WB Steps Up Climate Funding in Arab World
Marakech, 15/11/2016 (MAP) – The World Bank Group announced today a new plan to ramp up support for countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to confront the multiple threats of climate change.
Over the next four years, the MENA Climate Action Plan aims to nearly double the portion of Bank financing dedicated to climate action, taking it to around US$1.5 billion per year by 2020, the Washington-based institution said in a statement.
Speaking at a press conference at the COP 22 global climate summit in Marrakech, World Bank MENA Vice President Hafez Ghanem said the plan would focus on the four priorities of food and water security, sustainable cities adapted to new climate conditions, the transition to low-carbon energy, and the protection of the poorest who are most exposed to the impacts of climate change.
“Climate change will make a difficult situation much worse, and will affect millions of people in the Middle East and North Africa region” Ghanem said, adding that “this is especially true of the impact on scarce water resources, already the lowest in the world, which will become even scarcer, threatening critical industries such as agriculture, on which millions in poorer, rural areas depend for their livelihoods”.
Nearly two-thirds of agriculture in the MENA region relies solely on rainfall, which makes it especially vulnerable to changes in temperature and precipitation. As global temperatures rise, they will rise even faster in MENA, causing more frequent and severe droughts.
The 2015 drought in Morocco destroyed over half the wheat harvest and led to a 1.5 percent drop in the country’s Gross Domestic Output.
About one quarter of the region’s workforce is employed in agriculture, in Morocco it is as high as 40 percent, but as climate change impacts the sector’s ability to support livelihoods, more people will move to cities looking for work.