Please join TRENDS Research and Advisory and the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative for a two-day conference on “Sustainable Security of the Middle East: Climate Change, Challenges, and Prospects.” This event will take place from Wednesday, September 28 through Thursday, September 29, 2022, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET on day one, and from 9:00 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET on day two, both in person at the Atlantic Council Headquarters and online.

This year’s conference will take the pulse of climate action in the region, explore environmental challenges and opportunities, and showcase ambitious solutions. The event’s plenary and panel sessions will offer unique perspectives that focus on resilience against climate risks, the transition to a low-emission economy, and collaboration to solve pressing challenges. The goal is to elicit insights from practitioners and experts from the region and beyond to formulate recommendations for policymakers.

Topic one

Over two days, the conference will address five topics. The first topic, “National security, climate change, and the Middle East: current challenges and future prospects,” will shed light on the perspective of climate change and national security in the region and how the issues manifest themselves in the Middle East. It will cover:

  • Ways in which climate change manifests in the Middle East and its impacts on the stability of the region
  • Environmental changes and global warming effects on public health
  • The correlation between extreme environmental events and increased migration flows
  • Climate change as a geopolitical challenge: adaptation and resilient development

Topic two

The second topic, “Impacts of resource scarcity and population growth in the Middle East,” will discuss the impacts of the war in Ukraine on the Middle East’s major agricultural imports—such as wheat, as well as the challenges that the region is facing in terms of rising food and water demands, especially in light of the projected increase in the region’s population. It will cover:

  • Future projections and impacts of the region’s population growth and droughts on food and water infrastructure
  • The strategic importance of water and the growing concept of cross-border water conflict in the Middle East
  • The impact of climate change on supply chain operations
  • Regional food security strategies and impacts of the war in Ukraine on major MENA agricultural imports, such as wheat

Topic three

The third topic, “Energy industries, infrastructure, and politics in the Middle East: opportunities and challenges for a clean energy transition,” will discuss the transition toward an energy system, in which environmentally friendly technologies and the potential for clean and sustainable energy sources play an increasingly significant role. It will cover:

  • The role of industrial partnerships in moving toward secure, low-carbon energy systems
  • Transformations of major energy-intensive industries in their quest to align with the sustainability goals
  • The impact of increasing regional gas supplies to Europe (in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine) on a swift transition to wind, solar, and hydrogen power
  • The impact of renewable power generation on urban infrastructure, transport systems, and electricity grids

Topic four

The fourth, “Between COP27 and COP28: Diplomatic efforts of Middle Eastern countries in addressing climate change,” will address the significance of climate summits in facilitating a transition to a lower-carbon economy and highlighting the importance of geopolitical factors related to climate diplomacy. It will cover:

  • New visions for building a sustainable environmental framework
  • Assessing the commitments and pledges made at COP 26
  • Climate Diplomacy as a growing Foreign Policy Challenge: COP 27 & COP 28

Topic five

The fifth topic, “Multilateral Green Security Initiatives: The start of a new green era towards collective environmental security in the Middle East,” will discuss the importance of regional and cooperative efforts in setting into action Middle East Green Security Initiatives as well as ways to mitigate the challenges posed by environmental ‘insecurity.’ It will cover:

  • Ways in which environmental measures and collective “green initiatives” can enhance regional security and adapt critical infrastructure systems to account for changing climate conditions
  • Regional use of MGIs to improve MENA countries’ ability to be global leaders in a post-carbon, resilient and inclusive economy
  • The economic aspects of sustainable environmental security and the required investments to achieve environmental security
  • The role of media in supporting the Middle East Green Security Initiatives

In partnership with

TRENDS Research and Advisory

Agenda

DAY 1 – September 28, 2022

9:00 a.m. ET

WELCOMING REMARKS

Jonathan Panikoff
Director, Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative
Middle East Programs

The Atlantic Council
Former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East
Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)

Mohammed Al-Ali
CEO
TRENDS Research and Advisory

9:05 a.m. ET

OPENING REMARKS

H.E. Sheikh Nahayan bin Mabarak Al Nahayan
Cabinet Member and Minister of Tolerance
United Arab Emirates

KEYNOTE REMARKS

Mr. David Livingston
Senior Advisor
Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate

US Department of State

9:25 a.m.
9:55 a.m. ET

NATIONAL SECURITY, CLIMATE CHANGE, AND THE MIDDLE EAST: CURRENT CHALLENGES AND FUTURE PROSPECTS

Ways in which climate change manifests in the Middle East and its impacts on the stability of the region
Aaisha Al Sarihi
Research Fellow
Middle East Institute
National University of Singapore, Republic of Singapore

Environmental changes and global warming effects on public health
Mazen Malkawi
Regional advisor
Centre for Environmental Health Action (CEHA)
World Health Organization

The correlation between extreme environmental events and increased migration flows

Carol Chouchani Cherfane
Director, Arab Centre for Climate Change Policies
Cluster Leader, Climate Change and Natural Resource Sustainability Cluster

