Climate change impacts are being felt in many sectors in the Arab region. The Arab region, which is already water scarce, is expected to witness increased water stress, which has implications for the vulnerability of socio-economic and environmental sectors. To assess the impact of climate change on water resources and conduct a vulnerability assessment on its implications for various sectors, a conceptual framework and plan of action for project implementation needs to be developed. Three inter-related components are required to develop this framework namely: climate modeling, hydrological modeling and the assessment of socio-economic and environmental impacts and vulnerability.
The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) is jointly organizing with the League of Arab States (LAS) a regional Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on the "Development of a Vulnerability Assessment for the Arab Region to Assess Climate Change Impacts on the Water Resources Sector.”
The meeting is an outcome of a collaborative effort between the United Nations, the League of Arab States and their respective specialized organizations and a follow-up to the expert meeting “Towards Assessing the Vulnerability of Water Resources to Climate Change in the Arab Region” (October 2009), that resulted in a project framework for the preparation of an assessment of the impact of climate change on water resources and socio-economic vulnerability in the Arab Region.
The EGM is expected to gather Arab member states as well as regional and international experts and organizations concerned with climate change and water resources. The purpose is to update the state of knowledge in this area and conduct a series of interactive discussions at the plenary and working group levels to build consensus on the way forward for implementing the regional initiative. This includes identifying appropriate approaches for reviewing baseline information, conducting climate change impact analysis, and preparing the vulnerability assessment. The meeting will also discuss the preferred mediums through which assessment findings, priorities and hotspots can be conveyed to regional stakeholders.