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Food Security Challenges in the Arab States/MENA Region in the Context of Climate Change:
                          The Role of the Regional Directors Team




                                       Prepared by:




                                   Marcus Marktanner
                               American University of Beirut
                                Department of Economics,




                                        Siba K. Das
                          Abacus International Management L.L.C.




                                        Asif Niazi
                                   United Nations WFP




                                       March 2011




                                                                                            2
  List of Abbreviations
ACSAD                The Arab Center for the Studies of Arid Zones and Dry Lands
AHDR                 Arab Human Development Report
AOAD                 Arab Organization for Agricultural Development
AWR                  Arab Water Report
CAADP                Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme
CAWTAR               Center of Arab Women for Training and Research
CFA                  Comprehensive Framework of Action
CFS                  Committee on Food Security Reform
CGIAR                Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research
CRED                 Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters
DSG                  Deputy Secretary General
EAP                  East Asia and the Pacific
ECA                  Economic Commission for Africa
ECE                  Eastern and Central Europe
ECOSOC               Economic and Social Council
ESCWA                Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia
FAO                  Food and Agriculture Organization
FDI                  Foreign Direct Investment
FMNR                 Farmer-based Natural Regeneration
GAFSP                Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme
GECAFS               Global Environmental Change and Food Systems
GIVAS                Global Impact and Vulnerability Alert System
HDN                  Human Development
HLCP                 High-level Committee on Programmes
HLTF                 High-level Task Force
IASC                 Inter Agency Steering Committee
ICARDA               International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas
IDB                  Inter-American Development Bank
IDP                  Internally Displaced Persons
IFAD                 International Fund for Agricultural Development
IFPRI                The International Food Policy Research Institute
IIED                 International Institute for Environment and Development
ILO                  The International Labour Organization
IMF                  International Monetary Fund
IOM                  International Organization for Migration
IPCC                 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
ISFP                 Initiative on Soaring Food Prices
IWMI                 International Water Management Institute
L.L.C.               Limited Liability Company
LAS                  League of Arab States
LDC                  Least Developed Countries
MDG                  Millennium Development Goals
MENA                 Middle East and North Africa
NBI                  Nile Basin Initiative
NEPAD                The New Partnership for Africa's Development
ODA                  Official Development Assistance

                                                                                       3
PREM      Poverty Reduction and Economic Management
RCM       Regional Coordination Mechanism
RDT       Regional Directors' Team
SDN       Social Development
SIWI      Stockholm International Water Institute
SME       Small and Medium Enterprises
SRSG      Special Representative of the Secretary-General
SSA       Sub Saharan Africa
SWOP      State of the World‘s Population
TCPR      Triennial Comprehensive Reviews
UAE       United Arab Emirates
UNCT      United Nations Country Team
UNCTAD    United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
UNDAF     United Nations Development Assistance Framework
UNDG      The United Nation Development Group
UNDP      United Nations Development Programme
UNECA     United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
UNEG      United Nations Evaluation Group
UNEP      United Nations Environment Programme
UNFPA     United Nations Population Fund
UNHCR     United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
UNICEF    United Nations Children's Fund
UNIDO     United Nations Industrial and Development Organization
UNIFEM    United Nations Development Fund for Women
          United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from
UN-REDD   Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries
UNRWA     United Nations Relief and Works Agency
USG       Under-Secretary-General
WFP       World Food Programme
WGP-AS    Water Governance Programme for Arab States
WHO       World Health Organization
WB        World Bank
WTO       World Tourism Organization




                                                                              4
                                                                  Contents
1.     Introduction ..................................................................................................................................... 8
2.     The Triple F Crisis ........................................................................................................................ 10
     2.1      Climate Change Calls for the Revival of Agricultural Policy............................................... 10
     2.2      Arab Region Particularly Exposed to Climate Change ......................................................... 12
     2.3      Arab Region Particularly Exposed to Dollar Depreciation ................................................... 14
     2.4      More Periodic Adverse Supply Shocks Due to Climate Change .......................................... 16
3.     Challenges in the Arab States/MENA Region .............................................................................. 18
     3.1      What is the Climate Change-Food Security Nexus and Why is it Important? ...................... 19
     3.2      The Nexus of Climate Change and Food Security in Arab States/MENA Region ............... 20
     3.3      Water Scarcity ....................................................................................................................... 23
     3.4      Population Growth ................................................................................................................ 24
4.     Diagnosing the Nexus of Climate Change and Food Insecurity ................................................... 26
5.     A Proposed Strategic Framework for the R/UNDG ..................................................................... 28
     5.1      Over-arching Issues .............................................................................................................. 28
       5.1.1          Joint programming and cross-border and regional cooperation. ................................... 28
       5.1.2          Importance of appropriate overall economic and social policy .................................... 30
       5.1.3          Importance of South-South cooperation ....................................................................... 31
       5.1.4          Capacity development and knowledge promotion ........................................................ 33
       5.1.5          Importance of attention to existing policies .................................................................. 33
       5.1.6          Guidance from the UN Secretary-General .................................................................... 33
     5.2      Food Production and Related Water and Energy Issues ....................................................... 34
       5.2.1          Options for Agriculture ................................................................................................. 34
       5.2.2          Options for Water and Energy ...................................................................................... 39
     5.3      Strategic Importance of Access Issues .................................................................................. 42
       5.3.1          Options for Humanitarian Assistance ........................................................................... 44
       5.3.2          Moving from Disaster Response to Disaster Prevention .............................................. 47
       5.3.3     Options in Scaling Up Social Protection through Population Policy, Health Policy,
       Nutrition Policy, and Interventions Related to Economic Opportunity and Social Mobility ....... 49
     5.4      Migration and Conflict .......................................................................................................... 54
     5.5      International Trade and Macro-Economic Policy ................................................................. 56
       5.5.1          Options for International Trade..................................................................................... 56
       5.5.2          Macro-economic policy issues ...................................................................................... 57
6.     Concluding Remarks and Some Institutional Proposals ............................................................... 60
7.     References ..................................................................................................................................... 64




                                                                                                                                                              5
                                                          List of Figures

Figure 1: Food Prices 1980-2010 .......................................................................................................... 10
Figure 2: World Cereal Production and World Population (1961-2007) .............................................. 11
Figure 3: EU Agricultural Subsidies and Food Exports ....................................................................... 12
Figure 4: World Ethanol Production and Food Price Index .................................................................. 13
Figure 5: Food, Oil, Gas and Fertilizer Prices ...................................................................................... 14
Figure 6: Dollar/Euro Exchange Rate and Food Prices ........................................................................ 14
Figure 7: Wheat to Stock-to-use Ratio vs. World Wheat Price ............................................................ 15
Figure 8: Climate Change Related Disasters in the Arab Region ......................................................... 16
Figure 9: Population-weighted Renewable Freshwater Resources in MENA ...................................... 24
Figure 10: Population Development in the MENA Region (1950-2050) ............................................. 25


                                                            List of Tables

Table 1: Change in Average Temperature and Agricultural Output ..................................................... 22
Table 2: Water Resources Per Capita in Selected Arab Countries ....................................................... 23
Table 3: Population Growth in selected MENA Countries ................................................................... 25
Table 4: Climate Change Challenges and Adaptation Policies ............................................................. 27


                                                             List of Maps

Map 1- Annual drought severity 1901 - 2000 ....................................................................................... 64
Map 2 – Relative change in mean annual precipitation 2010-2040 ...................................................... 65




                                                                                                                                                6
   Executive Summary
The nexus of climate change and food security is humanity‘s quest for energy. This quest
hurts the MENA region in multiple ways. First, global warming reduces the region‘s
agricultural productivity. Secondly, global mitigation endeavors drive up food prices through
the substitution of fossil fuels by fuel crops that crowd out food and feed crops. Thirdly,
climate change related disasters will send price shockwaves more quickly through globalized
financial and commodity markets and increase the region‘s vulnerability to price fluctuations.
The so-called Triple F crisis consisting of the fuel, financial, and food crisis is a wake-up call
in this regard.

The region‘s combined climate change and food security challenges are aggravated by
structural problems like water scarcity, land aridity, fast population growth, and little
diversified production profiles. However, despite the multitude of challenges, climate change
is also an opportunity for regional deepening. While the specific diagnosis of climate change
and food security is best conducted on the national level, the optimum solution may well be
regional. As the very nature of climate change adaptation is a regional public good that pays
dividends in the areas of peace and stability, regional cooperation must be enhanced.

This report explores policy options for advocacy and programming in four areas that are of
high relevance to the R/UNDG. First, agriculture needs to be given again greater attention
because it is the sector where the need for adaptation is the strongest. Smallholders, women
farmers, research and development, improved access to finance and insurance services,
regional market development, and new opportunities towards the efficient management of
scarce water resources are important areas for action.

Secondly, governments and international organizations will have to expand their
humanitarian programs. Strategies to channel major investments in public health management
and social security need to be formulated. Population, health, and nutrition policy will have to
assume greater roles in the future. Adequate funding strategies need to be kept in mind.
Another crucial component of sustainable adaptation is the successful transition from disaster
response to prevention in the context of closing the divide between humanitarian action and
development.

Thirdly, migration management and conflict prevention are identified as areas that require
particular regional attention. Food insecurity and the deterioration of livelihoods as a result of
climate change will increase social mobility of the poor and challenge social peace and
political stability. Policy dialogue and regional cooperation with the objective of preventing
such adverse socioeconomic and political dynamics should be encouraged.

Fourthly, the globalization of financial and commodity markets has made global market
dynamics a regional concern for the MENA region. Climate change related disasters are
always a threat to the region, either because of the disruption of trade channels or price
shocks. Responding to these threats requires the development of greater export flexibility, for
which aid-for-trade opportunities may be developed.

The report concludes that in order to master the challenges stemming from the nexus between
climate change and food security, the very nature of the problem calls for joint programming

                                                                                                     7
and greater upstream policy work and, most of all, greater support for regional cooperation.
In initiating and coordinating such initiatives, the UN system has unique comparative
advantages.

1. Introduction

The Arab States/Middle East and North Africa region is confronted by both climate change
and food insecurity. Accordingly, the Regional United Nations Development Group
(R/UNDG) for the region has identified the nexus between climate change and food security
as a strategic priority for its work. The R/UNDG convened an inter-agency technical meeting
in Cairo, Egypt from 18-19 October 2010 to discuss the food security-climate change nexus
on the basis of an earlier draft of this report. A Guidance Note for UNCTs in preparing
CCAs/UNDAFs was thereafter written, taking into account the meeting‘s conclusions and
recommendations.

Following consideration of the Guidance Note by the R/UNDG, its chair forwarded the note
to Resident Coordinators in the region on 21 March 2011. In requesting RCs to bring the note
to the attention of Country Teams, the chair drew attention to the following considerations:
   ―The R/UNDG Guidance Note provides an overview of the complex issues which lie at the nexus of
   climate change and food security and presents practical approaches for considering policy options, for
   advocacy and for programming. The range of issues includes the inter-relationships between food
   production and water and energy issues, access, migration, conflict, and international trade and macro-
   economic policy.
   As the Note points out, often national policies to address critical issues along the nexus of climate
   change and food security already exist; however, they are not implemented due to a variety of factors,
   including insufficient capacities, institutional bottlenecks, lack of resources, etc. The note also
   includes two sections on ongoing gaps and the comparative advantages of the UN system, which can
   be helpful to analysis. It recognizes that there is no "one-size-fits-all" solution that can be
   recommended to UNCTs, as best response strategies will differ from country to country and need to be
   carefully developed in cooperation with local, regional and international stakeholders. What can be
   recommended though is that a process be initiated that facilitates the development of best practices
   within the region. This guidance note is written to provide a framework and stimulus for this process.‖

The present paper brings to a conclusion the analytical work commissioned by the R/UNDG.
It is aimed at supplementing and reinforcing the Guidance Note for UNCTs. While it
summarizes ideas set out in the Note, its main purpose is to provide a conceptual framework
for initiatives and interventions that the R/UNDG might now consider for action at its level,
in terms of both support to UNCTs and direct action at the regional level. The latter includes
ideas that the R/UNDG might like to propose for action at the global level.

A major submission of this paper is that whilst ―the achievement of country level results‖
must remain the number one purpose, the nature of the issues discussed in this paper are such
that country-level results cannot be guaranteed by policy and programmatic actions that do
not transcend that plane. Indeed, this paper argues that, given the regional and global
implications of the issues, action at the country level needs to be reinforced, informed and
supplemented by regional, inter-regional and global strategies. Furthermore, at all levels, it is
joint and strategic upstream programming that will need to receive the sustained attention of
concerned stakeholders.

The paper makes extensive use of relevant regional and global literature, including reports
sponsored by organizations of the UN system, the World Bank and the League of Arab
States. Reference has been made above to the inter-agency technical meeting held in Cairo in
                                                                                                             8
October 2010. Bilateral consultations with a number of programmes and agencies represented
on the R/UNDG and with the League of Arab States and the World Bank contributed
significantly to the preparatory process.1 Most useful also was an exchange of views with a
member of the Coordination Team of the Secretary-General‘s High-level Task Force on the
Global Food Security Crisis. The terms of reference for the paper drew attention to work
undertaken by four UN Country Teams. The views of all four were sought and substantial
consultations with two of them indeed occurred. A discussion with a fifth UNCT took place
in the form of an exchange of views with an Acting Deputy SRSG.

This paper is organized as follows. Section two reviews the Triple F crisis as a wake-up call
for the emerging nexus of climate change and food insecurity. It illustrates how intertwined
the relationship between seemingly unrelated developments has become and how this
provides a rationale for the rethinking of international development cooperation in the region.
Section three provides an overview of challenges in the Arab States/MENA region stemming
from the climate change-food insecurity nexus. Some of the region‘s unique challenges
relative to other developing regions are highlighted. Section four then sets out a proposed
strategic framework for the R/UNDG. Following a discussion of key over-arching issues,
proposals are developed with respect to four focus areas: food production and related water
and energy issues; issues of access; migration and conflict; and international trade and macro-
economic policy. The report concludes by drawing attention to critical programming gaps
and by making two institutional proposals.




1
    These consultations entailed discussion with a large number of staff members.
                                                                                                  9
2. The Triple F Crisis

 A Wake-Up Call for the Emerging Nexus of Climate Change & Food
Insecurity
The Triple F (fuel, finance, and food) crisis is a wake-up call for the nexus of climate change
and food insecurity. Climate change is the result of humanity‘s quest for energy. In the Arab
world, climate change has direct adverse effects on the productivity of agriculture and
therefore food security. Climate change related disasters have the potential to quickly send
economic shockwaves through globalized financial markets around the world. Mitigating
climate change through the reduction of fossil energy resources has led to the substitution of
food by fuel crops, which also exercises pressure on food prices. Climate change is a global
threat that will affect different regions differently.

2.1 Climate Change Calls for the Revival of Agricultural Policy

According to the World Bank (2007, p. 7), public spending as a share of agricultural GDP is
very low. In agriculture-based economies, each dollar of agricultural output carries on
average only four cents of public spending. In transforming and urbanized economies, this
value is around twelve cents. In urbanized countries, the public expenditure share of
agricultural GDP has moreover dropped by some five percentage points since 1980. Between
1980 and 2001, food prices fell by 35 percent (IMF Primary Commodity Prices, online) and
deceived the world with an end to high food prices. In 2008, food prices were 50% higher
than in 1980 and 100% higher than in 2000. A classical prisoner‘s dilemma emerged:
Everyone was hoping that food prices keep on falling while no one invested in keeping them
low. With agricultural production coming increasingly under threat from climate change,
more public resources need to be made available for agricultural policy.

   Figure 1: Food Prices 1980-2010

                                                                                    Food Price Index January 1980-February 2011


                               250




                               200
           Food Price Index




                               150
                                                                                                                                                                               Food Price Index
                                                                                                                                                                               Trend 1980-2000
                                                                                                                                                                               Trend 01/2001-02/2011
                               100




                                   50




                                   0
                                   0


                                             2


                                                      4


                                                               6


                                                                        8


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                                                                                                                                  Ja


                                                                                                                                           Ja


                                                                                                                                                    Ja


                                                                                                                                                             Ja


                                                                                                                                                                      Ja




                                                                                                        Month




       Source: IMF Commodity Price Statistics..


                                                                                                                                                                                                       10
Mittal (2009) of the Oakland Institute, an independent policy think-tank in Oakland,
California, has comprehensively analyzed the reasons for agricultural policy neglect in
developing countries. Pointing out that the decline in investment in agricultural productivity
was particularly severe in sub-Saharan Africa, she says that the ―trend started in the 1980s
and 1990s when the World Bank‘s Structural Adjustment Loans promoted reforms in the
agricultural and financial sectors. These reforms aimed at reducing the role of the public
sector in agricultural marketing, removing agricultural input and food subsidies, withdrawing
specialized credit facilities for agriculture, and downsizing agricultural sector agencies –
which included eliminating national grain reserves in many instances and closing down
marketing boards – as conditions for receiving new loans or restructuring existing debt.‖ The
ensuing decline in public investment in agriculture, including government funding of
agricultural science, was accompanied by ODA policies, including multilateral funding, that
also neglected agriculture (Mittal 2009, pages 20-25.)

According to the 2009 World Bank Development Indicator Database, world population and
cereal production between 1961 and 2007 has increased by 115 and 215 percent, respectively.
Food production, however, was particularly strong in high-income countries. Whereas in
high-income countries the food production index grew at an annual average rate of 1.4
percent between 1960 and 2005, the population grew at an annual average of only 0.8
percent. In low-income countries, on the other hand, although production grew on average at
2.3 percent, population growth was 2.4 percent. The fact that high-income countries have
produced consistently more food than what they consume is a serious explanatory factor
behind the declining food price trend of the 1980s.

    Figure 2: World Cereal Production and World Population (1961-2007)

                                    World Population and Cereal Production (1990=100)


           160


           140


           120


           100


            80                                                                          Population
                                                                                        Production
            60


            40


            20


             0




Source: Calculated from World Bank Development Indicators data.

Developed countries need to assume responsibility in another respect. In 2005, subsidies to
agricultural sectors in the EU-25 and the USA amounted to roughly EUR 50 billion and $20
billion, respectively (European Commission, 2007 and Environmental Working Group,
online). In the past, these subsidies accounted for many distortions on global markets. They
                                                                                                     11
led to overproduction in industrialized countries, which was sold on world markets and thus
reduced world market prices. Figure 3 shows the parallel movement between EU agricultural
subsidies and food exports. Although low food prices have helped many developing countries
keeping the bill of consumers‘ food expenditures and governments‘ food subsidy systems
low, it also undermined the incentives to invest in agricultural modernization. As a
consequence, the dependency on food imports and the vulnerability to food price shocks
increased (Peters, 2006).

                 Figure 3: EU Agricultural Subsidies and Food Exports
                                EU Agricultural Subsidies and Food Exports (in USD billions)


            400.00

            350.00

            300.00

            250.00
  Billions USD




                                                                                               Food Export (USD billions)
            200.00
                                                                                               Support (USD billions)
            150.00

            100.00

                 50.00

                  0.00


                                                    Year


                     Source: OECD and 2009 WDI.

