March 29, 2023

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Greenpeace warns of “high risk” of water and food shortages

AA/Alger/Aksil Ouali

International NGO Greenpeace issued a warning on Wednesday, warning of a “very high risk” of water and food shortages in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

The effects of global warming, according to the same source, may be severely felt by the people of this region.

Greenpeace cited the results of a multi-researcher study on climate, agriculture and water resources in the Middle East and North Africa region last September to support its warning.

The study in question includes four North African countries – Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt – as well as Middle Eastern countries including Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates. These countries, and certainly many more, the NGO warns, face a “very high” risk of food and water shortages.

The study specifically points to the rate of warming in the region since 1980, which has been greater than any other part of the planet since 1980. This phenomenon is developing at a rate of 0.4°C per decade. This is twice the global average for global warming. It has even predicted hellish temperatures of up to 56 degrees Celsius in some areas.

It should be noted that in recent years, the North African region has experienced a significant drop in rainfall and much hotter and longer summers. In Algeria, for example, dams run dry in 2021, forcing authorities to ration water supplies.

According to the authors of the aforementioned study, 400 million people living in the Arab world are at risk of experiencing difficult conditions created by extreme temperatures and water and food shortages.

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Climate change will indeed lead to “prolonged droughts” and sea level rise. The risk of water scarcity is assessed as “very high”, with negative impacts on agriculture and human health. Countries in the region are among the world’s biggest importers of food, especially grains, which have experienced global tensions since the outbreak of war in Ukraine.

According to Greenpeace, the feared disruptions will “primarily affect farmers and poor people, as their low incomes do not allow them to cope with the new situation and their dependence on local agriculture”.

These types are most exposed to extreme events, very sharp rise in temperature and lack of water. These vulnerable margins bear the brunt of the behavior of what the NGO calls “historical polluters” who refuse to apply the “polluter pays” principle.

The topic was on the agenda of the Arab League summit that ended Wednesday in Algiers. The Algiers Declaration adopted by the participants called for action to reduce the effects of global warming.

At the opening ceremony of this summit, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, recalled the objective of raising 100 billion dollars during the climate meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, to address the environmental challenges. All over the world, especially in Africa.

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