educator and activist with expertise in environmental security and analysing complex human-nature systems. He has previously served as the Deputy Vice President of Iran in his position as the Deputy Head of Iran’s Department of Environment, the Vice President of the UN Environment Assembly Bureau, and the Chief of Iran’s Department of Environment’s International Affairs and Conventions Center. He is currently a Henry Hart Rice Senior Fellow at the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies of Yale University and a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Environmental Policy of Imperial College London. He has received a number of awards for his research, teaching and outreach and humanitarian activities, including the New Face of Civil Engineering recognition, the Hydrologic Sciences Early Career Scientist Award, the Arne Richter Award for Outstanding Young Scientists and the Walter Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize.
Lama El-Hatow has 13 years of experience in the environmental field, nine of which are as an Environmental and Social Specialist at IFC (part of the World Bank Group) working on projects in sectors, including manufacturing, infrastructure, services and financial markets. She has worked on a wide range of projects across the Middle East and North Africa as well as in Sub-Saharan Africa including Mozambique and Nigeria. Lama was also been engaged in the UNFCCC climate change negotiations from 2009-2014 as a climate policy officer, lobbying governments to reduce their GHG emissions whilst following both the mitigation and adaptation tracks quite closely through the International NGO Climate Action Network. Lama’s specialisation is in climate change and water resources, with a specific emphasis on transboundary water management.
Dr Eleanor Beevor is a Research Associate in the Conflict, Security and Development Programme at the IISS. She specialises in non-state armed groups, environmental protection in conflict and the intersection of armed conflict and climate change.