This vulnerability is confirmed by a recent World Bank/FAO/IFAD study. It points out that
―Arab countries are very vulnerable to fluctuations in international commodity markets
because they are heavily dependent on imported food. Arab countries are the largest
importers of cereal in the world […] Most import at least 50 percent of the food calories they
consume.‖ (World Bank/FAO/IFAD, 2009.)

Moreover, a League of Arab States/UNDP study on food security and agriculture concludes
that many of the underlying factors behind high and volatile prices are likely to persist. ―This
has important implications for the short- and medium-term fiscal and trade outlooks for Arab
countries, which in turn has major implications on their poverty and MDG outlook. In other
words, food security is still a serious long-term challenge for the Arab region‖ (LAS/UNDP,
2009b).

2.2 Arab Region Particularly Exposed to Climate Change Mitigation

Induced Substitution of Fuel for Food Crops

The Arab region as a food importer is negatively affected by the promotion of biofuel
production subsidies, which Steenblik (2007, p. 6 and 37) estimates at around $10 billion for
the EU-25 and USA together in 2006. In addition to questionable environmental, economic,
and ecological benefits, the obvious drawback of biofuel production is the direct crowding
out of food production. Although most studies find that biofuel has contributed to the
increase of global food prices, the exact magnitude of this impact is disputed. Figures range
between 15% and 75% (Madrigal, 2008).

                                                                                                                            12
As questionable as the promotion of biofuel is, high food prices may nevertheless pave the
way for the liberalization of international agricultural markets to the advantage of many
developing countries, at least in the long term. As more arable land will be dedicated to the
production of fuel crops and food prices thus remain high, political resistance to the
liberalization of global agricultural markets should diminish. Access to international
agricultural markets will give many developing countries the opportunity to modernize their
primary sectors and boost economic development, although MENA countries, with the
possible exception of Iraq and Sudan, are unlikely to be among them, at least not at first sight.
At a closer look, however, they may well be, because many countries in the Gulf, but also in
East Asia, are exploring opportunities to buy or lease land in cash-scarce but land-abundant
developing countries. Cotula et al (2009) have argued that it is still too early to judge whether
this is simply a land grab or a development opportunity. It is definitely a trend that must be
closely monitored, in the interest of promoting an international consensus that would ensure a
balanced approach being taken consistent with the development interests of the host
countries.

                 Figure 4: World Ethanol Production and Food Price Index

                            World Ethanol Production (2007=100) and Food Price Index (2005=100)
   140




   120




   100




          80
   Index Value




                                                                                                  World
          60
                                                                                                  World (est.)

                                                                                                  Food Price Index


          40




          20




                 0

                     1980      1985          1990           1995        2000         2005

                                                     Year



Source: OECD and IMF Commodity Price Statistics (dashed line authors‘ estimate)

The promotion of biofuel is a result of the anticipation of the finiteness of fuel resources. Fuel
prices have increased steadily since 2002 and experienced two rallies since 2008 (compare
Figure 1). The overall increase in fuel prices can be explained in the long run by an increase
in demand from emerging economies, uncertainties regarding the true level of fuel reserves,
and bottlenecks in refinery capacities. In the short run, dollar depreciation and speculation
may also be influencing factors.

The fuel crisis has direct impacts on agricultural productivity. It increases food and
transportation costs. Since fuel and gas prices are tied together and gas is a major input factor
in the production of fertilizers, higher fuel prices increase fertilizer and hence production
costs. Higher production costs reduce agricultural supply, which adds to the upward pressure
on prices.


                                                                                                                     13
          Figure 5: Food, Oil, Gas and Fertilizer Prices
  600




  500




  400



                                                                                                                                                                                          Food
                                                                                                                                                                                          Oil
  300
                                                                                                                                                                                          Gas
                                                                                                                                                                                          Fertilizer



  200




  100




      0
      9



                      0



                                      1



                                                      2



                                                                      3



                                                                                      4



                                                                                                      5



                                                                                                                      6



                                                                                                                                      7



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     9



                      0



                                      0



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                                                                                                                                                                                      1
           l-9



                           l-0



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  n-



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                                                                                                                                                                                 Ja
Source: IMF Commodity Price Statistics.

The fuel crisis is only partially a crisis for MENA countries, though. In the absence of
geopolitical and national constraints, oil rich countries of the region could benefit
substantially from greater oil revenues. Channelling these into greater resiliency building
against food insecurity, however, requires a public investment strategy that empowers
economically vulnerable segments of society. The priority of social policy in this regard is to
create sustainable economic opportunities, followed by improvement of targeted social safety
nets.

2.3 Arab Region Particularly Exposed to Dollar Depreciation

& Speculation from Global Climate Change Induced Disasters

Because food commodities are internationally priced in dollars, the risk of dollar depreciation
is ―priced in‖ on international commodity markets. Between January 2006 and December
2007, the US dollar lost 20 percent of its value against the Euro (Federal Reserve St. Louis,
online). During the same period food prices increased by 44 percent (IMF Commodity Prices,
online) which is at least partially due to the weakening of the dollar and exchange rate
uncertainty.




          Figure 6: Dollar/Euro Exchange Rate and Food Prices


                                                                                                                                                                                                       14
                          250.0




                          200.0
  Index (Jan. 2000=100)




                          150.0


                                                                                                                                                                  Food
                                                                                                                                                                  USDtoEUR

                          100.0




                           50.0




                            0.0
                               9



                                                 0



                                                                  1



                                                                                 2



                                                                                                03



                                                                                                04



                                                                                                05



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                                       9



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                                                                                                  5



                                                                                                  6



                                                                                                  7



                                                                                                  8



                                                                                                  9
                              9



                                                0



                                                                 0



                                                                                 0
                                   l-9



                                                       l-0



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                                                                                      l-0



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                                                                                              l-0
                           n-



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                                                                                             n-



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                                                                                             n-



                                                                                             n-
                                  Ju



                                                    Ju



                                                                     Ju



                                                                                     Ju



                                                                                           Ju



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                                                                                           Ju



                                                                                           Ju
                          Ja



                                         Ja



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                                                                                            Ja



                                                                                          Ja



                                                                                          Ja



                                                                                          Ja



                                                                                          Ja



                                                                                          Ja



                                                                                          Ja



                                                                                          Ja
                                                                                                            Period




Source: IMF Commodity Price Statistics and US Federal Reserve.

Speculative opportunities are another aspect of financial market liberalization, which have
negative impacts on developing countries. Climate change related disasters, including wild
fires and floods, could trigger speculative behaviour. As stock-to-use ratios fall, speculators
anticipate an increase in demand and rising prices, rush into commodities, and trigger a self-
fulfilling prophecy. Between 2000 and 2006, global stock-to-use ratios for wheat, for
example, decreased by 37 percent (OECD-FAO, online) while global food prices increased
by 38 percent (IMF Commodity Prices, online).

                          Figure 7: Wheat to Stock-to-use Ratio vs. World Wheat Price

                                                                                             Wheat Stock-to-Use Ratio vs. World Wheat Price (2006=100)

                                                 180


                                                 160


                                                 140


                                                 120


                                                 100
                                         Index




                                                                                                                                                                Stock-to-Use Ratio
                                                                                                                                                                World Price
                                                 80


                                                 60


                                                 40


                                                 20


                                                    0
                                                    2003                  2004                   2005     2006          2007      2008       2009        2010
                                                                                                                 Year




                                   Source: OECD World Agricultural Outlook.




                                                                                                                                                                                     15
2.4 More Periodic Adverse Supply Shocks Due to Climate Change

The Belgium based Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED, online)
maintains an International Disaster Database, which collects data on the number and social
costs of disasters around the world. CRED distinguishes several categories of disasters. The
ones that are closely related to climate change are storms, droughts, floods, extreme
temperatures, and wild fires2 When looking at the combined incidences of storms, droughts,
extreme temperatures, floods and wildfires and considering them as climate change driven
disasters, such disasters have increased from 27 in the 1960s to 118 between 2001 and 2008
in the Middle East and North Africa. For the world as a whole, the number of climate change
driven disasters increased during the same time from 441 to 3,226. Although inferior
communication technologies and political vanity not to call for international assistance or to
declare a state of emergency may bias earlier records downwards, there is little doubt that
climate change driven disasters have drastically increased. As droughts and floods become
more likely, food prices will become more volatile. Any insurance against this volatility,
either by holding more stocks or increasing investments in mitigation and adaptation, will
ultimately increase the economic cost of food.

    Figure 8: Climate Change Related Disasters in the Arab Region

                         Number of Total Affected and Estimated Total Cost of Climat Change Related Disasters
                                                             (1990=100)

                   900

                   800

                   700

                   600

                   500
            Year




                                                                                                              Total Affected
                   400                                                                                        Total Cost

                   300

                   200

                   100

                    0



                                                          Index



         Source: CRED, Included: Drought, Extreme Temperatures, Floods, Insect Infestations, Storms, Wildfires.

Of course, the impact of climate change on food security needs to be evaluated most
carefully. Although climate change‘s economic and social impact will clearly be a hugely
important force in the Arab States/MENA region, its impact on food security needs to be
carefully assessed. While some climate change models predict that agricultural production in
the region could, by 2080, shrink as much as 25 percent on account of climate change, one

2
  CRED will record an event as a disaster if there were ten or more fatalities, at least hundred people affected
(for example, through the loss of the livelihood base or forced migration), a state of emergency is declared, or a
call for international assistance issued.

                                                                                                                               16
must not forget that the value added of agriculture to GDP is relatively small in the first
place. The effect in absolute (economic) terms on macro-level food security is thus likely to
be small.

As against this, one must keep in mind that while subsistence farming may be a minor
contributor to GDP, it is a lifeline for the poorest of the poor in the region. Successive
droughts brought on by climate change could wipe out a bedrock foundation for the
household food security of this important population group – an outcome unacceptable from
the point of view of the MDGs (Map 1).




                                                                                                17
3. Challenges in the Arab States/MENA Region

Stemming from the Nexus of Climate Change and Food Insecurity
The Declaration of the November 2009 World Summit on Food Security defined the concept
of food security as follows:

   ―Food security exists when all peoples, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to
   sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and
   healthy life.‖

Food security is analyzed in terms of availability, access, utilization and stability. However,
most climate change discourses on food security concentrate on availability, i.e., the
production aspect, with little emphasis on access, utilization and stability. The Arab
States/MENA region, scarce in fertile agricultural lands and water, harbours large wealth
disparities amongst its inhabitants – a factor underlining the huge significance of access as a
critical public policy issue. Problems stemming from poor drinking water and sanitation as
well as poor food storage and preparation practices are also responsible for poor utilization.
Food subsidies and safety nets are key elements in maintaining political and social stability
and threats to food security have a direct bearing on governance. Water scarcity is a major
source of tension and international agreements on its distribution are essential to reduce
potential of future conflict. Purchase of agricultural land by foreign governments could
improve food security, provided proper guidelines safeguarding rights of vulnerable peoples
are adopted.

Food Security may be contrasted to the concept of food sovereignty. In April 2008 the
International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development
(IAASTD), an intergovernmental panel under the sponsorship of the UN and the World
Bank, adopted the following definition: ―Food sovereignty is defined as the right of peoples
and sovereign states to democratically determine their own agricultural and food policies.‖
Sudan is an example of high food sovereignty among the Arab states, yet it has extremely
low food security. In contrast, Saudi Arabia has high food security (on account of the high
purchasing power of its citizens) but low food sovereignty.

The food crisis is said to have driven at least a 100 million additional people into food
insecurity worldwide between 2007 and 2010. In fact, the number of food insecure people has
been steadily rising since the mid 1990s and topped a billion in 2009. The 1996 World Food
Summit target of reducing the number of food insecure people to 420 million by 2015 is now
out of reach (FAO, online).

Because countries in the Arab States/MENA region are net importers of food, the global food
price crisis poses a particular threat to them. Fiscal prudence and social stability are already at
risk. In Yemen, for example, national poverty may have already increased by six percentage
points, thus jeopardizing all poverty reduction accomplishments between 1998 and 2005. The
crisis will hit the urban poor, rural landless, and small and marginal farmers the most (World
Bank, online).




                                                                                                             18
3.1 What is the Climate Change-Food Security Nexus and Why is it Important?

The nexus of climate change and food security has received a lot of attention within the UN.
The 2008 FAO framework document ―Climate Change and Food Security‖ is the first
comprehensive assessment of this interrelationship. The FAO 2008 report applies a global
perspective and provides valuable stimuli for regional assessments.

The nexus of climate change and food security is complex. The 2008 FAO report identifies
more than 100 links between climate change and food insecurity. Specifically, FAO examines
the climate change impacts of CO2 fertilization, increase in global mean temperature,
precipitation changes, and more extreme weather events on food system assets, food system
activities, food security outcomes, and well-being (FAO 2008, p. 14-19). The following is a
selection of links between climate change and food security:

With regard to availability, climate change:
      Adversely affects rural livelihood bases through a decline in water availability, soil erosion,
       desertification and salination (particularly for coastal agricultural lands), droughts, floods, and
       wildfires
      Increases pest and disease problems (locusts, yellow rust and the like.)
      Likely reduces agricultural output
      Likely exacerbates the existing inequalities among marginalized populations
      Affects livestock health and productivity
      Negatively affects fish supply
      Decreases drinking water availability and quality (especially in countries like Yemen, Jordan
       and Libya).
With regard to access, climate change:
      Could reduce access to food of people whose livelihoods depend on agriculture, livestock,
       forestry, and fishery (especially smallholder, subsistence rain-fed farmers, pastoralists)
      Could lead to livelihood losses in urban populations (extreme weather conditions, coastal
       erosion and flooding) and, as a result, could reduce food access of vulnerable urban
       populations
      Could reduce access to drinking water
      Leads to an upward trend of food prices and increases their volatility
      Creates poverty in rural communities
      Could spur internal and external conflict that disrupts access to markets.
With regard to utilization, climate change:
      Undermines the availability and efficient utilization of food through factors like heat stress,
       disease, malnutrition and the deterioration of sanitary conditions
      Increases competition for scarce public health services
      Increases likelihood of diseases due to epidemics from food and waterborne diseases such as
       cholera, malaria, dysentery, etc.
With regard to stability/continuity climate change:
      Disrupts continuous availability through trade restrictions in response to climate change-
       induced catastrophes
      Leads to the collapse of social safety nets if the creation of fiscal space does not keep up with
       rising social assistance needs.

The nexus of climate change and food security is a major threat to the realization of the
Millennium Development Goals. MDG1, the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, is at
stake as people‘s livelihoods erode. As a result of food, financial and fuel crises, child and
maternal malnutrition is likely to be adversely impacted; consequently, more children will
attend school hungry or drop out completely, jeopardizing MDG2, the achievement of
universal primary education. In rural communities, the burden of climate change is likely to
fall disproportionately on women. Male heads of households are more likely to become
labour migrants, leaving behind more women farmers with more household responsibilities
                                                                                                             19
and greater exposure to health hazards. This will put MDG3, gender equality and women‘s
empowerment, at risk. The health status-related MDGs, namely, four to six - reducing child
mortality, improving maternal health, and combating HIV and AIDS, TB and malaria -- are
directly challenged by factors such as reduced access to safe water, heat stress, malnutrition,
overburdened women, and the emergence of new diseases. The Arab States/MENA region is
already water stressed and the quest for more energy, safe water and arable land, which is
potentially accompanied by the emergence of conflict, will make attainment of MDG7
(environmental protection), more difficult. Although the nexus between climate change and
food security poses threats to MDG achievement, MDG8 - developing a global partnership
for development - offers opportunities in the areas of trade, finance, technology transfer and
regional cooperation that can prove conducive to climate change adaptation and beyond.

Although the nexus of climate change and food security is a threat, it is also an opportunity.
Climate change is an accelerator of already existing structural problems in the region. Such
structural deficits are water scarcity, inadequate regional economic integration, fast
population growth, and limited economic diversification. Although the Arab world has a
common heritage in terms of language, culture and traditions, it has never been confronted
with a common economic threat comparable to the nexus of climate change and food
security; and thus there is an opportunity for Arab countries to join forces in united action.

3.2 The Nexus of Climate Change and Food Security in Arab States/MENA Region

How does climate change affect food security, what adaptation measures are viable and how
these measures affect the socio-economic conditions, are questions relevant to governments
and international agencies concerned with food security. To answer such questions, the global
change research community established the Global Environmental Change and Food Systems
(GECAFS) project in 2001. A major conclusion reached through this global research is that
technical fixes alone will not solve the food security challenge. Adapting to the additional
threats to food security arising from major environmental changes requires an integrated food
system approach, not just a focus on agricultural practices (ESP 2009).

In the Arab States/MENA region, climate change manifests in a) higher temperatures, b)
lower precipitation, c) sea level rise, and d) increase in frequency and intensity of extreme
weather events such as drought and floods3. Average surface temperatures in North Africa
have increased 1-2 degrees Celsius between 1970 and 2004 (IPCC 2007). The region is
particularly exposed to water shortages. In North Africa, with a 3 degrees Celsius rise in
temperature, an additional 155 to 600 million people may suffer an increase in water stress
while maize yields could fall by between 15 and 25 percent (FAO March 2008). Climate
change impacts at two levels: the emergencies created by increased events of drought and
floods and the slow but gradual onset of change in mean temperatures and precipitation
resulting in lower annual yields further stressing the already stretched coping mechanisms of
subsistence farmers and pastoralists (Map 2). In addition to encroachment onto fertile lands,
rising sea levels will reduce agricultural productivity in delta areas due to increase in water
salinity. The Nile delta, an area responsible for 60% of agricultural production in Egypt, is
highly vulnerable to future sea level rise (IPCC 2007). Further intensification and expansion
efforts by Egypt will be challenged by other factors identified by FAO as limiting the
prospects for increasing agricultural productivity (WFP 2008). Data from the World
Meteorological Organization indicate that 80% of disasters in the MENA are climate related
(IASC 2009).


3
 See FAO Technical Background Document on Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction, June 2008 and
Institute of Development Studies paper on Climate Change, Food Security and Disaster Risk Management.
                                                                                                        20
While short and long term implications of climate change are being addressed by disaster risk
reduction and climate change adaptation strategies respectively, there is ample discourse on
the need for greater integration of these two approaches. Long-term climate change, due to its
predictability, offers a rare opportunity to embed development more effectively into
emergency preparedness and disaster risk reduction programming.

Climate change has also impacted conflict and mass movement in the region. Environmental
degradation and the consequent movement of populations in search of water and pastureland
have contributed to the Darfur crisis, which is being labeled by some as the first water war of
the 21st century. Although this may be an oversimplification of a complex situation, water
scarcity is undeniably impacting livelihoods to a great extent. In less than a century, multiple
stresses exacerbated by environmental factors have turned the camel-herding Bedouins of
Jordan into settled state clients many of whom live at the brink of poverty (GECAFS 2008).
The last four years of drought in eastern Syria have resulted in population movement from
rural to peri-urban areas severing traditional sources of livelihoods, raising dependencies and
stressing government support mechanisms. Such interrelated movements and conflicts have
increased the vulnerability of food insecure people across the region.

