Regional context in the partner countries
The UNDP Arab Human Development Reports of 2005-2009 all ask the same question:
“Why have obstacles to human development in the MENA region proved to be so stubborn?”
According to the latest report, “the answers lie in the fragility of the region’s political, social, economic and environmental structures, in its lack of people centred development policies and in its vulnerability to outside intervention” . Together, these characteristics undermine human security – the kind of material and moral foundation that secures lives, livelihoods and an acceptable quality of life for the majority.
In a recent report on the region entitled “Rising Temperatures, Rising Tensions: Climate change and the risk of violent conflict in the Middle East” by Oli Brown and Alec Crawford from the International Institute for Sustainable Development, the relation between climate change and conflict in the Middle East is highlighted.
The authors recall, that “more than 60 years of conflict have taken a heavy toll on the region’s ability to cope with climate change… which complicates participation in international processes. At other times, it is more insidious, revealing itself through a steady reduction in economic opportunity, an unwillingness to cooperate over water and energy projects, or the emergence of an ‘island mentality’ approach to resources. This legacy greatly complicates efforts to collaborate over shared resources, to invest in more efficient water and energy use, to share new ways to adapt to climate change and to pursue truly multilateral action on climate change”.
On the optimistic note, the report anticipates that as “a shared threat like no other, (climate change) may encourage countries to work together despite their political and ideological differences, to tackle the common challenge.” These quotes sum up the background for the project and the contextual conditions behind. In terms of the individual MENA countries involved in this project, Egypt and Jordan do suffer from various social, economic, political, security and climate problems.
One important aspect that unites these countries is that that they are bestowed with young populations who aspire for a better life.