The EastWest Institute and the Center for Applied Research in Partnership with the Orient (CARPO) held a two-day confidential dialogue meeting between participants from Iran and Saudi Arabia in Bonn on April 19-20, 2017.
The two groups from Iran and Saudi Arabia were composed of former diplomats, senior analysts, security and environmental experts. In addition, a group of distinguished experts from think tanks, academia, and the UN contributed with their input and analysis.
Held under strict Chatham House Rule, the dialogue aimed at gaining insights on how Saudi Arabia and Iran view the environmental challenges they face in their respective countries and the region, how future cooperation in the fields of environment could look like, and what impediments to cooperation need to be overcome.
The participants discussed the most pressing environmental issues facing West Asia, the Levant and the Arabian Peninsula, including the economic and political consequences of long term drought, water scarcity, air pollution, and sand and dust storms, and how to tackle those issues on a national, bilateral, and regional level. The participants also discussed the possible consequences of non-cooperation on those matters in the future, and what implications that might have on migration, radicalism, employment, and habitation in those two countries and the region. Beyond the conversation on the environmental challenges, the current geopolitical impediments to cooperation were also highlighted.
A comprehensive policy brief of EWI and CARPO will follow in June.