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World Bank Middle East North Africa Region, IFPRI

Implications of the Changes in Agro-food and Fuel Prices on Rural Livelihoods and Forests in Syria

More than 60 percent of Syria’s poor people live in rural areas and more than half of these depend on agriculture for their livelihood. The country’s forests, which include 23 natural protected areas rich in biodiversity, also represent a significant source of livelihoods for rural populations.  But these protected areas are feeling the strains of overuse and degradation from human activity such as overgrazing, overexploitation of wood, and expansion of agriculture.

In this context of natural resource dependence, it is conceivable that the post-2006 increase in the prices of agro-food products has had a significant direct impact (through their influence on farming costs and revenues) and indirect impact (by affecting other potential sources of revenues such as tourism, and sales of handicrafts to tourists) on rural livelihoods.

But as yet, the impact of increased agro-food and fuel prices on farmers and on forest use is not clear. To the extent that a change in agricultural activities compete with forests, pressure on forests may have risen (eg. increased overgrazing).

In order to guide the World Bank and development partners' support to Syria’s natural resource management, PROFOR supported a knowledge activity examining the implications of recent changes in international and local agro-food and fuel prices on farmers’ welfare (and rural livelihoods more broadly) and on their use of forests. In response to requests form the Government of Syria, the analysis also addressed critical challenges facing the development of the rural sector in a changing climate.

This activity was closed in December 2011. 

  • Robert Wilby of Loughborough University has produced a report with climate risk information by down-scaling historical climate data and projected climate scenarios for Syria at a detailed spatial scale for year 2030, 2050 and 2100.
  • IFPRI was hired to produce an economy-wide impact assessment of climate change on the rural sector by integrating biophysical data in a general equilibrium model. A seminar was held with the State Planning Commission and NAPC on the economic modeling part of the CC analysis in September, 2010.  The discussion paper "Global and Local Economic Impacts of Climate Change in Syria and Options for Adaptation" is available here.
  • A World Bank Policy Note on Climate Change in Syria was submitted in October, 2010 to the State Planning Commission as input for the next 5-year plan.
  • However, since February 2011, the political crisis in Syria has prevented World Bank staff and consultants from traveling to Syria. Therefore the qualitative field work, training and consultations planned under this activity were not undertaken. 

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Author : World Bank Middle East North Africa Region, IFPRI
Last Updated : 02-24-2017