Adaptation strategies are required at the regional, national and local levels. However,
regional strategies are significant since a) climate induced changes are often experienced at
the regional level, b) some adaptation strategies would be most effective if managed at the
regional level, and c) some issues such as water resource depletion manifest at this spatial
level and their solutions would require supranational considerations (ESP 2009). Support for
IPCC recommendations on food security and climate change linkages and inclusion of food
security targets in National Adaptation Programmes of Action are suitable policy options
(FAO June 2008). In terms of research, the Aleppo based International Centre for
Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA) has amassed a significant mass of knowledge
on agricultural productivity, water conservation and livestock herding specific to the Arab
States/MENA Region. As argued later in this paper, international agencies could play a key
role in harnessing this research through policy advice to governments and through projects
and programmes across the Region.

Climate change is one of the major threats to agricultural productivity in the MENA region.
According to Cline (2007), the MENA region could experience a reduction of agricultural
output by 25% in 2080. Table 1 summarizes Clines‘ preferred estimation results regarding
changes in average temperature and agricultural output for selected countries in the Middle
East and North Africa.




                                                                                                   21
       Table 1: Change in Average Temperature and Agricultural Output
                                    Change in Average Temperature                                Change in
                                Present             Future            Change                    Output 2080

Country                        1961-90             2070-99                                w/o CF               w CF
Algeria                          22.67              27.81               5.14                –36.0              –26.4
Iran                             17.26              22.63               5.37                –28.9              –18.2
Iraq                             20.86              26.16                5.3                –41.1              –32.2
Saudi Arabia                     24.57               29.3               4.73                –21.9              –10.2
Syria                            17.48              22.19               4.71                –27.0              –16.0
Yemen                            23.77              27.72               3.95                –28.2               –17
Morocco                          17.43              21.91               4.48                –39.0              –29.9
Source:     Cline (2007, from Table 4.2, p. 38 ff. and Table 5.8, pp. 67 ff.). Note: ―w/o CF‖ and ―w CF‖ stand for without
            and with carbon fertilization.

An immediate and natural response to rising food insecurity is to strengthen agricultural
productive capacity through investments in greater efficiency. In doing so, however, the
natural limitations of the region cannot be ignored. In economic terms, the MENA region
barely has a comparative cost advantage in agricultural production. Keeping in mind the
region‘s constraints, the previously cited World Bank/FAO/IFAD-sponsored study on food
security in Arab countries endorses the argument made in the Bank‘s World Development
Report for 2008 that ―the top agricultural priority for the majority of Arab countries is to
diversify production out of staples and into high-value crops (like fruits and vegetables) for
export‖ (World Bank/FAO/IFAD, 2009, 36). The same study also says that while ―the trade-
offs between high-value crops and cereals vary by country […] the underlying message is the
same: the opportunity cost of moving towards cereal self-sufficiency increases exponentially
as demand increases.‖ (Ibid, 37)

A different view has been promoted by the previously cited regional food security study
undertaken by the League of Arab States and UNDP. According to this paper, ―food security
is first and foremost a political economy challenge with strong national security implications‖
(LAS/UNDP, 2009b, 30). It advises Arab countries, therefore, ―to secure the production of at
least a minimum of their cereal consumption from within the region.‖ It also says that today
―faced with new prices (relative to other traditional cash crops), farmers have a major
incentive to shift to cereal production‖ (Ibid, 53). That said, the study suggests that ―local
farmers will only rapidly expand cereal production if they get the maximum possible benefit
from increased international prices through reducing the gap between farm gate and market
prices and facilitating access to improved technology and inputs in order to close the
productivity gap with other countries operating under similar constraints.‖

A position similar to that of the LAS/UNDP study has been taken by UNCTAD, albeit not
with specific reference to the region, but rather on a global basis. It recently stated, ―[o]ne of
the lessons of the recent global food crisis is that no country, however small and open, can
afford to neglect domestic food production, and that all countries must ensure at least some
domestic supplies if they are to avoid getting caught in a vortex of price volatility that can
dramatically affect national food security‖ (UNCTAD 2009).

In principle, reasonable trade-offs between the two views should be possible on a country-by-
country basis. Moreover, even the World Bank/FAO/IFAD report accepts the reality of
continuing cereal production and acknowledges that in some areas in the region – e.g., the

                                                                                                                             22
Nile Basin of Egypt – cereal cultivation could remain both viable and sustainable.
Additionally, the whole issue would be seen in an entirely different light by taking a regional
approach to the region‘s food security in the context of climate change – an important issue
taken up later in this paper with reference to the Riyadh Declaration to Enhance Arab
Cooperation to Face World Food Crisis adopted by Arab League Member States in 2008 as
well as decisions taken by the Arab Economic & Social Development Summit held in Kuwait
in January 2009.

3.3 Water Scarcity

Not only does climate change adversely affect agriculture and food security in the Arab
States/MENA region; so does water scarcity. The Middle East and North Africa is the most
water scarce region in the world. And as agriculture is the major consumer of water, water
scarcity adds to the comparative disadvantage that agriculture faces in the MENA region.
Table 2 and Figure 8 illustrate the severity of the region‘s water scarcity.

Water scarcity vulnerability is considered to begin at levels below 2,500 m3 of renewable
freshwater resources per capita. Levels between 1000 and 1700 m3 are considered water
stress. Countries with freshwater resources between 500 and 1000 m3 are considered water
scarce. Countries with renewable fresh water resources of less than 500 m 3 are considered
absolutely water scarce.
       Table 2: Water Resources Per Capita in Selected Arab Countries
m3/inhab/yr     1960    1965    1970    1975    1980    1985    1990    1995    2000    2005    2010        Level

Algeria         1004    894.8   770.5   659.1   559.8   480.9   424     385.1   358.1   332.3   327.3     Absolute

Bahrain         23.53   19.8    16.88   13.29   10.7    9.009   7.59    6.59    5.882   5.263   5.155     Absolute

Egypt           61.49   54.27   48.45   43.49   38.5    33.63   29.85   27.14   24.69   22.48   22.08     Absolute

Iraq            4452    3817    3227    2750    2368    2089    1842    1572    1347    1194    1170        Stress

Jordan          708.9   525     384.9   334.1   283.9   236.1   186.1   149.4   133.6   114.8   111.1     Absolute

Kuwait           0       0       0       0       0       0       0       0       0       0       0        Absolute

Lebanon         2389    2099    1866    1730    1700    1656    1519    1324    1231    1153    1144        Stress

Libya           413.5   341.1   276.5   223.7   177.5   146.9   131.9   119.3   107.7   97.26   95.33     Absolute

Morocco         2363    2057    1801    1597    1405    1242    1128    1046    983.2   928.8   917.5      Scarce

Oman            2357    2062    1741    1382    1060    845.9   707.4   615.7   563.6   513.6   502.7      Scarce

oPT             705.5   700.6   717.3   607.3   510.7   422.3   348.6   287.8   239.7   202.1   195.8     Absolute

Qatar           1057    666.7   414.8   294.7   202.2   136.6   113.4   101.6   81.75   49.21   43.72     Absolute

Saudi Arabia    553.6   467.7   383.3   297.1   221.7   167.7   140     125     109.5   97.24   95.23     Absolute
Syria           1452    1237    1047    884.1   737.2   615.9   528.9   465.1   409     347.8   336       Absolute

Tunisia         958.6   870     787.5   704.1   616.8   545.4   491.9   457.9   435.9   416.6   412.5     Absolute

Turkey          7639    6756    5950    5255    4708    4265    3908    3584    3319    3109    3071    Not vulnerable

UAE             1376    920.2   473.2   208.9   127.1   94.82   72.43   54.92   41.77   34.37   33.44     Absolute

Yemen           385.6   348     316.6   278.6   232.4   192.4   155     126.2   108.9   94.3    91.64     Absolute

Average         2512    2199    1913    1670    1474    1318    1193    1080    989     918     905        Scarce

Source: FAO Aquastat




                                                                                                                         23
             Figure 9: Population-weighted Renewable Freshwater Resources in MENA

                           Renewable Freshwater Resource Per Capita in Cubic Meters in the MENA Region
                                                   (2008 Population weighted)

                 3000


                 2500


                 2000
  Cubic Meters




                 1500                                                                                    Wa…


                 1000


                 500


                   0
                    1960   1965    1970    1975    1980    1985    1990   1995    2000    2005    2010
                                                           Year


Source: FAO Aquastat and Word Bank Development Indicator Database

The Arab Human Development Report 2009 presents compelling evidence that the region‘s
burgeoning water scarcity problem presents a serious threat to the region‘s human security.
The region has five per cent of the world‘s population and only one per cent of its fresh water
resources. By 2025, the per capita share of renewable water resources in the region will be
lower than the world-agreed extreme water poverty levels (UNDP 2009, 37-39).

The same report also points out that only 43 per cent of the Arab region‘s total available
surface water resources originates within the Arab countries. The region‘s major international
rivers include the Tigris and the Euphrates, both shared by Iraq, Syria and Turkey; the
Orontes (or Assi), shared by Lebanon, Syria and Turkey; the Jordan (including the Yarmouk),
shared by Jordan, Occupied Palestinian Territory, Israel and Syria; and the Nile, with nine
riparian countries of which only Sudan and Egypt are Arab countries. ―Years of effort have
yielded the establishment of formal agreements (such as the Nile Basin Initiative) on the
management of shared water resources. However, most are partial, ineffective and inequitable
in terms of the full spectrum of riparian rights. At the regional and interregional levels,
cooperation on water usage and management is heavily affected by prevailing political
tensions and ongoing conflicts. Tensions have emerged on sharing resources as the needs of
the riparian countries are increasing‖ (Ibid. 37).

3.4 Population Growth

Climate change and the deterioration of rural livelihoods will aggravate the problem of a
congestion trap in the region. Due to geopolitical and geo-economic constraints, but also
homemade policy shortcomings, the Arab States/MENA region is chronically undersupplied
with new job opportunities. High fertility rates undermine individual savings and thus lower
individual investment capacities. In rural households, this comes at the expense of capital
expenditures to improve agricultural output (fertilizers, machinery, quality seeds, and
veterinary services) and the amount of available food per household member. Table 3 shows

                                                                                                               24
that except for Lebanon, Morocco, and Tunisia, regional countries have higher population
growth rates than the (population weighted) world average.

       Table 3: Population Growth in selected MENA Countries
                                            61-65   66-70   71-75   76-80   81-85   86-90   91-95   96-2k   01-05
Country
                                             2.5     2.2     2.1     2.2     2.4     2.3     1.9     1.9     1.8
Egypt
                                             5.8     5.8     3.7     3.7     3.9     3.6     5.6     2.7     2.4
Jordan
                                             2.9     2.2     2.3     0.3     0.8     0.6     3.2     1.6     1.2
Lebanon
                                             2.4     2.6     2.7     2.5     2.3     2.1     1.8     1.5     1.1
Morocco
                                             3.1     3.3     3.4     3.5     3.7     3.2     2.8     2.4     2.7
Syrian Arab Republic
                                             1.9     2       1.8     2.6     2.6     2.3     1.9     1.3     1
Tunisia
                                             n/a     n/a     n/a     n/a     n/a     n/a     3.9     4.3     4
West Bank and Gaza
                                             2.1     1.9     2.1     3.3     3.8     3.9     4.6     3.2     3
Yemen
                                             2.7     2.8     3.1     3.3     3.7     2.9     1.6     1.6     1.5
Iran
                                             3.2     3.3     3.4     3.3     2.9     2.6     3.1     3       ..
Iraq
                                             1.8     2.1     2       1.8     1.7     1.7     1.5     1.4     1.2
Population Weighted World Average
Source: 2008 World Bank Development Indicator Database

The general inverse relationship between rising incomes and falling population growth rates
is not so much the result of a positive income development per se rather than the
empowerment of women that accompanies it. Rising incomes are often triggered by an
expansion of manufacturing jobs that provide employment opportunities for women. As
women take advantage of these opportunities and their economic standing and political voice
in the household increase, the opportunity costs of raising children increase as well. It is
mostly this transmission mechanism from rising incomes to lower population growth rates
that matters. The Arab world, however, still suffers from a ―gender gap in various areas,
including education, employment, property ownership, public office, decision-making posts,
and leadership positions,‖ as the 2004 Arab Human Development Report (UNDP, 2005, p.
93) laments.

Fast population growth in many areas of the Arab States/MENA region will pose severe
challenges for job creation, public services (education, health, and subsidy systems), rural-
urban migration, and food security. The labor force in the ESCWA region, for example, will
grow from roughly 148.4 million in 2010 to 245.7 million in 2050, which ideally should be
matched by the creation of 97.3 million jobs (United Nations Department of Economic and
Social Affairs, Population Division). Failing to do so will surely contribute to political
instability that will be channeled through a growing number of food insecure citizens,
poverty, reduced per capita tax bases, and a deterioration of public services. Major national
and region-wide economic reforms that free up considerable economic opportunities and job
creation are therefore indispensable. Means to do so are trade liberalization, privatization
programs, and an increase in public investment in social mobility. Public policy has a critical
role to play in providing disenfranchised citizens and vulnerable groups with access to
market-oriented economic opportunities. This calls for the promotion of inclusive growth and
broad-based human development, which must include universal access to reproductive health
in conjunction with improved girls‘ education and gender equality.

       Figure 10: Population Development in the MENA Region (1950-2050)
                                                                                                                    25
                                                                               Population Development MENA (1950-2050)
                               800




                               700




                               600
       Population (Millions)




                               500


                                                                                                                                                                                        65+

                               400                                                                                                                                                      15-64

                                                                                                                                                                                        0-14


                               300




                               200




                               100




                                 0

                                     1950   1955   1960   1965   1970   1975   1980   1985   1990   1995   2000   2005   2010   2015   2020   2025   2030   2035   2040   2045   2050
                                                                                                           Year
                                                                                                                                                                                                Source:
   United Nations Population Division


3.5 Diagnosing the Nexus of Climate Change and Food Insecurity

The exact nexus between climate change and food security is highly country-specific.
Countries differ in terms of exposure, vulnerability and adaptation capacity. In order to
diagnose the nexus between climate change and food insecurity, information is needed on
several general questions, whose specific answers will then define the ingredients for the
development of adaptation programs. These questions are:


    Under a changing climate,

                              What are the macro-vulnerabilities with regards to aspects such livelihood
                               deterioration, conflict, public health and nutrition, and trade?
                              Who are the most vulnerable - farming communities, the poor, women or children?
                              What are the coping strategies of the most vulnerable – migration, selling-off assets,
                               self-deprivation, child labor?
                              How big is the governmental adaptation support capacity to the vulnerable groups?


Table 4 provides a more detailed list of specific questions that may be asked. FAO has
identified various areas of possible adaptive response measures. These are basically:
Governmental interventions, agricultural practices, food market developments, and household
response strategies. The table below illustrates how the four climate change challenges
―Responding to Macroeconomic Vulnerabilities‖, ―Targeting Vulnerable groups,‖
―Preventing Adverse Coping Strategies,‖ and ―Strengthening Governmental Adaptation
Capacity‖ could be linked to adaptation options. A more detailed discussion of policy options
follows in the next section.



                                                                                                                                                                                                          26
                 Table 4: Climate Change Challenges and Adaptation Policies
                                                                            Adaptation Opportunities
                           Climate Change       Government Policies         Agricultural       Food Market             Household
                             Challenges                                      Practices         Developments            Response
                                                Improve regional
   Managing Macro


                                                integration, water         Invest in seeds,
    Vulnerabilities

                          Livelihood                                                          Explore
                                                governance reforms         fertilizer,
                          deterioration,                                                      opportunities for     Reproductive
                                                (national and              smallholder
                          conflict, public                                                    bio-energy, solar     health measures,
                                                international), research   farming, women
                          health risks, trade                                                 energy water          life-style changes
                                                and development, land      farmers, water
                          shocks                                                              pumps,
                                                and financial market       management
                                                reforms
                                                Develop monitoring-
                                                and early warning
   Targeting Vulnerable




                                                systems, assess funding
                          Rural                                            Invest in
                                                situation of
                          communities,                                     smallholder        Aggregation of
                                                humanitarian agencies,                                              Improved
          Groups




                                                                           farming, women     output strategies
                          children, migrants,   establish comprehensive                                             nutrition and
                                                                           farmers, crop      to improve small
                          refugees              food insecurity                                                     food security
                                                                           insurance,         farmers‘ access to
                                                vulnerability                                                       practices
                                                                           prevent child      markets
                                                assessments, promote
                                                                           labor
                                                national reproductive
                                                health and nutrition
                                                plans, aid for trade
   Preventing Adverse




                                                                                              Improve market
    Coping Strategies




                                                Explore linkages                                                    Acquiring of new
                                                                           Create             efficiency through
                          Migration, selling-   between country social                                              skills like food
                                                                           cooperatives of    reduction of
                          off assets, self-     protection efforts and                                              conservation
                                                                           mutual             market power of,
                          deprivation, child    the UN system‘s Social                                              skills and
                                                                           assistance         for example,
                          labor                 Protection Floor                                                    household
                                                                           (credit unions)    middlemen and
                                                Initiative                                                          budgeting.
                                                                                              traders.
Adaptation Capacity




                                                                           Promote            Promote food          Responses that
  Governmental
  Strengthening




                          Is data available?    Move from disaster risk    agricultural       retail trade unions   reduce the social
                          Crisis response       response to prevention,    trade unions and   and provide           safety net burden
                          plans available?      assess capacity needs of   provide industry   industry              of the state like
                          Crisis response       national humanitarian      information        information           education, family
                          plans funded?         agencies                   relevant to        relevant to public    planning, life-
                                                                           public policy      policy                style changes




 In formulating response policies to the nexus of climate change, regional cooperation will be
 essential. Climate change affects the region as a whole. While the region as a whole can do
 very little in terms of mitigation, there is a lot to be done in terms of adaptation. And while
 country A will have to prioritize completely different adaptation policies than country B,
 successful adaptation in country A and country B will have positive spill over effects on each
 other in terms of, for example, less migration and conflict. Yet although the very political
 nature of climate change adaptation provides many opportunities for regional cooperation, the
 very nature of climate change also poses a procrastination risk. Because climate change
 adaptation is such a long-term process, it may not receive the high policy priority it deserves.




                                                                                                                                         27
4. A Proposed Strategic Framework for the R/UNDG

The strategic framework proposed for the R/UNDG‘s consideration is discussed below in two
parts. The first sets out key over-arching issues. There then follow presentations of specific
ideas with reference to four focus areas: food production and related water and energy issues;
issues of access; migration and conflict; and international trade and macro-economic policy.

