EWI Partner E3G Releases Report on Economic and Political Challenges in the MENA Region
With funding from Planet Heritage, EWI has partnered with E3G, a European think tank focused on sustainable development, on a project examining how the Middle East and North Africa's vulnerability to climate vulnerability to climate change and resource scarcity are further complicating the already sizable economic and political challenges facing these countries.
Focusing on studies of Egypt and Tunisia, this project has resulted in this new report, which argues that MENA countries already face disproportionate future challenges from and constraints on growth due to energy and water pressures, vulnerability to volatile international food prices, and climate impacts on critical industries.
According to E3G, climate challenges, population growth, and industrialization will result in a growing scarcity of water. Food prices are also expected to increase dramatically, contributing to economic shocks in the region. Developed countries have a strategic interest in successful democratic transitions but current support pledged to the region does not address the critical economic and resource challenges.
The report suggests that “external support for energy and resource investment should ‘stress test’ the value of long lived infrastructure against future resource and climate change scenarios to ensure their economic value is resilient in the medium term.” It goes on to recommend that donor countries and regional partners work together to focus on four strategic priorities: improving resilience to shocks, economic diversification into resource efficient industries, building resilient infrastructure, and focusing support on a few high-impact stability and development objectives.
EWI was pleased to work with E3G in holding workshops in Berlin, New York, Washington D.C., and Brussels with policymakers and relevant experts from the public and private sector for roundtable discussions on the issue. We are particularly grateful to Planet Heritage for funding the project and to the Embassy of Switzerland in Washington, D.C., for hosting the roundtable there.