Climate change is one of the pressing global challenges that urge countries to effectively to reduce its causes. Although the Arab region is the least contributing to the global GHG emissions (less than 5%), the recent scientific studies and research proved that the region well be the most vulnerable to climate change impacts which are expected to be extensive and costly. The climate change impacts on the Arab region have already been felt in many sectors especially in the past years in region. There has been an increase in weather variability and a rise of temperature that caused heat waves and hotter summers. Extreme meteorological events, cycles of droughts and floods, severe flash floods shifts in seasons and variability of river flows and recharge rates of groundwater aquifers have been also witnessed. In addition, the Arab region which is already water scarce, is expected to have less precipitation rates that will exacerbate the water shortage problems and will have severe implications on socio-economic and environmental sectors, including agriculture, industry, coastal areas, low lands and deltas, tourism, biodiversity, public health, etc.

In order to support the member states to face these challenges, ESCWA is mandated to cooperate with its partners in the region mainly through the Council of Arab Ministers Responsible for the Environment (CAMRE), in partnership with League of Arab States and the United National Environment Programme/Regional Office for West Asia (UNEP/ROWA) and other regional organizations. Under this partnership, the draft Arab Framework Action Plan on Climate Change (AFAPCC) which was solidly founded in the Arab Ministerial Declaration of December 2007 has been prepared and being discussed with all stakeholders. The AFAPCC highlights key issues and challenges facing the Arab region with regard to coping with climate change, and elaborates priority programmes and joint actions at the regional level for both adaptation and mitigation in various sectors as well as cross-cutting themes.

In order to strengthen cooperation on climate change issues, the UN Regional Coordination Mechanism (RCM) established the Thematic Working Group on Climate Change (TWG-CC) in 2008. The RCM is led by ESCWA and is guided by the United Nations Chief Executives Board (CEB), while the TWG-CC is chaired by UNEP/ROWA. The main objective of the Thematic Working Group is to enhance collaboration among United Nations agencies on programme planning and implementation related to climate change as well as assist Arab countries in addressing their technical and capacity-building needs with more focus on regional activities. In its second meeting held in November 2010, the TWG-CC reflected the commitments of concerned UN organizations working in the Arab region on climate change issues. One focus area of this joint implementation programme is adaptation to climate change and conducting regional training programmes on methodologies for vulnerability assessment. The working group is currently conducting a mapping exercise of the Agencies activities on climate change in the region to explore potential partnerships in implementation of priority areas, in particular, adaptation to climate change. In addition, a platform for information exchange is being established by the working group to share knowledge and information related to climate change activities in the region. Also, joint activities are planned for 2011 in relation to holding a Regional Coordination Meeting of the Regional Climate Centers to coordinate development of climate databases and regional climate models (RCM) among climate experts in the region as well as conducting training on climate change mitigation potential.

Climate Change

Arab Framework Action Plan on Climate Change

Arab Ministerial Declaration on Climate Change

Regional and Global Cooperation on Climate Change and Potential Opportunities

Potential Impacts of Climate Change on Water Resources and Adaptation Measures in the ESCWA Region.

Status of the Vulnerability Assessment of the Arab Water Sector to Climate Change

ESCWA Resolution

Copyright 2011 ESCWA