United Nations Economic And Social Commission For Western Asia

Climate change as a geopolitical challenge: Adaptation and resilient development
Paul Sullivan
Lecturer, Energy and Environmental Security
John Hopkins University

Moderated by
Reena Ninan
Nonresident Senior Fellow, Adrienne Arsht – Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center
Atlantic Council
CEO/Co-Founder
news3dao

IMPACTS OF RESOURCE SCARCITY AND POPULATION GROWTH IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Future projections and impacts of the region’s population growth and droughts on the infrastructure of food and water systems
Eckart Woertz
Director of the Institute for Middle East Studies
German Institute for Global and Area Studies

The strategic importance of water and the growing concept of cross-border water conflict in the Middle East
Harry Verhoeven
Senior Research Scholar, Center on Global Energy Policy
Columbia University

The impact of climate change on supply chain operations
Hanan Bakr Sakr
Finance Resilience Lead
UN Climate Change High-Level Champions Team

Regional food security strategies and impacts of the war in Ukraine on major MENA agricultural imports, such as wheat
Svetlana Edmeades
Lead Agriculture Economist, Agriculture and Food Practice Group, Middle East and North Africa Region
World Bank Group

Moderated by
Kristian Alexander
Head of Strategic Studies Section
TRENDS Research & Advisory, UAE

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. ET
1:25 p.m. ET

KEYNOTE SPEECH

H.E. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber
Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology
Special Envoy for Climate

United Arab Emirates

ENERGY INDUSTRIES, INFRASTRUCTURE, AND POLITICS IN THE MIDDLE EAST: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES FOR A CLEAN ENERGY TRANSITION

The role of industrial partnerships in moving towards secure, low-carbon energy systems
Zoheir Hamedi
Regional Programme Officer for the Middle East and North Africa
International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

The impact of increasing regional gas supplies to Europe (in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine) on a swift transition to wind, solar, and hydrogen power
Olga Khakova
Deputy Director, European Energy Security
Global Energy Center

Atlantic Council

Transformations of major energy-intensive industries in their quest to align with the sustainability goals
Dr. Bora Guray
Director, Istanbul International Center for Energy and Climate (IICEC)
Sabanci University

Challenges to energy transition in the Middle East and North Africa
Syed Adeel Abbas
Regional Coordinator, Climate Change
The World Bank

The impact of renewable power generation on urban infrastructure, transport systems, and electricity grids
Tareq Emtairah
Director, Department of Energy
United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)

Moderated by
Erin Sikorsky

Director
The Center for Climate and Security
Director

The International Military Council on Climate and Security

1:45 p.m. ET

DAY 2 – September 29, 2022

9:00 a.m. ET

KEYNOTE SPEECH

H.E. Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri
Minister of Climate Change and Environment
United Arab Emirates

9:30 a.m. ET

BETWEEN COP27 AND COP28: DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS OF MIDDLE EASTERN COUNTRIES IN ADDRESSING CLIMATE CHANGE

New visions for building a sustainable environmental framework
Nuran Atef
Regional Lead for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)
United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative

Assessing the commitments and pledges made at COP 26
Asit K. Biswas
Distinguished Visiting Professor
University of Glasgow, UK

COP27
Osama El Gohary
Assistant to the Prime Minister, The Egyptian Cabinet
Chairman, Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC)

Arab Republic of Egypt

COP28
Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan
Executive Director
UAE Independent Climate Change Accelerators


Moderated by
Awadh Al Breiki
Chief Global Officer
TRENDS Research & Advisory

MULTILATERAL GREEN SECURITY INITIATIVES: THE START OF A NEW GREEN ERA TOWARDS COLLECTIVE ENVIRONMENTAL SECURITY IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Regional use of MGIs to improve MENA countries’ ability to be a global leader in a post- carbon, resilient and inclusive economy
Noura Mansouri
Research Fellow
King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC)
Research Affiliate
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The economic aspects of sustainable environmental security and the required investments to achieve environmental security
Alya Al Awadhi

Economics Researcher, Economic Studies Section
TRENDS Research & Advisory

The role of media in supporting the Middle East Green Security Initiatives
Hamad Al Kaabi
Editor in Chief
Al Ittihad News Paper

Moderated by
Mohammed Al Mulla
Founder and Director
Diwan Al-Mulla Network – Kuwait

10:35 a.m. ET
11:40 a.m. ET

RECOMMENDATIONS AND CLOSING REMARKS

William Wechsler
Senior Director, Rafik Hariri Center and Middle East Programs
Atlantic Council

Sumaya Al Hadhrami
Deputy Chief Global Officer
TRENDS Research & Advisory

LUNCH AND SOCIAL

11:55 a.m. ET
1:15 p.m. ET

END OF PROGRAM

MISTRESS OF CEREMONIES

Sumaya Al Hadhrami
Deputy Chief Global Officer
TRENDS Research & Advisory

Recap the 2021 event

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Through our Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East and Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative, the Atlantic Council works with allies and partners in Europe and the wider Middle East to protect US interests, build peace and security, and unlock the human potential of the region.

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