4.1 Over-arching Issues

4.1.1 Joint programming and cross-border and regional cooperation.

The preceding analysis in this paper points to a conclusion that may be summed up as
follows. The Triple F crisis and the climate change challenge, including the nexus between
food security and climate change, have shown that as problems become socio-economically
and ecologically more complex, so must be the strategies mounted in response. The
Declaration of the November 2009 World Summit on Food Security, it will be recalled,
defined the concept of food security as follows:

―Food security exists when all peoples, at all times, have physical, social and economic
access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences
for an active and healthy life.‖

The Declaration also affirmed that food security has four pillars and that these are
availability, access, utilization and stability. ―The nutritional dimension is integral to the
concept of food security‖, the Declaration says. Seen in light of the wide-ranging sweep of
this definition, the Arab States/MENA region‘s food security and climate change problem
clearly emerges as an enormously complex development challenge.

Individual or parallel planning on a sectoral basis cannot do justice to such a challenge and
will place governments of the region at a severe disadvantage if it persists. Traditional
business-as-usual approaches are likely to duplicate efforts, increase organizational costs, and
leave synergies unexploited. Systemic challenges call for the coordinated deployment of
different fields of expertise, and development interventions must be appropriately
comprehensive and multifaceted. The Regional UN Development Group and UNCTs in the
region will need increasingly to adopt not only joint assessments to support common thinking
and shared analysis but also joint programming entailing the involvement of all appropriate
agencies. The 2010-11 UNDAF rollout represents a strategically important opportunity for a
reframing of the debate in the region. It should vigorously embrace and enable the much-
needed joint programming.

The changing face of international development challenges, as evidenced by climate change
and the Triple F crisis, not only favors joint programming over individual programming; it
also calls for a stronger emphasis on cross-border interventions and regional cooperation. As
social, economic, and ecological forces begin to interact negatively, the regional space they
occupy necessarily increases. Changes in climate, water scarcity and rapid population growth
are themes prevalent across the region and require regional coordination and, where
appropriate, regional and cross-border solutions. Even in areas where national policies and
programmes must continue to prevail – such as the population sector – it would be important

                                                                                                   28
to increase inter-country cooperation, such that policy convergence and peer learning are both
promoted.

Consultations attending the preparation of the present paper produced information indicating
that, during 2010, the UNCT in Sudan was to have initiated contact with the country teams of
the nine countries neighboring Sudan with a view to developing an agenda for cross-border
cooperation. The Sudan UNCT‘s initiative was most timely and it should perhaps serve as a
model for possible replication in other countries of the region. The encouragement of cross-
border cooperation is so important it needs to engage the R/UNDG‘s sustained attention.

To be sure, in actions at the country, regional, inter-regional and global levels, players must
be foremost national actors, whether operating nationally, bilaterally or multilaterally, with
international organizations playing a supportive role. The support function stems, in the first
instance, from the need for UN Development Group (UNDG) organizations to be guided by
provisions of United Nations General Assembly resolutions emanating from its triennial
comprehensive reviews of the UN system‘s operational activities for development (TCPRs),
which recognize that national governments have the primary responsibility for their
countries‘ development and attach great importance to national ownership of development
programmes. Alignment with the TCPRs will promote congruence with another landmark
United Nations instrument providing fundamental guidance to the UN development system,
namely, the Monterrey Consensus on Financing for Development, adopted by an
international conference convened by the United Nations in Monterrey, Mexico in March
2002. This document also affirmed that ―each country has primary responsibility for its own
economic and social development, and the role of national policies and development
strategies cannot be overemphasized.‖4

One other feature of the Monterrey Consensus must also be mentioned. Affirming that
―domestic economies are now interwoven with the global economic system … (and) national
development efforts need to be supported by an enabling international economic
environment‖, it said, ―We encourage and support development frameworks initiated at the
regional level, such as the New Partnership for Africa‘s Development and similar efforts in
other regions.‖ Given the supreme importance of the food security-climate change nexus in
the Arab States/MENA region, a regional partnership addressing this issue should surely be
seen as being required. A broad inter-governmental framework for such cooperation exists in
the form of the Riyadh Declaration to Enhance Arab Cooperation to Face World Food Crises,
which was adopted in April 2008 and which received support, together with other similar
regional initiatives, including the NEPAD-sponsored Comprehensive African Agriculture
Development Programme, from the Declaration of the World Summit on Food Security (16-
18 November 2009). Of equal importance is the Arab Ministerial Declaration on Climate
Change, adopted by the Council of Arab Ministers Responsible for the Environment in
December 2007.
4
  Compliance with TCPR resolutions and the Monterrey Consensus will also promote implementation of the Paris Principles
on Aid Effectiveness, adopted in 2005 and reaffirmed in 2008 through the Accra Declaration under the umbrella of the
OECD/Development Assistance Committee. The Paris Declaration looked at the responsibility of developed and developing
countries for delivering and managing aid in terms of five principles, including ownership and alignment. Ownership means
that partner countries exercise effective leadership over their development policies and strategies as well as co-ordination of
development actions, whilst alignment calls upon donors to base their overall support on partner countries' national
development strategies, institutions and procedures.



                                                                                                                                  29
At the Eighth Annual UN Development Group Global Regional Directors Meeting held in
Oslo, Norway from 5-6 Match 2008, participants agreed on the importance of ―collaboration
and complementarity with Regional Commissions and other regional entities in regional/sub-
regional programme initiatives‖ and agreed also that this matter should be further considered.
Many recommendations submitted by this paper will enable the R/UNDG to act effectively
and appropriately on the Oslo agreement, especially by promoting a region-wide approach to
the food security-climate change nexus in the framework of the two inter-governmental
declarations referenced in the previous paragraph. This will also call for R/UNDG-RCM
collaboration on strategically important issues, and the paper makes suggestions in this
regard.

4.1.2   Importance of appropriate overall economic and social policy

A few cross-thematic substantive concerns are of also overarching importance for the
R/UNDG. The first of these may be articulated in the following way. An important national
responsibility lies in the creation of fiscal capacity to finance greater vertical social mobility
and more broad-based economic opportunities. Nations with high inequality, empirical
evidence shows, struggle more with undernourishment and low agricultural productivity than
countries with low inequality. Inequality undermines access to economic opportunities and
promotes greater poverty. Addressing income inequality via social mobility-promoting public
investment in infrastructure, education and healthcare will help lift countries out of
inequality-induced food insecurity. Evidence moreover shows that the transmission
mechanism leading from inequality to undernourishment passes through lower agricultural
productivity. Unclear land holding property rights and inequality of land ownership serve as
constraints to efficient smallholder farming, undermining food security from the supply side.
For all these reasons, development policy needs to be founded on an understanding of the
causes of inequality and to embrace strategies for vertical mobility.

 ―Given the current uncertainty about location-specific effects of climate change, good
development policies and programs are also the best climate-change adaptation investments.
A pro-growth, pro-poor development agenda that supports agricultural sustainability also
contributes to food security and climate change adaptation in the developing world‖ (IFPRI,
2009, page viii.). This is an important insight from the well-respected International Food
Policy Research Institute. UNFPA has a similar message. The State of the World Population
2009 (SWOP 2009) points out that climate change ―impacts are likely to exacerbate gender
and other social inequalities that are already acute today.‖ So, ―working now to reduce or
eliminate such inequalities is…a key anticipatory strategy for addressing climate change as
well as contributing to development and the fullest exercise of human rights.‖ (UNFPA
2009.)

Appropriate overall social and economic policy should itself be seen as an important national
policy input for the fight against food insecurity and hunger and for the combating of climate
change impact. According to the 2009 World Summit on Food Security, ―food security is a
national responsibility and…any plans for addressing food security challenges must be
nationally articulated, designed and led, and built on consultation with all stakeholders.‖
Whilst providing international support to country-led strategies, it would seem essential for
R/UNDG member organizations and UN Country Teams so to carry out their policy dialogue
with regional governments and with other partners that national programmes addressing the
                                                                                                     30
climate change-food security nexus are indeed embedded in development strategies that
support inclusive growth and broad-based human development. Political transformations
ongoing in the Arab States/MENA region at the time of this writing have again underlined
the need for transformative development policy in the region. Unlocking human development
and inclusive growth must truly become the order of the day if the region‘s inequalities and
chronic levels of youth unemployment are to be effectively addressed.

4.1.3     Importance of South-South cooperation

By now, the literature on the rise of emerging markets and the resulting impact on global
political and economic relations is considerable. For an up-to-date global case for enhancing
South-South cooperation, one could do no better than look at ―Perspectives on Global
Development 2010: Shifting Wealth‖, a study published by the OECD Development Centre
in June 2010 (OECD on-line). The OECD‘s membership includes by now emerging market
economies like Chile. Mexico and Turkey, but it is still widely regarded as a policy analysis
and coordination organization responding to the needs of the developed industrialized world
and the traditional donor countries, as exemplified by the OECD‘s Development Assistance
Committee. So, its views affirming the rise of the South (or parts of it) and the growing
importance of South-South cooperation could be seen as being particularly objective.

As an OECD summary of the study5 states, ―Shifting Wealth‖ has clear implications for
development and development policy. Developing countries, it says, ―need to re-position
their development strategies to capitalize on the increasing potential of south-south
cooperation and to fully benefit from the new macroeconomic drivers.‖ OECD non-member
economies have significantly increased their share of global output since the 2000s. On a PPP
basis, this share has gone up from 40% in 2000 to 49% in 2010 and by 2030 it is forecast to
reach 57%. Between 1990 and 2008, whereas world trade grew almost four-fold, ―South-
South trade multiplied more than ten times‖ and ―this trade could become one of the main
engines of growth over the coming decade.‖ South-South FDI is already a major force on the
international scene. Outward FDI from China is estimated to have an investment stock of
over $1 trillion. Brazil, India, South Africa and even smaller emerging market economies like
Chile and Malaysia are also growing into significant sources of outward FDI. Manufacturing
capacity has massively shifted from OECD countries to the developing world, especially in
East Asia. Accompanying and reinforcing this trend is a shift also in the distribution of
technological capacity, with a rising amount of R&D now being carried out in Southern
countries.

All of the above, the OECD study says, has helped greatly to reduce poverty in many parts of
the South. ―The number of poor people worldwide declined by 120 million in the 1990s and
by nearly 300 million in the first half of the 2000s‖. To be sure, large parts of the South have
yet to partake in this poverty reduction and even in the successful developing countries
enormous poverty challenges remain, underlying the need to pay particular attention to
income inequality. ―Shifting Wealth‖ calls for pro-poor growth policies focused on not only
more and better jobs but also improved social protection. Of special interest to the R/UNDG
from the perspective of its interest in the food security-climate change nexus is another
recommendation of the OECD study. It highlights the importance of addressing ―the growing

5
 The full text of the OECD study is not available in the public domain. This paper has drawn upon a summary that is freely
available on the OECD website.
                                                                                                                             31
demand for agricultural exports and increasing pressure on arable land by strategies to
improve agricultural productivity, through greater support to R&D and extension services,
and through South-South technological transfer.‖ Also highly significant is the report‘s
recommendation that South-South peer learning needs to be expanded so that development
policy could be better informed by successful Southern experiences.

An opinion piece authored by the UN Deputy Secretary-General in the wake of the UN High-
level Conference on South-South Cooperation held in Nairobi, Kenya in December 2009
came to many conclusions that ―Shifting Wealth‖ echoes. Asha-Rose Migiro drew attention
to the fact that ―investment and trade, combined with sound governance, development aid and
effective policies, have transformed several countries from aid recipients into aid donors.‖
The latter group, she pointed out, includes many Gulf States. According to a 2010 report by
the Secretary-General, South-South cooperation rose to $16.2 billion in 2008, ―owing mainly
to sharp increases in flows from China and Saudi Arabia. Of this total, around 25 per cent
was provided through multilateral organizations‖ (UN 2010d, p.25).

Although historically the United Nations system has been instrumental in promoting South-
South cooperation and sustaining it over decades by providing a global platform for inter-
governmental consensus building in its support, it is only in recent years that the system‘s
operational activities for development have begun to reflect South-South cooperation‘s
growing significance. Progress remains limited6, however, and it would not be unreasonable
to say that UN system country offices are still operating, by and large, in a culture born out of
North-South cooperation. That this should change is not only a matter of acknowledging the
new global importance of key Southern and emerging market countries7or of mobilizing for
multilateral goals a share of the already significant South-South development cooperation
flows. The South is also giving birth to innovations in development policy and frameworks,
in business models, and in technical and technological know-how and application.8 The
effectiveness of the UN system‘s operational activities would surely diminish if Southern
technology and knowledge and Southern best practices are not integrated into its
programming, not in any parochial way but as a reinforcement of North-South cooperation.
In addressing the food security-climate change nexus, the R/UNDG should promote South-
South cooperation at the regional level and encourage UNCTs to do the same at country
level. This should embrace not only peer-to-peer South-South learning but also enabling
policies for the facilitation of South-South FDI, trade, and technology transfer.




6
  FAO may represent an exception, especially in regard to food security issues.
7
  ―Because of their high growth rates, emerging markets are now too large to be ignored. On a purchasing power parity basis,
China‘s     gross     domestic    product    is    larger   than    Japan‘s,     India‘s    is   larger   than    Germany‘s
and Russia‘s is larger than the UK‘s. The BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China) are as large as developed Europe.
Surprisingly, the rest of the emerging markets (ex-BRICs) collectively command a greater share of the global economy than
the US.‖ (Dimitrijevic, 2009.)
8
  Consider China‘s emergence in recent years as an important force on the intellectual property scene. ―According to the
Derwent World Patents Index, China now issues about 30,000 patents annually…Measured by applications, China‘s patent
office has become the third-busiest in the world, ranking behind only Japan and the U.S. It is expected to pull ahead of both
by 2012.‖ (Glocer, 2009.) It is worth noting that in the new green technology sector, three Asian countries – China, Japan,
and South Korea – are being seen as rising ―clean technology tigers‖ that are likely to out-compete the United States in clean
energy markets (Atkinson, R et al.). Japan is of course not a developing country but China, despite its global economic
importance, is still a member of the ―South‖ and in the United Nations it is a member of the Group of 77 & China. The
Republic of Korea is a member of OECD/DAC but is still seen by financial markets as an emerging market economy.
                                                                                                                                 32
4.1.4    Capacity development and knowledge promotion

Running through the thematic and sectoral efforts that the R/UNDG and UNCTs will need to
foster in addressing the food security-climate change nexus is a critically important action
area, namely, the promotion of regional and national capacities for formulating and
implementing the needed policies and programmes. This should embrace a range of issues
spanning strategy development, capacity assessments, execution capacity, and monitoring
and evaluation.

Capacity development will need to be buttressed and informed by the promotion of
knowledge creation along lines called for by the December 2007 Arab Ministerial
Declaration on Climate Change. The Declaration underlined the importance of ―studies and
research centers for climate change in the regions of developing countries, including the Arab
region. These centers should be concerned with examining impacts and challenges facing the
citizens and peoples of developing countries as a result of climate change.‖ The Declaration
also recommended the ―development of methodologies and tools that address the impacts of
climate change.‖ The R/UNDG might like to discuss action on these ideas with the RCM,
keeping in mind suggestions advanced in this paper with respect to regional analyses of the
impact of climate change on such things as nutrition and social security in the region and of
the application in the region of the concept of virtual water.

4.1.5 Importance of attention to existing policies

Most Arab countries have adopted national policies and plans aimed at addressing or
minimizing the challenge of ensuring food security in the context of climate change.
Examples could be found in improving the management of water resources in the agricultural
sector (water harvesting, drip irrigation) and in water supply (desalination), in disaster risk
reduction management, and in climate change adaptation through drought-resistant crops and
anti-desertification. The ability of Governments to implement existing policies and plans,
however, remains a problem. Governments are constrained in this regard by inadequate
technical capacities, issues of technological feasibility, and by insufficiencies in coherence,
synergy and mutual reinforcement among sectoral policies and plans, including at sub-
national levels. Financial constraints also come into play in many countries. It would be
pertinent for a UNCT to work with national partners on mapping out existing policies and
plans relevant to addressing the nexus, and identifying thereafter where and how the UN
System could support their implementation. A recommendation making this call has been
included in the UNCTs‘ Guidance Note that has been derived from the work undertaken for
preparation of the present paper.

4.1.6 Guidance from the UN Secretary-General

In his capacity as chair of the High-level Task Force on the Global Food Security Task Force,
the UN Secretary-General wrote to all Resident Coordinators and Country Representatives of
task force members on 10 December 2009 requesting their renewed attention to coordinated
action for food security, keeping in mind that ―the conditions that led to [2008‘s] dramatic
rise in food energy prices could re-emerge at any time‖9 and that ―the global food and

9
  Recent events would seem to indicate that the Secretary-General was being prescient in suggesting that food price
problems might re-emerge.
                                                                                                                      33
nutrition situation is ever more treacherous as a result of the global economic slowdown and
the growing impact of climate change‖. The Secretary-General underlined the importance of
ensuring that the new UNDAFs ―adopt a more comprehensive approach to food security in
line with the‖ CFA. A second point also emerged forcefully from the Secretary-General‘s
guidance: he would like UNCTs to work closely with the World Bank as well as with other
partners – from the donor community and from civil society.

In the letter discussed above as well as in a subsequent letter of 16 June 2010 to RCs and
Country Representatives, the Secretary-General drew attention to donors having pledged $20
billion for food security assistance following the L‘Aquila G8 summit in July 2009 and the
Pittsburg G20 meeting in September 2009. On this the Secretary-General said that while most
of the sum ―is likely to cover existing commitments … there does seem to be a genuine desire
on the part of some donors to increase both their bilateral and multilateral support.‖ A
―portion of the latter‖, the Secretary-General added, will go though ―a new financing
mechanism located at the World Bank‖. The S.G. drew attention in his second letter to the
launching of this multi-donor framework, which will support government-led proposals,
private entities, and technical assistance providers, as the Global Agriculture and Food
Security Program (GAFSP). This programme is expected to receive $1 to 1.5 billion over the
next three years. There is a clear message for the R/UNDG arising from the S.G.‘s guidance.
It would be desirable for it to initiate a dialogue with the World Bank on the food security-
change nexus in the Arab States/MENA region.



4.2 Food Production and Related Water and Energy Issues

4.2.1     Options for Agriculture

The Guidance Note for UNCTs derived from the work undertaken for this paper makes the
following point, which is of fundamental importance:

 ―Given the Arab States/MENA region‘s food security needs in the context of climate change,
its food production challenges are complex and difficult on account of the region‘s natural
resource endowments – shortage of arable land and, even more importantly, lack of water.
The same challenges must also respond to the global need for agriculture not only to produce
more food ‗but to do it in a way that is more resilient, more sustainable and more
equitable.10‘ This calls for more investment in knowledge and innovation, access to assets,
linkage to markets, and better risk management.‖

On the basis of these considerations, the Guidance Note draws attention to a number of
foundation proposals set out in a decision taken in March 2008 by the Twenty-Ninth FAO
Regional Conference for the Middle East.11 These proposals are the following:

        Promote agriculture as a key player that could be steered towards convergence
         between sustainable development and reduction of atmospheric greenhouse gases;

10
   Parry et al, ―Climate Change and Hunger: Responding to the Challenge‖, WFP, IFPRI, New York University Center on
International Cooperation, Grantham Institute at Imperial College London, and Walker Institute, University of Reading
(UK), 2009.
11
   See FAO document NERC/08/INF/5 (FAO 2008).
                                                                                                                        34
        Increase resilience of production systems against current and future hazards;
        Improve      adaptation      through   conservation     agriculture,   afforestation  (where
                  12
         viable), sustainable management of forests and rangelands, soil storage of carbon, improved
         fertilizer use and ruminant digestion, as well as non-structural measures such as crop
         insurance and the careful promotion of bio-energy as a substitute for fossil fuels in
         climatically suitable areas;
        Develop policies, legislation and activities in natural resource management in light of
         promoting sustainable livelihoods consistent with climate change mitigation and adaptation.




