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2024 | OriginalPaper | Chapter

3. Water and Food Security in the Middle Eastern and Northern African Countries

Authors : Waqar Akram, Zakir Hussain, Sultan Adeel

Published in: The Water, Climate, and Food Nexus

Publisher: Springer International Publishing

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Abstract

Water, both for human use and agriculture, is a concern in the Middle Eastern and North African economies (MENA), entailing risks and opportunities in these countries. Besides, fast-changing politico-socio-economic and environmental conditions make water security challenging for policymakers. Water security, coupled with food security, has become a distinct and more unnerving challenge than ever before. This chapter provides a detailed analysis of water scarcity, food security, and climatic challenges in MENA countries and provides a way forward in addressing these issues. In MENA countries, water shortage, food security, and environmental problems are intertwined. It is imperative to use water resources efficiently to ensure a sustainable environment, efficient (allocative) use of water, and obtain distributive justice, contributing to social contract or integration. This argument also includes delivering water input reliably and affordably to ensure cordial relationships between service providers and water users and help promote the renewed social contract. The climate of MENA is arid and near arid. The drought cycle is shortened from three years to annual and often brings floods. Thus, water security, food security, and environmental issues are more than ever-changing targets; however, some are within reach of humankind. A series of suggested solutions to the MENA region’s water resource management and associated problems exist. Implementing these solutions needs clear incentives to bring about water management changes, including conservation, allocation, and address some of the riparian issues and water conflicts among the MENA countries, such as the Nile and other basins. The MENA countries warrant better engaging the civil society (e.g., High Aswan Dam in Egypt) and water users, teaming millions of youths to make the solution work. The debacle of doable policies addressing water challenges can severely affect nations’ well-being and fragile political stability. Thus, the strategic question is ‘now or never.’ The MENA countries should act with urgent attention in strengthening water security, food security, and a sustainable environment instead of waiting for doomsday for impending water crises leading to ‘Water Conflict,’ quoting the saying of late United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Ghali that the “3rd world war will be on waters.

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Footnotes
2
Source: http://​www.​fao.​org/​3/​i9166e/​i9166e_​Chapter2.​pdf, cited in OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2018–2027.
 
3
Foreign direct investment, net inflows (BoP, current US$) – Middle East & North Africa.
 
6
Data extracted from Population, total – Middle East and North Africa (excluding high income countries). Source: https://​data.​worldbank.​org/​indicator/​SP.​POP.​TOTL?​locations=​ZQ&​most_​recent_​value_​desc=​true.
 
7
To provide the better picture of the region, the data of the warn torn countries such as Yemen, Libya, and Syria have not been considered by the authors.
 
8
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
 
9
Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
 
10
1.2 billion Hectares (UN-FAO, 2014).
 
11
Refers to internal river flows and groundwater from rainfall in the country.
 
12
These three deserts are: (a) Rub’al Khali desert in the Southern Arabia. (b) Sahara Desert in the Africa that includes major part of the Egypt and Libya, and (c) Baidat El-Sham in the Northern Arabia.
 
13
Annual freshwater withdrawal, industry (% of total freshwater withdrawal). Source: World Bank, 2021.
 
14
Ibid.
 
15
Sustainable manufacturing practices aim to reduce the environmental impact of producing goods and services, while also ensuring social and economic benefits.
 
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Metadata
Title
Water and Food Security in the Middle Eastern and Northern African Countries
Authors
Waqar Akram
Zakir Hussain
Sultan Adeel
Copyright Year
2024
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-50962-9_3