Adaptation to a Changing Climate in the Arab Countries: A Case for Adaptation Governance and Leadership in Building Climate Resilience
Adapting to climate change is not a new phenomenon for the Arab world. For thousands of years, the people in Arab countries have coped with the challenges of climate variability by adapting their survival strategies to changes in rainfall and temperature. Their experience has contributed significantly to the global knowledge on climate change and adaptation. But over the next century global climatic variability is predicted to increase, and Arab countries may well experience unprecedented extremes in climate. Temperatures may reach new highs, and in most places there may be a risk of less rainfall. Under these circumstances, Arab countries and their citizens will once again need to draw on their long experience of adapting to the environment to address the new challenges posed by climate change. This report prepared through a consultative process with Government and other stakeholders in the Arab world assesses the potential effects of climate change on the Arab region and outlines possible approaches and measures to prepare for its consequences. It offers ideas and suggestions for Arab policy makers as to what mitigating actions may be needed in rural and urban settings to safeguard key areas such as health, water, agriculture, and tourism. The report also analyzes the differing impacts of climate change, with special attention paid to gender, as a means of tailoring strategies to address specific vulnerabilities. The socioeconomic impact of climate change will likely vary from country to country, reflecting a country's coping capacity and its level of development. Countries that are wealthier and more economically diverse are generally expected to be more resilient. The report suggests that countries and households will need to diversify their production and income generation, integrate adaptation into all policy making and activities, and ensure a sustained national commitment to address the social, economic, and environmental consequences of climate variability. With these coordinated efforts, the Arab world can, as it has for centuries, successfully adapt and adjust to the challenges of a changing climate.
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