12
  For good practice in afforestation and reclamation of desert areas using sewage water for irrigation, look to relevant
experience in Kuwait, Oman, UAE and Egypt.
                                                                                                                           35
The Note then proceeds to recommend specific ideas – not prescriptively but as options for
action at country level -- in regard to the following entry points:

        Promoting smallholder farming above all,
        Creating linkages between mitigation and adaptation and broad-based development
         within a framework of conserving or enhancing natural ecosystems,
        Investing in productivity through agricultural R&D and extension,
        Facilitating small farmers‘ access to risk management,
        Promoting governance reforms aimed at equitable natural resource management
         regimes, including regulation of large-scale land acquisitions,
        Providing small farmers with credit and market access,
        Supporting women farmers,
        Supporting regional integration for food security in the context of climate change.


While the R/UNDG may need to provide support to UNCTs in all these issues, action on
which will vary from country to country depending upon the outcomes of the Country
Teams‘ policy and programming dialogues with regional governments and other national
partners, three recommended intervention areas deserve its special attention by virtue of their
importance for the region as a whole and because they call for significant initiatives at the
regional level. The entry points are discussed below:

Provide concrete support to a regional approach to agricultural R&D. Here, in addition
to country-level actions suggested in the UNCTs‘ Guidance Note, the R/UNDG needs to
focus on promoting a regional strategy and programme for agricultural research and
development. The countries of the region share, by and large, the same agricultural goals --
food security, most of all -- and the same food security challenges, namely, water scarcity and
climate change. A regional research agenda would make perfect sense in the circumstances.
The League of Arab States and UNDP have called for a regional agricultural R&D fund with
a committed long-term budget (LAS/UNDP, 2009b). The R/UNDG should take in hand the
sustained promotion of the needed regional agenda, inclusive of the fund. The regional R&D
initiative should be so designed that it takes full account of the capacities & potentials of the
International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA), the LAS-sponsored
Arab Centre for the Studies of Arid Zones and Dry Lands (ACSAD) – both located in Syria –
as well as the support and participation of national research organizations (World
Bank/FAO/IFAD, 41). The ICARDA linkage could also serve as a gateway to other
institutions of the CGIAR system, including Biodiversity International and the International
Water Management Institute (IWMI). As indicated in the Guidance Note for UNCTs, the
above-cited World Bank, FAO and IFAD study has excellent ideas for research in the Arab
region, at both national and regional levels, and for linking R&D investment with
improvements in agricultural extension.13 Attention also needs to be given to the call in the
Dublin draft of the Updated CFA for research and technical assistance services to promote
eco-agriculture innovations (UN 2010b, p.29).



13
  As suggested in the UNCTs‘ Guidance Note, the R&D programme outlined in the World Bank/FAO/IFAD report should
be expanded to include promotion of a more integrated crop-rangeland-livestock production system, fostering indigenous
breeds of small ruminants that are adaptable to environmental changes (more heat tolerant species/breeds), and promoting
improved feed techniques and practices that better adapted to climate change (by using crop residues and agro-industrial by-
products).
                                                                                                                               36
Promote additionally a comprehensive regional integration strategy for food security. In the
Arab States region there is a powerful case for adopting a regional approach to food security,
in line with the Riyadh Declaration to Enhance Arab Cooperation to Face World Food Crises,
adopted in 2008, and a number of decisions taken by the Arab Economic and Social
Development Summit held in Kuwait from 19 to 20 January 2009. These decisions include
the launching of an Emergency Program of Arab Food Security and relevant sections of the
Kuwait Declaration Elevating the Standard of Living for Arab Citizens and the Action
Program of the Arab Economic and Social Development Summit. Applicable, too, are
decisions concerning an Arab Program for Poverty Eradication in Arab States and an Arab
Program for Achievement of Millennium Development Goals. Political legitimacy will be
found moreover in the December 2007 Arab Ministerial Declaration on Climate Change.
Consultations with the Arab League Secretariat, undertaken within the framework of the
present report, produced support for the idea of the UN system working closely with the
League and the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development (AOAD), a LAS specialized
agency, in translating these decisions into a concrete regional programme. It would be
appropriate now for the R/UNDG to consider this matter in consultation with the RCM with a
view to initiating a UN system dialogue with both the League and AOAD.

AHDR 2009 has advanced some constructive ideas in support of integration of food
production, especially cereals, in the Arab region. ―Efforts towards this end,‖ it says, ―should
focus on taking advantage of the large tracts of arable land that are available in the region,
notably in Sudan, which has the potential to become the Arab countries‘ bread basket, and in
Iraq. Arab countries lack neither the financial resources for this project, some of which could
be supplied by the oil-exporting states, nor the expertise and manpower‖ (UNDP 2009, pages
141-142). Progress in attaining the desired regional integration will certainly not be easy. It
will require, as the AHDR points out, political resolve and achievement of ―political stability
in such countries as Iraq and Sudan‖ (UNDP 2009, page 142).

This challenge notwithstanding, the R/UNDG could do at least two things at the development
policy and technical levels. Taking a leaf from an UNCTAD report, it could promote the idea
of regional value chains consistent with these linkages embracing not only long-term private
sector investments in agro-processing and agribusiness but also smallholder participation in
expanding markets. Such value chains could catalyze inter-governmental progress in the Arab
region in addressing ―institutional and other constraints to regional investment and trade in
commodities‖ (UNCTAD 2009, page 15).

The R/UNDG‘s second course of action could be, with the cooperation of the R/UNDGs for
Africa, to keep itself informed of the progress being made by the Comprehensive African
Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), which was established in 2003 under
NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa‘s Development) and which is being implemented
through the African Union in conjunction with Africa‘s regional economic communities. As
indicated by the aforementioned UNCTAD paper, a major strategic CAADP goal is ―to
facilitate the creation of a common African food market in strategic commodities‖. To this
end, ―The CAADP could eventually facilitate the emergence of transnational agribusinesses
along horizontal and vertical value chains of the various strategic commodities‖ (UNCTAD
2009, page 16). The CAADP experience could provide useful pointers to the R/UNDG and to
Arab policy makers.


                                                                                                   37
It is noteworthy that FAO and the Islamic Development Bank have already teamed up
through a $1 billion agreement to put in place food security-enhancing investment projects in
the 26 least developed members of the IDB. The same sort of creativity could be deployed for
Arab food production integration, and an appropriate discussion on this could be initiated by
the R/UNDG not only with the IDB, but also such institutions as the Abu Dhabi Fund for
Development, the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, the Saudi Fund for
Development and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development. A dialogue with
regional sovereign wealth funds could be initiated as well. The OECD Development Centre
has proposed that resource-rich emerging market economies should consider using sovereign
wealth funds to promote growth and investment in domestic economies. Surely, in the Arab
States/MENA region, such promotion should have not only domestic goals; it should also
buttress appropriate regional growth and investment, particularly in the context of the
region‘s overall food security and climate change problem.

A last point needs to be made. The programme developed should be so conceptualized that it
accords with CFA principles and guidelines, present and forthcoming, inclusive of upholding
the rights and interests of small farmers and acting in accordance with the needs of climate
change mitigation and adaptation.

Promote a regional seminar on South-South cooperation for sustainable agriculture. Along
lines previously discussed in this paper, South-South cooperation could play an important
role in promoting sustainable agriculture and smallholder production in the Arab
States/MENA region within a climate change mitigation and adaptation framework. Both the
LAS/UNDP and World Bank/FAO/IFAD reports on food security in the Arab region give
examples of Southern-grown ideas that have emerged in Asia and Latin America and that are
likely to provide useful lessons for MENA countries.14 While transplantation of ideas from
other Southern regions to the Arab States/MENA region should not be mechanically pursued,
given socio-economic, agro-ecological and cultural differences, the important thing, within a
framework of common or similar development goals, is to learn creatively and adaptively
from best practices that have proved effective in other developing regions.15


14
   LAS and UNDP have drawn attention to Vietnam‘s success story in agricultural development and the way this
achievement was underpinned by giving far-reaching land rights to peasant households even as the state retained formal
ownership. The two organizations have also pointed to lessons for the Arab world that could appropriately be drawn from
China using a similar transfer of land rights to peasant control to jump start agricultural growth in the post-1978 reform
period. LAS & UNDP have moreover suggested that Arab policy makers could look to Indian and Vietnamese best practices
in financial sector regulation – policies that have successfully encouraged financial institutions to provide credit for rural
development and poverty reduction. Consider also the desirability of drawing upon and adapting for the region such
technologies as the success of Chinese R&D in producing saltwater tolerant varieties of wheat. As argued by the LAS &
UNDP, ―adaptation of this kind of technology can have important food security implications for the region and Egypt in
particular.‖ (LAS/UNDP, 2009b.) South-South cooperation should be supported not only in relation to Asia; a reaching out
to other regions would also be desirable. The World Bank, FAO and IFAD have pointed out that ―in Latin America,
competitive funding for R&D has become common.‖ Private companies can bid for public funds, which they then leverage
to secure private co-financing. ―Yet another approach is to encourage innovation by letting farmers apply for grants to
implement new technologies and techniques. This kind of grass-roots, farmer-led R&D has spurred technology
dissemination and increased incomes in several countries, including Albania‖ (World Bank/FAO/IFAD, 40). Ideas such as
these could enrich the regional research system proposed in this paper.
15
   The same point is made very well in an UNCTAD report on South-South & triangular cooperation: ―Of course, the fact
that some developing countries have succeeded in strengthening their agricultural sector does not necessarily mean that the
lessons from those countries can be drawn in a mechanical way or applied automatically in other developing countries. There
are no quick fixes or standardized solutions. Each country faces a unique situation that depends on a host of factors,
including its size, resource endowment, starting position, level of development and history – as well as the external
                                                                                                                                 38
UNCTAD took a timely initiative in 2009 to convene an expert meeting to discuss the role of
South-South and triangular (North-South-South) cooperation for sustainable agricultural
development and food security in developing countries.16 According to a note prepared by the
UNCTAD secretariat for discussion by participants, while much of the commentary attending
the global food crisis has focused on the failure of agriculture in many developing countries
to serve as an engine of development and poverty reduction, the experiences of developing
countries are not all failures. Indeed, there are many success stories and these offer important
lessons to the countries that have suffered most from the crisis (UNCTAD 2009, executive
summary). The RDT would do well to undertake a dialogue with UNCTAD on applying the
expert meeting‘s outcomes to the Arab States/MENA region. One possibility could be to
organize, with UNCTAD‘s assistance, as well as that of the Special Unit for South-South
Cooperation, an appropriately designed regional seminar, to which participants from key
countries outside the region should be invited. Given FAO‘s success in promoting South-
South cooperation in agriculture, forestry and fisheries, a good idea would be for that Agency
to take a lead role on the seminar.

4.2.2     Options for Water and Energy

Based on work done for this paper, the Guidance Note for UNCTs draws Country Teams‘
attention to the following considerations:

―While water is the Arab States/MENA region‘s scarcest natural resource, 80 percent of the
region‘s water budget is allocated to agriculture17 (El-Quosy, 2009, p.76). The vulnerability
for food security arising from this linkage is exacerbated by another vulnerability, namely,
the region‘s dependence on sources outside the region for the origination of about 60 percent
of its renewable water resources.18 The large reliance on energy-intensive seawater
desalination must also be noted; some estimates show that seawater desalination may be the
single largest area for incremental energy use growth in the region by 2030. The water-
energy connection thus is critical, as countries try to adapt to reduced freshwater by
expanding energy-intensive desalination, thereby enlarging the region‘s already growing
carbon footprint, which had a 88% GHG growth rate in past decades -- third largest among
regions. Funding research in renewable energy technologies (particularly solar and tidal) for
desalinization would be an opportune investment by Arab countries. UNCTs could support
such research through advocacy and facilitating the link between governments, researchers
and industry. Another salient point needs to be stressed: irrigation systems and practices
currently in use in the region are inefficient and wasteful in their use of water. The water
scarcity situation is critical even with climate change not being taken into account. If the
impact of climate change is factored in, appropriate action in the water sector becomes a
matter of the highest and most pressing urgency.‖



environment, which can sometimes be a constraining factor. Therefore, the search for lessons from successful, developing
countries is guided by the desire not to replicate the experience elsewhere, but to identify the common principles that have
helped guide policymakers and other actors involved in those successes.‖ (UNCTAD 2009.)
16
  Multi-year Expert Meeting on International Cooperation: South-South Cooperation and Regional Integration,
second session, Geneva, 14-16 December 2009.
17
  Industry takes up 12% of the regional water budget while the remaining 8% is allocated to domestic and potable use.
18
  Indeed, Egypt, Sudan, Iraq and Syria, the four Arab countries ―largely dependant on river flows originating outside their
boundaries are not only vulnerable to reduced or increased flows caused by climate change, they are also vulnerable to the
actions taken by upstream riparian countries which may affect river flows downstream‖ (El-Quosy, 2009, p.78).
                                                                                                                               39
The Guidance Note emphasizes in the context of the above that, in undertaking initiatives and
activities in the water sector, regional governments and UNCTs in the region need to give
topmost priority to promoting implementation of General Assembly resolution 64/292 dated
3 August 2010, which recognized ―the right to safe and clean drinking as a human right for
the full enjoyment of life and all human rights.‖ In this regard and with reference to the
climate change-food security nexus, the following three strategic entry points are suggested
for UNCTs – as options, not as prescriptions:

        Promoting modern irrigation management and water governance reform.
        Linking policy frameworks for water resources and climate change with mitigation-
         oriented energy strategies.
        Initiating an engagement with the R/UNDG on international river basin issues.


While providing support as needed to UNCTs in the critical water and energy area, the
R/UNDG could appropriately give focused attention to three regional initiatives that are
discussed below:

Promote a regional programme for an integrated approach that incorporates mitigation-
oriented energy strategies into policy frameworks addressing water resources and climate
change. Here it is worth noting that the Water Governance Programme for Arab States
(WGP-AS) that UNDP launched in October 2009 at a Partners Meeting on Water
Governance19 hoisted by the League of Arab States has commenced work on an Arab Water
Report (AWR), which is being prepared against a background of near absence of information
in most global studies on one of the most arid regions in the world. The report will provide
Arab countries with a close-up look on the region‘s water situation, moving beyond the
traditional inventories of availability, uses, accessibility, dependency, etc. of water resources
to address also water governance issues, such as participation, transparency, equity, rule of
law, and accountability. The AWR will focus on critical global and regional matters, and it
will surely provide a basis for future RDT action in terms of both inter-agency cooperation
and guidance to UNCTs in this vitally important sector.

During August 19-20, 2009, at a Middle East and Neighboring Countries Regional
Consultation on Water and Climate Change Adaptation hosted in Stockholm by the Swedish
International Water Institute (SIWI), discussion focused on a timely and important initiative -
- a regional programme in water and climate change adaptation for which WGP-AS had
prepared a draft proposal at the request of the UNDP country office in Iraq. Nine MENA
region countries, including Iran, attended the Stockholm meeting. While a clear affirmation
of the need for a regional programme of the kind envisioned in the WGP-AS draft emerged
from the meeting, the proposal seems to have made no subsequent progress for reasons going
beyond its substantive and technical merits. The ideas embodied in the draft remain valid,
however, and they should engage the R/UNDG‘s attention for possible furtherance in another
incarnation.

Sustenance for this, but in a broader perspective that incorporates energy policy, will be
found in a recent SIWI policy report for the Swedish International Development Agency.
This report, which studied ―Climate Change and Water Resource Policies Among Major

19
 As mentioned in the Guidance Note for UNCTs, UNDP‘s partners in this endeavor include Japan, Finland and
Sweden.
                                                                                                            40
Donor Organizations‖, found, among other things, that while all the assessed entities had
policy frameworks in place for water resources and climate change, none was addressing
these areas and mitigation-oriented energy strategies in an integrated manner.20 Within the
Arab States/MENA region, a similar situation seems to obtain, given the trend of discussion
at the August 2009 Stockholm meeting. How should this situation be addressed? For one
thing, cooperation with the RCM will clearly be needed, since UN system coordination on
climate change is already on the RCM‘s agenda in relation to activities spearheaded by the
Council of Arab Ministers Responsible for the Environment. Secondly, in concert with the
RCM, the R/UNDG will need to make sure that action in this area, at both regional and
country levels, benefits adequately from the multiple and complementary strengths of all the
UN agencies concerned, since water and energy policies in relation to the climate change-
food security nexus will truly call for multi-disciplinary and integrative action.21 Perhaps a
small inter-agency group convened jointly by the R/UNDG and the RCM could come up with
an appropriate regional approach. While the AWR may not be available till late 2011,
guidance could be taken not only from the references cited in footnote 12 but also other,
existing regional assessments of water resources undertaken by, inter alia, CEDARE22,
ESCWA and the World Bank. The Guidance Note for UNCTs puts forward a number of
substantive recommendations for Country Teams to consider with respect to both water
policies and mitigation-oriented energy strategies, inclusive of critical issues such as
enhancing irrigation efficiency and desalination of seawater and brackish groundwater in
coastal areas. The same ideas should inform the discussion on an appropriate regional
programme addressing water and energy policies in the context of the climate change-food
security nexus. The Guidance Note for UNCTs says, ―To be sure, the region‘s contribution to
greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide, is presently modest and is less than 5 percent of
total world emissions (El-Quosy 2009, p. 83). Nonetheless, if the issue is looked at through a
food security lens, the logic of incorporating mitigation-oriented energy strategies into action
addressing the food security-climate change nexus becomes compelling.‖

Promote further study and research on applying the concept of virtual water in the Arab
States/MENA region. The R/UNDG needs also to consider in-depth the possible application
in the region of this concept along lines discussed in AHDR 2009. ―If Arab countries balance
their food exports and imports in such a way as to concentrate imports on those goods whose
production requires the most water and to concentrate exports on those goods whose
production requires the least, they will be able to generate considerable savings in water
through trade,‖ the report says. Moreover, the ―concept is as applicable to inter-Arab
agricultural trade as it is to agricultural trade between Arab and foreign countries‖ (UNDP
2009, pages 139-140). The report recommends the virtual water concept23 for closer study
and research in the region, and it would be desirable for the R/UNDG to promote such action
in collaboration with the RCM. In doing so, the R/UNDG might wish to make sure that

20
 The study focused on six official development agencies: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation,
United States Agency for International Development, Danish International Development Assistance, UK
Department for International Development, GTZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit), and
Netherlands Directorate-General of Development Cooperation (Lindstrom et al. 2009),
21
   Substantive ideas in this respect will be found in chapter 5 (―Climate change and possible futures‖) of the 3 rd edition of the
UN World Water Development Report (UNESCO 2009). See also the chapter on water in the 2009 report of the Arab Forum
for Environment and Development (El-Quosy, 2009).
22
   Center for Environment and Development for the Arab Region and Europe.
23
   The virtual water concept has major impacts on global trade policy and research, especially in water-scarce regions, and
has redefined discourse in water policy and management. The concept was first developed by Professor Anthony Allan,
winner of the 2008 Stockholm Water Prize, while studying water scarcity in the Middle East. (Source: <siwi.org>.)
                                                                                                                                     41
attention is given not only to resource endowment questions and economic factors but also to
critical social policy issues – e.g., the urgent need in the region to reduce rural poverty and
the contribution that agriculture could make to achieve this goal.24

Engage with the issue of international river basins. Consultations carried out within the
framework of the present paper resulted in a proposal submitted for the R/UNDG‘s
consideration by a UNCT managing large, complex UN programmes attended by issues of
great political sensitivity. This team – the UNCT for Sudan -- felt that the R/UNDG could
genuinely add value to country-level work by engaging more with critical international river
basin issues affecting countries in the region.25Progress with respect to the issue is likely to
be extremely slow and problematic, given the political difficulties that always arise with
respect to trans-boundary water issues. Nonetheless, given the region‘s dependence on
sources outside it for approximately 60 per cent of its renewable water resources, the matter
is critically important and the R/UNDG should commence an engagement with it, keeping in
mind that this will necessitate close consultation with the R/UNDGs in the African and CIS
regions. The advice of UN-Water‘s Task Force on Transboundary Waters might also be
sought. The Guidance Note for UNCTs suggests that interested UNCTs, particularly those in
Egypt, Iraq, Sudan and Syria, may wish to initiate dialogues between each other and with the
R/UNDG on the issue. At the very least, even if countries sharing international watersheds
and basins cannot readily agree on water apportionment arrangements, they could agree to
sharing information on national plans so that all could take better decisions on the way
forward. The Guidance Note also recommends that, within the region, appropriate capacity
development could be fostered and provision made for it in both country and regional
programming. Downstream Arab countries could be supported in better understanding,
projecting and assessing the potential impacts of climate change on the region‘s trans-
boundary water resources. Their capacity to undertake shared water resources management
and water-related conflict resolution could also be enhanced.

