World Bank: Arab nations must face climate change realities

By RTCC Staff

Extreme weather events could become the new norm in the Arab region, with countries particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts, warns a new World Bank Report.

The study found 2010 to be the warmest year globally since records began, with 19 countries setting new national temperature records.

Five of these were in the Arab region and temperatures in Kuwait hit 52.6°C in 2010 and 53.5°C in 2011.

The report warns that the speed of climate change will outstrip the region’s traditional coping mechanisms, leaving it difficult for countries to adapt.

It comes at ministers from around the world are meeting in Qatar for this year’s UN climate talks. It is the first time the talks have been held in the Arab region.

The report says temperatures in the region will reach new highs, while less rainfall is also expected.

With a growing population, the World Bank warns that reduced water availability in an already water-scare region will mean many countries will be left with insufficient supplies to irrigate crops, support industry and provide drinking water.

While climate change is expected to reduce water run-off 10% by 2050, the region’s demand for water supplies is expected to grow 60% by 2045.

“Climate change is a reality for people in Arab countries,” said Inger Andersen, World Bank Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa. “It affects everyone – especially the poor who are least able to adapt – and as the climate becomes ever more extreme, so will its impacts on people’s livelihoods and wellbeing.”

The report offers recommendations for adaptation in the region. It suggests countries and households diversify their production and income generation and integrate adaptation into all policy making decisions.

Video: Rachel Kyte, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development talks to RTCC about the impact of climate change on the world’s poor.


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