Climate Change and adaptation solutions for green sectors in the NENA Region

Crop yield changes under different climate scenarios

14/02/2019 - 

The Near East and North Africa (NENA) region has the lowest per-capita fresh water resource availability among all regions of the world and in the coming decades, it faces a severe intensification of water scarcity as well as more frequent, intense and long droughts.

The agriculture sector will be particularly affected, as wheat yields, olive tree yields, and numbers of livestock are projected to decline under all climate change scenarios. Given that agriculture consumes 85 percent of fresh water, the agricultural industry will need to enhance its water efficiency and productivity. At the government level, policy reform could be effectively oriented to encourage the adoption of farm practices that increase adaptation to climate change and enhance resilience.

To address these issues, FAO implemented the ‘Climate Change and Adaptation Solutions for the Green Sectors of Selected Zones in the NENA Region’ project with special focus on Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon. The project used state-of-the art climate change projections, and AquaCrop, FAO’s model for crop yield response to water and climate change, to assess changes in yield of key crops in selected NENA countries under various climate scenarios. The aim was to provide evidence for a regional dialogue and strategic thinking about adaptation responses necessary for coping with the challenges of climate change, water scarcity and food security.

In 2017 the project resulted in a contribution to the Arab Climate Change Assessment Report, within the framework of the Regional Initiative for the Assessment of Climate Change Impacts on Water Resources and Socio-Economic Vulnerability in the Arab Region (RICCAR). RICCAR is implemented through a collaborative partnership involving FAO and 10 other implementing partner organizations. Additionally a regionally focused and forward looking technical report Climate Change and Adaptation Solutions for the Green Sectors in the Arab Region—currently under preparation—will be issued under this project.

While farmers are the direct beneficiaries of the project, scientists and research institutions also benefit from the ability to design their research strategies and programmes taking into consideration impacts of climate change.

Evidence from the project can also be used by policymakers in the agriculture and water sectors to better plan and manage limited land and water resources available. While the project itself was focused on a selection of crops and countries, the methodology is easily scalable. The project nurtured strong cooperation and coordination with other international and regional organizations, such as the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and the Arab Center for the Studies of Arid Zones and Dry Lands (ACSAD), creating a positive impact on the quality of the reports produced, and also on FAO relations with its partners in the region.

Resource partner: Germany (GIZ)

SDG: 13

Regional Initiative: RIE1: Near East and North Africa’s Water Scarcity Initiative

Photo: Livestock searching for water in the drought-affected Al-Mafraq in Jordan ©FAO/Maria Losacco