4.3 Strategic Importance of Access Issues

As argued in the Guidance Note for UNCTs, ―The options for agriculture and for related
actions with regard to water and energy, as discussed [in the note], are likely to improve the
food security outlook for the Arab States/MENA region with the climate change-food
security nexus taken into account. Given, however, the region‘s structural constraints vis-à-
vis agriculture, regional governments and UNCTs in the region must also give priority
attention to food access, which would remain important in its own right even if regional food
production could be greater.‖ The same priority needs to guide the R/UNDG, not only in
terms of support to UNCTs in implementing the guidance it has provided but also in direct
action at the regional level. The key issues – again as indicated in the Guidance Note -- are
scaling up humanitarian assistance; moving from crisis response to crisis prevention,
inclusive of bridging better the gap between traditional approaches to relief (or humanitarian
response) and development; and scaling up social protection systems. Whilst for analytical
reasons the three issues need to be discussed sequentially, there is a horizontal linkage


24
   On agriculture‘s role in poverty reduction, see Government of Egypt et al. (2009): ―It is important to note that agriculture
has the highest multiplier effect on poverty reduction compared to any other productive sector in Egypt, in that one percent
increase in agricultural GDP reduces poverty by 3 per cent.‖
25
   As noted before in this paper, only a 43 per cent share of the Arab region‘s total available water resources originates
within the Arab countries.
                                                                                                                                  42
between the three. ―Part of the food access challenge will be to increase capacity for
humanitarian assistance, but crisis response will increasingly need to be matched by crisis
prevention in terms of disaster risk reduction, particularly scaling up access to social
protection systems‖ (Parry et al., 2009, p. 30).




                                                                                              43
4.3.1 Options for Humanitarian Assistance

The Guidance Note for UNCTs draws Country Teams‘ attention to the following important
considerations:

―Three issues stand out here. First, the impact of climate change on food security, globally
and in the region, will likely increase the number of people needing humanitarian support by
large numbers.26 Humanitarian actors will not only have to cope with larger numbers of
people; they will also have to operate in unfamiliar contexts, as was demonstrated by the food
price increases and other crises of 2008. Secondly, pending the taking of initiatives at the
regional level and the fruition of regional initiatives, country-level actions must be taken by
virtue of the precautionary principle. Third, the special issue of humanitarian funding of
chronic emergencies needs to be faced, keeping in mind this matter‘s relevance to slow-onset
humanitarian situations such as those likely to be set in motion by climate change impacts.‖

In light of these issues, the Guidance Note discusses options for action at country level in
terms of four entry points:

         Promote, where needed, national monitoring and early warning systems,
         Assess capacity development needs of national humanitarian agencies and provide for
          appropriate programming,
         Promote Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Assessments (CFSVAs),
         Address the problem of humanitarian funding for chronic emergencies.


With respect to these intervention areas, four strategic entry points would merit the
R/UNDG‘s attention for initiatives at the regional level:

Promote a comprehensive early warning system at the regional level. The UNCTs‘
Guidance Note calls upon all Country Teams in the region not only to promote national
monitoring and early warning systems, but also to consider promoting through their national
partners the establishment of a comprehensive early warning system at the regional level
inclusive of both climate-related events and human-induced developments, keeping in mind
that both sets of phenomena have regional spillover effects. As the Guidance Note points out,
the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change drew attention to the need for the
international response to climate change being informed by a better understanding of the
impacts of climate change on each region and country and to more research on key regional
weather systems being required in this regard (Stern, 2007, p. 642). In taking action on these
issues, the R/UNDG needs to recall that in 2008 the LAS and UNDP pointed that the Arab
region lacked a regional food security monitoring system and recommended that such a
system should be set up within a League framework through collaboration with FAO

26
   According to a recent Oxfam study, each year, in the world as a whole, almost 250 million people are on average affected
by 'natural' disasters. In a typical year between 1998 and 2007, 98 per cent of the affected population suffered from climate-
related disasters such as droughts and floods rather than, say, devastating but relatively rare events such as earthquakes. By
2015, this could grow by more than 50% to an average of over 375 million people affected by climate-related disasters each
year. The implications for policy globally and in all regions are enormous. While Oxfam acknowledges that the projection
for 2015 is ―not an exact science‖, ―it is clear that substantially more people may be affected by disasters in the very
near…future, as climate change and environmental mismanagement create a proliferation of droughts, landslides, floods and
other local disasters‖ (Oxfam, 2009).


                                                                                                                                 44
(LAS/UNDP, 2009b). No action seems to have been taken to put this proposal an appropriate
regional cooperation agenda for the Arab States/MENA region. Surely this is a matter for the
R/UNDG to take up for consideration in consultation with the RCM, bearing in mind that
certain early warning instruments already exist and though they are global, not region-
specific, they do include the MENA region.27 To be kept in mind, too, is a proposal for an
Arab Center for Drought Early Warning that is currently being discussed under ESCWA‘s
umbrella.

Review also a proposal to create an Arab food security fund. The LAS and UNDP also
estimated in 2008 that approximately 21 million people in the Arab region were receiving
food relief at the time – in Somalia, Mauritania, Sudan, Iraq, and the Occupied Palestinian
Territories. The two organizations also estimated that, excluding Iraq, an additional 6-8
million were possibly in need of such assistance. Both the League and UNDP accordingly
called for creation of an Arab food security fund to finance the scale-up of food assistance
that was required at the time – the estimated cost for 2008 being $770 million (Ibid). This
proposal also needs the R/UNDG‘s attention.

Reinforce UNCT actions with regard to CFSVAs. Key to the successful promotion of an
Arab food security fund or any other effective regional initiative or mechanism is an adequate
regional consensus on the scope and nature of the needs to be addressed. While strategic
payoffs at country level are the primary object, it is also for this reason that, on the basis of
work done for this paper, the Guidance Note for UNCTs recommends more widespread use
of Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Assessments. In monitoring compliance
with this recommendation, it may be desirable for the R/UNDG to give special attention to
the following point that the Guidance Note makes:

―In recent years, WFP has led the preparation of four CFSVAs in the Arab States/MENA
region: in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in 2006, in Sudan in 2007, 28 in Iraq during
2007/2008, and in Yemen during 2009/2010.29 A rapid scan of these assessments … [has]
yielded the following conclusion: While dealing comprehensively with food security issues,
no CFSVA explicitly addressed the impact of climate change on food security. It is vitally
important that future CFSVAs in the region include assessments of such impact. More
CFSVAs, inclusive of climate change impact, should be undertaken in the region, and, where
possible, recently completed assessments should be updated to take climate change into
account.30

Implementation of the following Guidance Note suggestions should also be supported:

―For conceptual guidance on incorporation of climate change impact, reference should be
made to FAO‘s framework document on the linkage between climate change and food
security (FAO, 2008). In promoting CFSVAs, UNCTs should draw upon and create linkages
with related UN system initiatives, such as food insecurity vulnerability assessments
undertaken by UNICEF in Djibouti and Morocco, together with a regional summary, in the
context of the 2008 food crisis. Attention should also be given to guidance being prepared by

27
   The primary mechanism is the FAO-managed Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS). There is also the
FAO/WFP Joint Commodity Price Bulletin that comes out every three months. For countries facing a serious food
emergency, FAO/GIEWS and WFP carry out Joint Crop and Food Security Assessment Missions.
28
   Data collected in May 2006.
29
   The study for Yemen was entitled ―Comprehensive Food Security Survey (CFSS)‖.
30
   Two ongoing assessments respectively covering Egypt and Syria do include attention to climate change.
                                                                                                                     45
WHO for conducting assessments of health vulnerability and of public health and health care
interventions addressing climate change. [Also] of critical importance is the need for policy
innovation for safety nets in the face of the climate-food security nexus and concomitant need
for climate safety net mapping…‖

On a more long-term basis, the R/UNDG may wish to consider what lessons it could derive
from the Southern African Development Community‘s Regional Project on Strengthening
Vulnerability Assessments and Analysis. A number of the project‘s features are striking. It is
providing guidelines to help SADC member states establish comparable national systems for
vulnerability assessment and analysis systems, which include national vulnerability
assessment committees. Through this instrumentality and other means, it is providing wide-
ranging capacity development support at both national and regional levels. While assessments
conducted in individual countries have aimed at providing timely and reliable information on
food security situations and related conditions with a view to determining short-term
emergency interventions, it has become increasingly clear that the responses need to go
beyond short-term measures. Indeed, the information generated has begun to feed into longer-
term development strategies, including poverty reduction strategies, agricultural development
strategies, and health and nutrition programmes (SADC 2008). Would a similar regional
programme be appropriate for the Arab States region? This may be a topic for the R/UNDG
to explore in consultation with the League of Arab States and with UNCTs.

As the Guidance Note says, ―Actions along the above lines will likely promote not only the
preparation of better national disaster and climate change adaptation frameworks but also
contribute to transitioning better from disaster response to disaster prevention. A regional
public good may additionally emerge as a result of comparable country-by-country
assessments serving as a catalyst for more effective regional cooperation in addressing food
security and the nexus between it and climate change.‖

Explore application in the region of ex ante financing for disaster risk mitigation &
adaptation. This might comprise two stands of action. In the first instance, the R/UNDG
might like to take note of an ongoing Rockefeller Foundation-WFP initiative that is presently
under way in Africa and whose rationale can be summed up as follows. The livelihoods of
the world‘s most vulnerable populations are closely linked to variations in weather patterns.
Climate change and the increased potential for natural disasters will affect them more
adversely than others. The international system, as currently structured for responding to
natural disasters, is not as timely or equitable as it should be. Funding is secured on a largely
ad-hoc basis after a disaster strikes and it is only ex post that relief is mobilized. In the
meantime, lives are lost, assets are depleted, and development gains experience significant
setbacks – forcing more people into chronic destitution. A new approach to disaster risk
management would seek to allocate resources against probable but uncertain risks.
Establishing contingency funding, or monies that become available automatically if an
extreme drought, flood or cyclone occurs in a vulnerable area, would ensure a timely,
objective and transparent response. The new project – ―Climate and Disaster Risk Solutions‖
-- focuses on creating a sustainable Africa-wide natural disaster risk management system
linking risk analysis, delivery of emergency assistance and contingency funding. 31 It may be
31
  ―Climate and Disaster Risk Solutions: Equipping Developing Countries With Tools to Manage Natural Disaster Risk
More Effectively‖, Project Briefing Note, July 2009. Contact: Dr. Richard Wilcox, Director, Climate and Disaster Risk
Solutions, richard.wilcox@wfp.org

                                                                                                                        46
desirable for the R/UNDG to arrange for the project‘s progress to be monitored with a view
to exploring if eventually a similar initiative could not appropriately be taken up in the Arab
States/MENA Region, possibly with regional funding.

The R/UNDG might consider a similar arrangement with respect to another cutting edge
innovation in ex ante financing for disaster risk management and adaptation, namely, index
insurance – a type of insurance that could help transform the outlooks for poor and vulnerable
farmers, herders, fishermen and others whose livelihoods are challenged by environmental
pressures and uncertainties, including food security-impacting climate change-related
distress. A publication (Hellmuth et al. 2009) launched in June 2009 by Columbia
University‘s International Research Institute for Climate and Society in partnership with
UNDP, IFAD and WFP and others32 points out, ―Index insurance represents an attractive
alternative for managing weather and climate risk because it uses a weather index, such as
rainfall, to determine payoffs. This resolves a number of problems that make traditional
insurance unworkable in rural parts of developing countries. With index insurance contracts,
an insurance company doesn‘t need to visit the policyholder to determine premiums or assess
damages. Instead, if the rainfall recorded by gauges is below an earlier, agreed-upon
threshold, the insurance pays out. Such a system significantly lowers transaction costs.
Having insurance allows these policy holders to apply for bank loans and other types of credit
previously unavailable to them.‖33 To be sure, many remaining challenges will need to be
overcome for index insurance to be scaled up to a significant degree in the developing world.
But, that said, the innovation does appear promising34 and it does not seem to have been tried
out in the Arab States/MENA region on any significant scale. This should surely change,
keeping in mind that if index insurance could become widespread in the region, it could be
appropriately dovetailed with other social support programmes.

4.3.2 Moving from Disaster Response to Disaster Prevention

The Guidance Note for UNCTs argues that the new humanitarian contexts it discusses with
reference to national capacity development have already had ―the effect of blurring the lines
between acute and chronic vulnerability, between emergency response and welfare provision,
and between humanitarian assistance and long-term development (Parry et al., 2009, p.37).‖
The Note accordingly says, ―Humanitarian and development agendas, both national and
international, are … reflecting increasing interest in a move from crisis response to crisis
prevention. Pursuant to the Hyogo Framework of Action, adopted in 2005, interest in disaster
risk reduction (DRR) has been rising – not as a stand-alone area of activity but as ‗a priority
that must be mainstreamed in development programming‘ (Ibid. p.38).‖ ―The same applies‖,
the Note additionally says, ―to climate change adaptation and, indeed, as understanding of
climate change impacts grows, the importance given to DRR will also increase. Reciprocally,
adaptation programming could raise the resilience of vulnerable people and reduce the risk of
disasters in the face of not only extreme climate events, but also other drivers of
vulnerability, including food insecurity.‖ In light of these considerations, the Note
recommends the following entry point to UNCTs:
32
   The other partners are Oxfam America, Swiss Re and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
33
   Press release, ―Index insurance has potential to manage climate risks, reduce poverty‖, 24 June 2009, (UNDP, online).
34
   For additional information on index insurance, a website worth visiting is http://www.globalagrisk.com/. See also
http://www.swissre.com/ for information on the Swiss Re partnership initiative entitled ―Climate Adaptation Development
Programme‖ (CADP).

                                                                                                                           47
          Respond to the food security-climate change nexus by taking an integrated approach
           to DRR frameworks and climate change adaptation frameworks.

Because of the continuing need in both national development strategy and international
development cooperation to close the relief-development divide, this matter of an integrated
approach to disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation is an issue of paramount
importance. With this in mind, the following entry point is proposed for the R/UNDG:

Reinforce action by UNCTs in integrating DRR frameworks with climate change
frameworks while making sure that such action addresses the climate change-food
security nexus. While the aforementioned Guidance Note draws Country Teams‘ attention to
a set of three environmentally-related guidance documents issued by the global UNDG
during 2009 and 2010,35 it also points out that there does not appear to be any equivalent
UNDG guidance for food security. With a view to addressing this gap, the Guidance Note
then makes a number of suggestions to UNCTs. Are these suggestions being acted upon? Are
they proving adequate? The R/UNDG needs to keep these issues in mind and provide
additional support to UNCTs as needed.

Such reinforcement may be particularly useful in two areas. Drawing upon an E-Discussion
Final Summary circulated by UNDP on 20 January 2010 with respect to a wide ranging
exchange of views on an integrated approach to DRR and adaptation to climate change, the
Guidance Note provides information on a Maldives Strategic National Action Plan for
Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation that has been supported by the
UNCT in that country. The Note draws attention to similar initiatives having been taken in
Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. A task the R/UNDG could now undertake is to seek the advice of
the R/UNDG for Asia and the Pacific with regard to lessons learned from these initiatives and
to ascertain in particular what these lessons might have to say about the climate change-food
security nexus.

For its second intervention, the R/UNDG might focus on important implications stemming
from the 2010 FAO-WFP report on ―The State of Food Insecurity in the World‖,36, which
focuses on protracted crises but whose core lessons could be more broadly applied. The
UNCTs‘ Guidance Note calls upon Country Teams to promote reform of the ―architecture‖ of
assistance with a view to closing the gap between relief or humanitarian response and
development through such measures as promoting long-term social protection (along lines
discussed in the Note), incorporating DRR into social protection, giving more attention to
sustainable agriculture, especially with reference to climate change (again along lines
discussed in the Note), and fostering the funding of prevention and early action. These are all
complex issues for which country action will need complementary initiatives at the regional
and global levels, including perhaps a proposal to the global UNDG for supplementation of
the environmentally related guidance issued in 2009 and 2010.



