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Climate Change Impacts on Forest and Rangeland Ecosystems in MENA
Large parts of MENA are covered with drylands – such a harsh environment limits water resources to support its fragile ecosystems. In 2013, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification Secretariat identified the far reaching impacts and downward spiral of desertification, deforestation and their impacts on food, security and extreme poverty. Turn Down the Heat III described the multifaceted role of climate change on desertification; whereby increased temperature and evapotranspiration and reduced precipitation can affect desertification and desertification process can in turn affect the climate. Turn Down the Heat notes, however, that there is a need for a MENA regional study that looks into the dynamics of climate change, social influences and desertification. The proposed activity will address this need.
This activity will involve developing policy notes that will (i) inform senior decision-makers of MENA countries, project coordinators, and the media about the interlinkages between climate change and deforestation, the expected magnitude of climate change impact on dry eco-systems, and (ii) provide policy advice on how to best manage forest cover in an arid environment in the MENA region. This information will be shared at a regional conference and at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting in Marrakesh, Morocco, in November 2016 (COP-22).
The main tasks of this activity are:
(1) Comprehensive desk review and identification of potential knowledge gaps: (a) Review existing knowledge on impacts of climate change on forest and rangeland ecosystems in MENA region; (b) Assessment of the vulnerably and resilience of forest and rangeland users’ livelihoods to climate change; and (c) Identification of potential knowledge gaps.
(2) Development of country and/or regional policy notes and briefs on the existing knowledge findings.
(3) Organization of two dissemination events: (i) a regional conference by June 2016; and (ii) a side event during the COP22 (which will take place in Marrakech, Morocco, from 7-18 November 2016). National and international policy-makers, government bodies, research institutions, development practitioners, and representatives of community groups will be invited to the two events.
Comprehensive desk reviews assessed existing knowledge on impacts of climate change on desert ecosystems, the vulnerability and resilience of natural resource users to climate change, and identification of potential knowledge gaps. Policy notes and briefs based on these reviews informed senior decision-makers about the inter linkages between climate change and deforestation, the expected magnitude of the climate change impact on dryland ecosystems, and how to best manage forest cover in an arid environment. Notably, two dissemination events took place:
(i) A regional conference was held at the end of June 2016 in Marrakesh: National and international policy-makers, government bodies, research institutions, development practitioners, and representatives of community groups attended this event, which was accredited as a preparatory conference for the COP22.
(ii) A side event was organized during the COP22 conference (November 2016): The policy notes and the main finding of the analytical work were presented and discussed with representatives from several countries and institutions. The disseminated Policy notes not only served to improve the awareness of policy-makers about the impact of climate change, but also helped involve and sensitize different national stakeholders in the debates.
These activities have improved the knowledge of the linkages existing between ecosystems and livelihoods in desert areas and the systems of knowledge sharing on issues related to desert ecosystem and livelihoods. This work is informing the World Bank Tunisia Oases Ecosystems and Livelihoods project as well as the Tunisia Ecotourism and Conservation of Desert Biodiversity project. This activity contributed to the Sahara and Sahel Observatory (OSS) in desertification, biodiversity, and climate change issues. In October 2017, OSS became accredited as a regional implementing agency of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), which will enable OSS to mobilize financing from climate funds. The activity informed the MENA-Desert Ecosystems and Livelihoods Program (MENA-DELP) regional project, which aims to strengthen cooperation among selected national organizations in areas of sustainable management of desert ecosystems.
Last Updated : 03-06-2018