The Influence of Climate Change on Water Resources and Security

UTLPowell09The CLICO Project brought together researcher from 14 institutions, who have conducted research on the social dimensions of climate change in relation to water, conflict and security in the Mediterranean region, Middle East and Sahel.

The lead institute was the Institute for Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA) of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) and financed by the Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities (SSH) Theme of the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme.

At a meeting earlier this week in Nicosia (Cyprus), scientists showed evidence that the effect of climate change on water resources in the Mediterranean and the surrounding regions could become much stronger in the next decades. The most affected people would be these living in vulnerable to drought and floods areas.

The results from the CLICO Project indicate that at this stage political, economic and social factors play a vital role. Countries that lack civil security systems and weak welfare are likely to experience climate disasters, as well as conflicts related to scarce water resources.

The researchers involved in the project also established recommendations for adaptation policies and outlined necessary agreements that should be done by institutions in order to promote peace and human security.

Poverty, lack of access to education, as well as corruption on governmental level are among the problems that precede disaster events. If governments encourage development, policies related to education and distribution of wealth are stimulated, the violence over water could be prevented.

One of the key conclusions of the project is that climate change is not directly linked to social conflicts and insecurity. In the northern regions of the Mediterranean for example, the economic crisis weakened the social protection and support systems after natural disasters.

The scientists involved in the project urge for improving human security, strengthen institutional collaboration and integrate climate change adaptation policies into existing structures.

In addition, the researchers reviewed existing policies and concluded that although good policies do exist, they are simply not implemented. The knowledge that people affected by water phenomena is ignored, making existing policies inadequate.

It is recommended that society is encouraged to participate actively in the development of social and economic policies so that all groups can participate in the process.

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