35
  The three documents are Mainstreaming Environmental Sustainability in Country Analysis and the UNDAF (2009);
Integrating Disaster Risk Reduction into the CCA and UNDAF (2009); and Integrating Climate Change Considerations in
the Country Analysis and the UNDAF (2010). The last-mentioned document‘s executive summary says, ―This set of
guidance represents different substantive elements of an overall mainstreaming process. The commonalities demonstrate
there are many possibilities for obtaining synergies if the three sets of guidance are applied in an integrated
manner…‖
36
     FAO 2010, pages 46-48.
                                                                                                                        48
4.3.3 Options in Scaling Up Social Protection through Population Policy, Health Policy,
      Nutrition Policy, and Interventions Related to Economic Opportunity and Social
      Mobility

Based on work done for this paper, the Guidance Note for UNCTs makes a number of
proposals to Country Teams in this vitally important area of social protection. In order to
establish a firm analytical base for the suggested entry points, it draws attention to a number
of key considerations that should also engage the R/UNDG‘s full attention:

           ― ‗There are strong linkages and correlation between population growth and emission
            of greenhouse gases that cause climate change, and…communities experiencing high
            population growth are most vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change, such
            as water scarcity, failed crops, rise in sea level, and the spread of infectious
            diseases.‘37 That this statement highlighting the salience of the linkage between
            population growth, climate change and food security applies to the Arab
            States/MENA region can scarcely be doubted. … [The] Arab population is young and
            growing fast while Arab economies are not yet so diversified that they could turn this
            trend into a demographic gift.‖
           ―As confirmed by an important inter-governmental WHO decision38 on climate
            change and health, climate change impact in countries of the Eastern Mediterranean
            region is likely to slow down and possibly reverse their progress towards the health-
            related MDGs. The same decision recognized climate change as a threat to countries‘
            health security and endorsed a framework for health sector action in Member States to
            protect health from climate change. It also recognized a range of other climate-change
            threats, including threats to food security and safety. It called for strengthening
            national ‗health systems‘ preparedness to cope with the additional burden of climate-
            sensitive health problems‘, including ‗malnutrition associated with food insecurity‘‖.
           ―From the point of view of improving food security, education about nutrition and
            measures such as food fortification are likely to form essential elements of a multi-
            pronged strategy for countries of the region. Families need to be educated about the
            importance of a well-balanced diet, which would reduce the region‘s present heavy
            reliance on cereal consumption. Other measures are also needed to combat
            micronutrient malnutrition, it being kept in mind that iron, iodine and vitamin A
            deficiencies are prevalent in the Arab region. These and other possible interventions
            are discussed in the …World Bank/FAO/IFAD report on ―Improving Food Security in
            Arab Countries‖. When it comes to addressing nutrition effectively, as advocated by
            UNFPA, UNICEF and WHO, non-food issues are also important. These include
            protecting children from early marriage, girls‘ education, Food for Education
            interventions, immunization, and greater access to safe water and sanitation. All in all,
            the nutrition strategy must be a comprehensive one embracing the recommendations
            of the World Bank/FAO/IFAD report but going well beyond them as well.‖
           ―It is generally accepted in the development literature for the region that most existing
            safety nets are unnecessarily costly, wasteful, inflexible and untargeted or
            ineffectively targeted, resulting in benefits being captured very substantially by the
            non-poor. So, it is not surprising that the previously discussed World
            Bank/FAO/IFAD report recommends that the design of safety nets be improved not
            only ‗to dampen the effects of food-price shocks [but also] prevent them from doing
            permanent damage‘. Accordingly, it calls for replacing a currently prevalent system of
            targeting benefits by categories that ‗are not limited to the poor, and do not

37
     Asian Forum of Parliamentarians for Population and Development, 2008 – cited in UNFPA 2009, page 67.
38
   Resolution EM/RC55/R.8 of October 2008 adopted by the WHO Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean at its
fifty-fifth session.
                                                                                                                       49
             necessarily cover the poorest sectors of the population.‘ A better targeting strategy
             would use a proxy-means test and couple this with geographical targeting. The above
             cited goes on to make a range of recommendations clustered around three additional
             themes: (a) ‗Employ cash transfers, because they may be more cost-effective than in-
             kind subsidies‘; (b) ‗Strengthen program coordination and enhance payment
             mechanisms to improve resource efficiency‘; and (c) ‗Implement safety nets that are
             flexible enough to be scaled up when shocks strike and scaled down when they
             recede.‘‖
            ―Two other issues need to be highlighted. First, it would appear essential for UNCTs
             to encourage their governmental partners to construct safety nets in such a way that
             they are embedded from the outset in social protection systems linked to inclusive
             broad-based development policies. Such policies must keep in mind that the reduction
             of hunger and under-nutrition in the context of climate change requires not only
             socially targeted programmes, but also broad-based investments in greater economic
             opportunities and social mobility. The socio-economic empowerment of women,
             including the reduction or elimination of gender inequalities in matters of access and
             coverage, will be particularly crucial. The second issue is that climate adaptation
             policies have so far given inadequate attention to social protection systems. That they
             have an important contribution to make to the reduction of vulnerability to climate
             change has not been appropriately recognized (Parry et al. 2009, pp. 41-42).‖


Taking the above issues into account, the UNCTs‘ Guidance Note recommends, as options,
the following entry points to Country Teams:

            Promote a broad-based approach to reproductive health as a top-level national
             development objective.
            Provide multi-sectoral support to protecting regional health from climate change and
             promoting thereby regional food security in the context of climate change.
            Promote comprehensive national nutrition strategies.
            Promote coherent policy frameworks for safety nets in the region.
            Explore linkages between country social protection efforts and the UN system‘s
             Social Protection Floor Initiative.
            Foster a national debate on using social protection as a ―major element in the policy
             arsenal for effective adaptation to climate change‖.39


Again because of social protection‘s vital importance in addressing the complex climate
change-food security nexus, the R/UNDG will need to give special attention to reinforcing
UNCTs in a number of ways. While much will depend upon the requests that may emerge
from Country Teams, the R/UNDG might appropriately keep in mind a number of entry
points for both assistance to UNCTs and initiatives it could directly take at regional and
global levels. These are discussed below:

Consider preparation of regional guidance for a multi-dimensional rights-based
approach to reproductive health. Contrary to conventional thinking, access to family
planning services should not be seen as a strategy directly addressing food security. There are
countries in the Arab States/MENA region where food insecurity is significant even though
they have succeeded in creating widespread use of family planning methods. Also, despite
the use of contraception being high in the region‘s urban areas, food security in these areas is

39
     Parry et al. 2009, p.41.
                                                                                                       50
a serious problem.40 It is not that family planning is not relevant to food security; it is rather
that, as the UNCTs‘ Guidance Note advocates, the objective of policy in the region should be
to realize a fundamentally important and much wider goal agreed by the global community
through the 20-year Programme of Action that the International Conference on Population
and Development adopted at Cairo in 1994 in Cairo. This milestone document made the
argument ―that if needs for voluntary family planning and reproductive health are met, along
with other basic health and education services, then population stabilization will occur
naturally…‖ (UNFPA 2009a, page 9.) So, the Guidance Note calls upon UNCTs to promote
national policies that focus more on a multi-dimensional rights-based approach creating
convergence between strategies for access to reproductive health within a continuum of care
framework, improved education of girls, and gender equality, including economic
opportunities for women.41 To facilitate this, the R/UNDG should consider requesting
UNFPA, UNICEF and WHO to provide UNCTs with region-specific guidance in this regard,
keeping in mind that the suggested holistic approach this will create a confluence between the
addressing of food security and the addressing of climate change.42 Also relevant is the fact
that promoting a policy and programmatic approach along these lines will imply a need for
the R/UNDG to broaden the strategy advocated for family planning services in the World
Bank/FAO/IFAD report on food security in Arab countries. An appropriate R/UNDG
discussion on this matter, especially with the Bank and IFAD, which are not presently
represented on the Team, may also be desirable.

Promote regional analysis of climate change impact on the status of nutrition in the
Arab States/MENA region and foster South-South peer learning in nutrition-sensitive
development programming. In recommending to UNCTs the promotion of comprehensive
national nutrition strategies–-strategies embracing not only food-related matters but also such
non-food issues as protecting children from early marriage, girls‘ education, Food for
Education programmes, immunization, and access to safe water and sanitation--, the
Guidance Note suggests that they draw upon three instruments, two global and one regional,
these being the updated Comprehensive Framework of Action of the High-level Task Force
on the Global Food Security Crisis (the Dublin draft of May 201043); the HLTF-supported
policy brief entitled ―Scaling-up Nutrition (SUN): A Framework for Action‖44; and a
Regional Nutrition Strategy for the Eastern Mediterranean developed in 2009 by WHO in
consultation with Member States and with the support of WFP, FAO and UNICEF. While
UNCTs should certainly proceed with these and related ideas put forward in the Guidance
Note, supplementary action by the R/UNDG may be desirable along two lines. Though the

40
   For these insights, this paper is indebted to consultations with UNFPA.
41
   ―The empowerment of girls and women has a direct impact on maternal and child health. Education, in particular, can
lower the exposure of girls and women to maternity risks. Research shows that educated adolescents are more likely to wait
until after their teenage years to start families … In addition to delaying pregnancy, studies show that educated mothers are
more likely to immunize their children, be better informed about nutrition, and use improved birth spacing practices‖
(UNICEF 2009, pages 7 & 8 of Executive Summary).
42
   ―There are strong linkages and correlation between population growth and emission of greenhouse gases that cause
climate change, and … communities experiencing high population growth are most vulnerable to the negative effects of
climate change, such as water scarcity, failed crops, rise in sea level, and the spread of infectious diseases.‖ (Asian Forum of
Parliamentarians for Population and Development, 2008 – cited in UNFPA 2009, page 67.) So, as SWOP 2009 points out,
―Societies‘ adaptation and resilience to climate change can benefit from greater gender equality and access to reproductive
health care‖ (Ibid, page 66). And, ultimately, both will yield ―benefits in poverty alleviation and the management of natural
resources and the environment‖ (Ibid) – benefits directly relevant to solving the food security problem.
43
     UN 2010b.
44
     UN 2010c.
                                                                                                                                   51
three instruments recommended to the UNCTs are quite comprehensive, it would be prudent
to consider the issue also from a climate change-food security nexus vantage point and see if
additional action is now not needed to ascertain the impact of climate change on the status of
nutrition in the region. It may be desirable for the R/UNDG, in consultation with the RCM, to
promote an appropriate regional analysis and eventually revisit the guidance given to
UNCTs. Secondly, the SUN policy brief draws attention to a number of developing countries
– Mexico, Brazil, China, South Africa, Thailand, Vietnam and Senegal – having successfully
designed nutrition-sensitive development programmes. That countries in the Arab
States/MENA region should draw upon this experience has already been advocated in the
Guidance Note. The R/UNDG could reinforce UNCTs by promoting in a systematic way a
regional approach to South-South peer learning in this area.

Reinforce UNCTs’ efforts in promoting regional health from climate change. While the
UNCTs‘ Guidance Note calls upon Country Teams to provide multi-sectoral support to
implementing the framework for health sector action adopted by the WHO Regional
Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean in all its components, it recommends an emphasis
on two objectives, namely, the focus of public health concerns and health protection from
climate change in national, regional and international action on climate change; and the
promotion of ‗healthy‘ development strategies in other sectors that protect and promote
health and mitigate climate change. The R/UNDG could add value to the work of UNCTs in
these areas by fostering convergence between such ‗healthy‘ development strategies and the
previously discussed nutrition-sensitive development programmes. Action along these lines
might also respond to an important issue to which attention has been drawn by a new book on
the impact of climate change on the health of people around the world: ―Climate change
impact threatens health directly, causing lethal heat waves, spreading insect-borne disease,
worsening air quality, and more. But it also threatens health indirectly by the long-term and
pervasive decline of the world‘s ecosystems‖ (Epstein & Ferber, 2011, p.4). The
aforementioned regional analysis of the impact of climate change on the status of nutrition in
Arab Sates/MENA countries could itself serve as a contribution to creating a linkage between
action for direct threats and the addressing of more indirect threats.

Encourage the embedding of social protection systems in inclusive broad-based development
policies, keeping in mind the previous discussion in this paper on the importance of
appropriate overall economic and social policy. This would bring into play support for
UNCTs‘ implementation of two sets of Guidance Note recommendations, namely, the ideas
concerning coherent policy frameworks for safety nets, and the suggested linking of national
social protection actions to the UN system‘s Social Protection Floor Initiative. To turn first to
the latter issue, actions at country level will surely be facilitated if the R/UNDG could work
out a region-wide institutional arrangement or understanding with ILO and WHO, the
Initiative‘s lead agencies. As regards the other, more substantive and more important
concern, the R/UNDG might consider two things. It could promote South-South cooperation
in this area, since regional countries could gain from best practices developed in other
developing countries, both inside and outside the region.45 It could also promote ideas such as
the life-cycle approach to hunger and under-nutrition represents. This is designed to break the

45
   A South-South dialogue on the Social Protection Initiative took place in UN Headquarters in New York on 2 February
2010. It was recognized at this meeting that social protection is an area where there is good scope for South-South
knowledge transfer and capacity development. An interesting idea being discussed is the creation of a consortium of member
states from the South in supporting efforts to establish and expand social protection floors.
                                                                                                                             52
vicious cycle of undernourishment that starts with malnourished mothers, continues with
malnourished children, and leads again to malnourished mothers. Targeting mothers,
newborns, and infants with adequate food access, education about the value of adequate
nutrition and related educational and health interventions can help break this cycle, especially
if such action is accompanied by the socio-economic empowerment of women along lines
advocated by SWOP 2009 for the reduction or elimination of gender inequalities in matters of
access and coverage. Such a strategy could potentially create a common approach to food
insecurity and climate change adaptation.

Provide a regional umbrella for UNCT actions aimed at using social protection as a major
instrument for climate change adaptation though regional and global initiatives. As noted
above, the Guidance Note argues that this is a neglected area and calls upon UNCTs to assist
countries in correcting the situation. The Note also makes substantive suggestions in this
regard. The R/UNDG could supplement country-level actions by considering a regional
analysis on the question, linking it to the previously recommended study on the impact of
climate change on the status of nutrition in the region. Additionally, bearing in mind the
previously noted Chatham House recommendation regarding social protection‘s potential to
create a desirable blurring of the line between relief and development as well a suggestion
from the same source that the HLTF would be a good place ―for working out the operational
implications of a more seamless approach to social protection‖46, the RDT might suggest to
the HLTF that it indeed take up this task not only in relation to food security but also climate
change, given the nexus between the two things. Since this is likely to require consultation
between the HLTF and the Secretary-General‘s Climate Change Support Team, the RDT
should also consider bringing this issue to the attention of the latter group.




46
     See again Chatham House 2009, page 114.
                                                                                                   53
4.4 Migration and Conflict

SWOP 2009 points out that ―[national] and international policies are needed to address
environmentally induced population movements. National Adaptation Programmes of Action
do not yet include provisions for migration, and national migration management policies do
not yet incorporate environment and climate-change considerations‖ (UNFPA 2009a, page
37). These policy gaps are critically important and need to be addressed as part of policy
dedicated to the nexus between climate change and food security. Accordingly, the UNCTs‘
Guidance Note recommends to Country Teams the following entry point for country level
action:

        Promote a policy dialogue with national authorities on introducing migration-related
         interventions into national climate adaptation frameworks and modifying national
         migration management programmes to include attention to climate change impacts.
         These considerations, the Guidance Note adds, should also influence action with
         regard to the previously recommended integrated approach to DRR frameworks and
         climate change adaptation frameworks.


In supplementing and reinforcing UNCTs in this area, the R/UNDG will need to keep in mind
the following IOM recommendation that the Guidance Note has also brought to UNCTs‘
attention: ―Development and adaptation policies in potential source countries of forced
climate migrants need to focus on reducing people‘s vulnerability to climate change, moving
people way from marginal areas and supporting livelihoods that are more resilient. In
particular more efficient use of existing resources would offset some of the predicted impacts
of climate change‖ (Brown 2008, pages 41-42).47 It should additionally consider the
following entry point for action at the regional level:

In consultation with IOM, promote a regional research and knowledge management
programme responding the following needs: “A great deal [of] …research is needed to
understand the causes and consequences of climate migration and to monitor numbers.
Practitioners, meanwhile, should develop better communication and working
relationships between different human rights, population, environmental and migration
organizations that share a mandate to respond to population displacement” (Ibid. page
42
   ).

In dealing with the food security-climate change issue in the region, there is another
important consideration, which is often linked to migration. In parts of the region, the
problem of human conflict may also have to be taken into account, for such conflict is being
fueled by climate change impact with ever increasing negative consequences for food
security. The Guidance Note for UNCTs makes the following analytical points in this regard:


47
  As indicated in the UNCTs‘ Guidance Note, concrete ideas in this regard could be taken from the previously cited Syria
Drought Response Plan. In the Syrian situation, a chronic drought emergency induced by climate variability has led to
migration expanding from being seasonal to semi-permanent and to including entire families. ―Children have been
withdrawn from schools due to migration, because the family can no longer afford the cost of education or because they are
needed to contribute to the family‘s income, and are sometimes even moved out of the country‖ (UN 2009 b, p.8). An
agriculture and livelihoods intervention foreseen in the Plan will involve IOM‘s participation and will include measures to
assist migrants to re-start livelihoods in areas of origin.



                                                                                                                              54
      ―A recent analysis cited in an Oxfam report estimated that, in the world as a whole, 46
       countries would likely face a ‗high risk of violent conflict‘ with climate change
       exacerbating traditional security threats (Smith and Vivekananda 2007).‖
      ―Within the Arab States/MENA region, a highly visible case in point is the Darfur
       crisis, wherein a chronic local conflict entailing competition between pastoralists and
       farmers has been overlaid by a wider political problem. But Darfur is not the only
       locus of possible conflict arising from climate change and food security concerns. An
       UNEP assessment of 2007 indicated that other Sudanese regions (e.g. Southern
       Kordofan) could experience resumption of past inter-group conflicts on account of
       new environmental and household food security pressures (UNEP 2007).‖
      ―A recent ESCWA report on food security and conflict in the Commission‘s region
       not only identifies the Middle East as the region with the world‘s longest continuous
       conflict history, but also one that keeps on adding new ones. The region is subject to
       both complex inter- and intra state conflicts. All conflicts have high regional spillover
       potentials. The report highlights as threats to peace the Arab-Israeli conflict, climate
       change, unequal socio-economic development, water scarcity, state fragility, intra-
       societal tensions, fast population growth, and youth unemployment. While rentier
       state behavior and generous social safety nets have helped in the past to contain the
       explosiveness of these challenges, with the supply of basic needs under threat, the
       minimum insurance against the outbreak of more conflict is disappearing. The
       ESCWA report highlights food security as a regional challenge that calls out for
       regional cooperation. As the Arab region is among the least integrated in the world
       and previous integration efforts tended to be ideological rather than economic,
       regional cooperation to promote food security is an opportunity to break with this past
       and to initiate meaningful economic deepening (ESCWA 2010).‖
      ―SWOP 2009 warns against sweeping conclusions about the relationship between
       climate change and conflict. It says nonetheless that ‗the point still holds: conflict and
       its ancillary impacts are among those impacts of climate change to which we should
       apply the precautionary principle and anticipate even if we cannot predict.‘ And so it
       calls for further research and for ‗targeted constructive interventions‘ (UNFPA 2009a,
       page 47).‖


Based on these considerations, the Guidance Note suggests for Country Teams the following
possible interventions:

―Promote multi-stakeholder discussions on links between migration and conflict, on the one
hand, and the food security-climate change nexus on the other. In consultation with UNEP
and ESCWA, promote also, as appropriate, the incorporation of the human conflict
dimension into the previously recommended integrated approach to DRR and climate change
adaptation frameworks. If needed, targeted interventions should be explored and provided
for. For the reasons indicated in the above-cited ESCWA report, UNCTs should also promote
regional cooperation in this critical field in concert with the R/UNDG, taking into account
recommendations made in this paper with regard to such cooperation.‖

The ESCWA report discussed above makes an eloquent plea for more effective regional
cooperation in addressing food insecurity in the region. An important message emerging from
the present paper is that such cooperation becomes even more compelling and urgent if the
nexus between climate change and food security is factored into the analysis. The R/UNDG


                                                                                                    55
is well placed to help regional governments to operationalize this critical regional priority.
The following entry point is therefore suggested for it:



Taking into account the specific regional cooperation suggestions in this paper and in
concert with the RCM and UNCTs, promote a comprehensive approach to regional
cooperation focused on the climate change-food security nexus in the Arab
States/MENA region, inclusive of attention to migration and conflict.

