ABOUT THIS BOOK
The Middle East and North Africa region is well-known for its abundant natural resources and important geostrategic position. This position is often overshadowed by continued sectarian violence and trans-boundary conflicts that threaten the stability of the entire region with serious global implications. This preoccupation with conflict has come at the expense of addressing the region’s other challenges.
Although the region’s fragile environmental state has increasingly preoccupied policymakers in individual countries, there is currently insufficient attention paid to coordinating collaborative action to recognise and address problems relating to its environmental sustainability and climatic change. In the absence of a positive agenda for tackling these issues, recurrent environmental setbacks and rapid depletion of the region’s natural resources continue to pose a major threat to the long-term economic, political, and social stability of the region.
Despite the urgency of these challenges, there is little research dedicated to studying MENA’s environmental sustainability. Environmental Challenges in the MENA Region: The Long Road from Conflict to Cooperation draws from the proceedings of a seminal international conference on the subject at SOAS in October 2016, which was held as a celebration of the SOAS Centenary. This led to a collective contribution by experts and policy-makers concerned with the state of the MENA region’s environmental predicament with the aim of addressing these problems in a constructive and forward-looking approach.
The chapters in this book are predicated upon two critical premises. First, expertise and awareness from a wide range of disciplines is required to understand and address environmental challenges. And, second, to have a real chance of success, MENA countries need to confront these problems as their common threats and to see them as an opportunity for regional cooperation and policy coordination. This book provides the results of an interdisciplinary effort to address the various dimensions of the region’s environmental challenges from across the region and disciplines.