Mideast: Drought to Turn People into Eternal Migrants, Prey to Extremism?

Climate Change, Combating Desertification and Drought, Environment, Featured, Food & Agriculture, Headlines, Humanitarian Emergencies, IPS UN: Inside the Glasshouse, Middle East & North Africa, Population, Poverty & SDGs, Projects, TerraViva United Nations, Water & Sanitation This story is part of special IPS coverage of the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, observed on June 17.
This quick conclusion does not come out of the blue–the MENA region, which is home to around 400 million people, is one of the world’s most impacted areas by drought and fast advancing desertification.
What Desertification Is All About?
Desertification is the degradation of land in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas.
“These people include many of the world‘s poorest, most marginalized and politically weak citizens.” The World Day to Combat Desertification is a unique moment to remind everyone that land degradation neutrality (LDN) is achievable through problem solving, strong community involvement and co-operation at all levels,” according to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
“Environmental degradation, political instability, food insecurity and poverty are causes of migration and development challenges.” In fact, the Bonn-based UNCCD secretariat timely reminds that in just 15 years, the number of international migrants worldwide has risen from 173 million in 2000 to 244 million in 2015.
By 2025, 1.8 billion people will experience absolute water scarcity, and two thirds of the world will be living under water-stressed conditions.
Meanwhile, UNCCD reports that the demand for water is expected to increase by 50 per cent by the year 2050.
“Drought and water scarcity are considered to be the most far-reaching of all natural disasters, causing short and long-term economic and ecological losses as well as significant secondary and tertiary impacts.” Ten Times Less Available Fresh Water Per capita availability of fresh water in the region is now 10 times less than the world average, the United Nations has recently warned.
The UN Convention to Combat Desertification Established in 1994, UNCCD is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management.

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