Specifically, why not consider launching a regional multi-agency umbrella programme for
appropriate project and programme development in the areas recommended in this paper?
Such a programme could prepare business plans and feasibility studies for the desired
regional interventions and provide also for the wide-ranging consultations that will be
required – not only with regional governments but also with regional business and civil
society organizations, with regional development finance institutions, and with sovereign
wealth funds.

4.5 International Trade and Macro-Economic Policy

―If a single conclusion of over-riding policy importance could be drawn from the preceding
analysis and accompanying recommendations, it is the following: countries of the Arab
States/MENA region need to promote economic diversification not only as a matter of
economic and social development policy in pursuance of the MDGs, but also specifically as a
means of reducing vulnerability to food insecurity and climate change. It is only through such
diversification that regional countries‘ resilience to food insecurity and climate impacts could
be firmly established on a long-term basis.‖ Having given this message to UNCTs, the
Guidance Note for Country Teams presents options for international trade policy and macro-
economic policy arising from this basic consideration.

4.5.1 Options for International Trade

As the Guidance Note says, ―Globally, four issues are critically important for international
cooperation in the international trade area: promoting the conclusion of the Doha
Development Round, monitoring trade and investment measures to counter protectionism,
monitoring trade finance markets, and rapid delivery of Aid for Trade. Seen from the
perspective of UNCTs, scope for trade-related UN system operational activities for
development at country level would lie most of all in the Aid for Trade area.‖ The following
entry points are suggested to UNCTs in the region:

      In relation to the trade sector, give highest priority to Aid for Trade, not only with
       reference to food security but also because of climate change.
      In respect of the Arab States/MENA region‘s least developed countries (LDCs), give
       attention to the Expanded Integrated Framework for Trade-related Technical
       Assistance.
      Foster national policy debates and analysis on linking trade policy to food security
       policy and climate change policy.




                                                                                                   56
While, as in the other areas, specific R/UNDG support to UNCT efforts will depend upon
Country Team requests, it might give particular attention to the following entry point:

Undertake a dialogue with the three Geneva-based trade-related international agencies
– WTO, UNCTAD, and ITC – on the contribution that trade policy could make to
regional efforts to address the climate change-food security nexus.

The Guidance Note highlights certain issues that should also engage the R/UNDG‘s attention.
There are five main points here. First, there should be a focus on integrating national export
development strategies into overall development strategies together with so designing export
strategies that they serve as pro-poor development instruments even as they pursue food
security and environmental protection goals.48 Secondly, priority must be given to providing
small farmers with access to regional and global markets as well as to using trade as a means
of empowering women. Thirdly, the R/UNDG might keep in mind that with the Fourth
United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries taking place in May 2011,
increased attention to LDCs‘ trade and development needs, especially in the context of
economic diversification stemming from productive sector development, is again being seen
as an international priority. Fourthly, the dialogue with the trade agencies might include
attention to the application of the virtual water concept as a driver of trade policy and the
promotion of regional integration for food security. And, fifthly, the dialogue‘s agenda might
include policy advisory and capacity development support to enable regional countries to
participate more effectively in international negotiations for a range of issues: developed
country agricultural liberalization; integration of security of supply into global trade rules,
especially on the matter of export suspensions of food; and the linkage of trade liberalization
with mitigation of and adaptation to climate change.49

4.5.2 Macro-economic policy issues

Having provided Country Teams with information taken from the HLTF‘s progress report for
April 2008-October 2009 with respect to support provided by the World Bank, IMF and
UNDP to developing countries in macro-economic policy responses to the food security crisis
as well as additional information on analytical UNDP support to macro-economic policy in
Yemen and Syria, the Guidance Note for UNCTs draws attention to a critically-important
issue. While the previously cited LAS-UNDP report correctly argued that, with food and fuel
prices having declined in 2008‘s second half, ―Arab countries now have more leeway to
address the food security challenge by enacting macroeconomic policies that would increase
the fiscal space available for financing investment in agriculture and rural investment‖
(LAS/UNDP 2009b), with global food prices having increased sharply once again in recent
months, that window of opportunity may again be contracting, if not closing. The conclusion
48
   This would include efforts to generate ―exports that are compatible with meeting food security goals‖ and an emphasis
also on ―exports that are less detrimental or, even better, beneficial to the natural environment through the production and
consumption stages‖ (Browne, 2008) – the latter calling for innovative action aimed at expanding trade in low-emission
products and services.
49
   The last-mentioned matter is especially important for developing countries, for currently trade and climate change
negotiations are being managed at global level through separate legal regimes. Convergence and coordination in this regard,
inclusive of food security concerns, is likely better to serve developing countries‘ interests and those of the international
community as a whole.




                                                                                                                                57
for policy is clear. As the Guidance Note says, ―regional countries must give renewed and
reinforced attention to targeted social safety nets and social protection programmes and to
agricultural investment, especially small-scale farming systems. Linked investments and
policy reforms in the water and energy sectors will also be essential.‖ The Guidance Note
accordingly recommends to UNCTs the following entry point:

        Engage with national authorities and the Bretton Woods institutions on the question of
         fiscal space and see how UNDAF programming could facilitate policy dialogue and
         reform in this area. Consider also if multi-stakeholder interaction bringing together
         the public sector with the private sector and civil society organizations as well as
         academic institutions and think tanks could not make a much-needed contribution.
         Maximize your convening power.


As argued in the Guidance Note, Country Team actions in this policy space will need support
and reinforcement from the R/UNDG. In many countries of the region the current high level
of subsidies such as those for fossil fuel consumption will make efforts to shift to low-
emission and climate resilience approaches very difficult. The high dependence of some
countries on oil imports is also taking away from public expenditures on social protection
programmes. So, as previously discussed in this paper, a regional approach to the climate
change-food security nexus, inclusive of focused intra-regional fiscal support and regional
FDI, needs to be fostered at the regional level as well as through country-level support. For
all these reasons, the R/UNDG needs to consider the following entry point for itself:

Examine, with technical support from UNDP and ESCWA and in consultation with the
Bretton Woods institutions, the Department of Economic and Social Affairs and
UNCTAD, how it could best provide effective support to UNCTs in helping keep Arab
countries’ fiscal space open in light of the region’s enormous challenges with respect to
the climate change-food security nexus.

This paper has referred to existing regional inter-governmental normative agreements having
a bearing on both food security and climate change. It should additionally be noted that, at the
League of Arab States‘ request, UNEP‘s Regional Office for West Asia is supporting the
preparation of an Arab Framework of Action on Climate Change scheduled for approval in
2011. Taking these instruments into account, ideas for intra-regional fiscal support and
regional FDI now need to be developed. But this is not all. Regional action, no matter how
extensive, cannot ultimately substitute for national policy. In terms of both country-focused
advisory assistance and capacity development support, innovative ideas, inclusive of South-
South cooperation, are very much needed. To this end, regional institutional measures may
be helpful.

A related issue, also discussed in the UNCTs‘ Guidance Note, is the following. For selected
countries in the region, access to new sources of international funding, such as the World-
Bank-administered Global Agriculture and Food Security program (GAFSP), need to be
explored.50 UNCTs are already giving attention to the GEF and resources the Fund is
administering as the funding mechanism of the UNFCC, namely, the Special Climate Change
Fund, the Least Developed Countries‘ Fund and the Adaptation Fund. Pending concrete

50
  As of the time the Guidance Note was prepared, only one regional country, Yemen, had submitted a proposal for GAFSP
funding.
                                                                                                                        58
progress in translating the Copenhagen Accord into a legal agreement, inclusive of progress
on the issues discussed in the report of the Secretary-General‘s Advisory Group on Climate
Change Financing,51 it would be prudent for the R/UNDG and UNCTs to give renewed
attention to other existing mechanisms – e.g., UN-REDD and two trust funds that are
managed by the World Bank jointly with the regional development banks, namely, the
Strategic Climate Fund and the Clean Technology Fund.52




51
   As indicated in the UNCTs‘ Guidance Note, the Group concluded that it is ―challenging but feasible‖ to reach the
Copenhagen Accord‘s goal of mobilizing $100 billion annually for climate actions in developing countries by the year 2020.
This would need to come from ―a variety of sources, public and private, bilateral and multilateral, including alternative
sources of finance, the scaling up of existing sources and increased private flows (UN 2010e, p.5). ―The regional
development banks, the World Bank, the United Nations system, other multilateral institutions and coordinated bilateral
programmes will be crucial in scaling up appropriate national climate actions,‖ the Group noted (Ibid, p.7).
52
   The Strategic Climate Fund has three windows: the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience, the Forest Investment Program,
and the Scaling Up renewable Energy in Low Income Countries Program.
                                                                                                                             59
5. Concluding Remarks and Some Institutional Proposals

In dealing with today‘s food security and climate change challenges, one is attempting to
adapt and render more resilient ecological systems and social and economic structures that
have extremely complex, interdependent, and changeable contexts and relationships.
Comprehensive inter-sectoral and multi-sectoral strategies are essential, therefore. Such
strategies must take into account a conundrum that lies at the heart of the food security-
climate change nexus. Global environmental change presents a huge challenge to the food
security of hundreds of millions of people in the world while, simultaneously, agriculture and
related activities contribute to climate change. Actions aimed at climate change adaptation
may impair food security while food security-promoting strategies could fortify climate
change. Willingness and ability to cope with complexity and make difficult trade-offs are
inescapable necessities.

The HLTF‘s Comprehensive Framework of Action represents a UN system-wide effort to
mount the kind of holistic approach that these considerations demand. Currently, the CFA is
being revised to make it even more holistic. This, according to the Task Force‘s progress
report for April 2008-October 2009, is a response to stakeholders having requested ―more
emphasis on nutrition, social protection and trade‖ as well as ―additional analysis on such
issues as land acquisitions, employment, water use and adaptation to climate change‖ (UN
2009, page 4).

From the R/UNDG‘s perspective, the proposal to revise the CFA better to address the linkage
between food security and climate change is most welcome for vitally important substantive
reasons – reasons discussed above in this paper‘s thematic sections. But there is another
significant reason. Reviews of country level interventions and interaction with UNCTs
undertaken in preparing this paper have yielded the impression that while country teams have
been addressing both food security and climate change and doing so in impressive ways, the
two sets of activities seem to be proceeding on parallel tracks with insufficient attention given
to creating needed intersections. A complete merger of programming food security activities
with programming climate change interventions is likely to be too difficult. Yet, because of
the strong nexus that exists between food security and climate change, programming links are
essential and need to be aggressively forged. This key message has been transmitted to
Country Teams in the region through the Guidance Note for UNCTs.

The HLTF progress report for April 2008-October 2009 as well as the Dublin Draft of the
Updated CFA draws attention to another important issue. As advocated by the Secretary-
General in a 2009 statement, while the CFA‘s twin track approach of meeting ―urgent hunger
and humanitarian needs by providing food and nutrition assistance and safety nets, while
focusing on improving food production and smallholder agriculture‖ has proved effective, we
need now ―to add a add a third track – the right to food – as a basis for analysis, action and
accountability‖ (UN 2009, 4). The UNCTs‘ Guidance Note provides the following advice,
therefore:

―In the Arab States/MENA region, not enough seems to have been done, at both country and
regional levels, explicitly and systematically, to promote the right to food and to link such
action to the climate change-food security nexus. Greater attention to mainstreaming the right


                                                                                                    60
to food is clearly needed.53 It must be kept in mind that the recent MDG Review Summit
Outcome document affirmed this right in the most robust terms. It recognized ‗the right of
everyone to have access to safe, sufficient and nutritious food, consistent with the right to
adequate food and the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger, so as to be able
to fully develop and maintain his or her physical and mental capacities.‘ This guidance note
has drawn attention to a governance issues arising in particular from the need to ensure
equitable access to scarce natural resources and to public goods in the sphere of social
protection and social empowerment. A rights-based programming approach will reinforce the
attainment of these basic goals.‖

Quite clearly, the R/UNDG must lend its weight unreservedly and completely to meeting this
concern.

Recent UNDG discussions54 have highlighted the strategic importance of developing a new
21st century development paradigm linking poverty and climate change, tackling climate
change in the context of the MDGs, and affirming the centrality of human rights in
development. It is clear from this paper‘s analysis that the ideas and actions it advocates, as
well as those recommended in the Guidance Note for UNCTs, will help the R/UNDG (and
UNCTs) to make a contribution of signal importance to the achievement of these UNDG‘s
goals.

It is equally clear that the actions proposed will serve another UNDG goal – namely, a move
to joint programming. As noted by the UNDG Chair in late 2009, ―21% of total ODA passes
through the UN and we need to scale up for maximum impact through joint programmes.‖ In
a resource-constrained environment, ―agencies must embrace joint programming in areas
where they bring relevant skills and expertise to make the most of existing or additional
financing.‖ Another member of the UNDG called for a move from projects to a more
programmatic and strategic level. In terms of not only regional initiatives but also support to
UNCTs, the ideas recommended by this paper and the UNCTs‘ Guidance Note will serve the
cause of joint programming and strategic upstream programming.

While the paper believes that its analysis and policy recommendations, inclusive of the
UNCTs‘ Guidance Note, represent an extremely solid start, it also feels that the R/UNDG, as
a managerially oriented forum, will need to look into issues of inter-se priorities and
sequencing, the elaboration in operational terms of the strategy being proposed, and
determining in this context how best to respond to bottom-up demand from UNCTs. Another
issue of importance is the translation of the ideas advanced in this paper into sub-regional
strategies, the Arab States/MENA region being a composite of diverse sub-regional realities –
this being a matter this paper could not address owing to time and resource constraints.
Substantive backstopping for reaching out to regional institutions, including regional banks
and funds and even sovereign wealth funds, and to the private sector and civil society
organizations would also be an important need. The R/UNDG needs, for all these reasons, to
set up a regional inter-agency thematic working group on food security and climate change to
assist it to carry out the proposed strategy. Consultations undertaken within the framework of
53
   The Voluntary Guidelines to Support the Progressive Realization of the Right to Adequate Food in
the Context of National Food Security, adopted by FAO Council in 2004, offer policies and practical
guidance for this approach. They provide a reference framework for civil society, private sector and
government institutions in the development of their programmes.
54
   See in particular the reports of the UNDG meetings held on 12 October and 30 November 2009.
                                                                                                       61
this paper indicated support for such a subsidiary forum, given the importance of the many
issues that will need to be discussed on an inter-agency and cross-sectoral basis. It must be
acknowledged, however, that this support is not universal. Indeed, the view was also
expressed that the RCM having established a working group on food security and another
working group on climate change, a third group dedicated to both these topics may prove
substantively redundant and institutionally unsustainable. Given this duality of view, the
R/UNDG might defer action on the matter of a full-fledged working group on the climate-
change nexus and consider in its place a less ambitious but still desirable option. This could
take the form of a regional knowledge management group dedicated to that nexus. That there
is a crying need in the Arab States/MENA region for knowledge sharing and learning on the
linkage between climate change and food security can scarcely be disputed. This is not only a
matter of the programming gaps that have noted above. Even at the analytical plane, inclusive
of the academic world at global level, not enough attention has been given to the nexus
between climate change and food security. Given its salience for the region, a working group
on related regional knowledge management would surely be justified.

The second institutional proposal that needs to be considered by the R/UNDG is the
following: Four agencies should be requested – or once again requested, if that is what is
applicable – to join the Group. Given the issues discussed in this paper on climate-related
migration, IOM should clearly be represented on the R/UNDG. Two of the three Rome-based
food and agriculture-related agencies – FAO and WFP – are R/UNDG members, but not
IFAD. Surely, it is critical that the R/UNDG‘s work be enriched by IFAD‘s participation. The
same applies to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The IMF and the
World Bank are both members of the HLTF. Of the two, the Bank, because of its
development-focused mandate, has a vital role to play in addressing the MDGs in the Arab
States/MENA region and could become a most important partner in responding to the food
security-climate change challenges the region is beset with.

Both this paper and the Guidance Note for UNCTs have drawn attention to the advice given
by the Secretary-General to Resident Coordinators and Country Representatives of HLTF
members on 10 December 2009 and again on 16 June 2010 on action addressing the global
food security crisis. With global food prices again rising at the time of this writing, the need
for the partnerships advocated by the Secretary-General – with the World Bank and others –
is more compelling than ever. The Guidance Note says that UNCTs would be well advised to
align their actions with his advice in formulating their policy recommendations to
governments. It would be desirable for the R/UNDG fully to support this alignment.

The UNCTs‘ Guidance Note says,

―Taking into account the Arab States/MENA region‘s specificities, UNCTs‘ actions on
partnerships must include sustained attention to collaboration with regional actors, within the
UN system and outside it, including the League of Arab States and its system of agencies. ‗If
one aggregates causes and impacts, then climate change is inescapably global‘ (Depledge, J.
& F.Yamin, 2009). So is food security and so is the nexus between climate change and food
security. Responses to the nexus must necessarily be international. An appropriate
international response must at the same time include a regional component, in terms of both
causes and impacts. The underlying factors are such that if they are to be effectively
addressed, synergy between national and regional actors will be essential. Indeed, a ‗regional

                                                                                                   62
approach can identify a wide variety of adaptation options and opportunities that only
become apparent when viewed at this spatial level‖ (Ingram et al, 2010, p. 219).‘‖

The R/UNDG has a solid agenda in front of it. The Arab States/MENA region is currently
going through turbulent and possibly transformational change. Whatever the outcome, one
thing is clear. Regional strategies and regional cooperation will become ever more important
for the work of the United Nations and its family of organizations in the region.




                                                                                               63
6. Maps




  Map 1- Annual drought severity 1901 - 2000
 (WFP, ICARDA - Climate and Drought Atlas for Parts of the Near East - June 2010)




                                                                                    64
Map 2 – Relative change in mean annual precipitation 2010-2040
(WFP, ICARDA - Climate and Drought Atlas for Parts of the Near East - June 2010)




                                                                                   65
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