The two-day hybrid in-person and virtual convening will offer insights and ambitious solutions on urgent climate challenges from regional experts and government officials from the US and across the Middle East

WASHINGTON, DC – September 20, 2022 – The Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative and TRENDS Research and Advisory—an independent research and advisory center based in Abu Dhabi, UAE—will jointly host a two-day conference entitled Sustainable security of the Middle East: Climate change, challenges, and prospects. The conference will be held Wednesday, September 28 and Thursday, September 29, 2022, beginning at 9:00 am ET both days. Leading experts and government officials from the MENA region will engage live from the Atlantic Council’s Washington headquarters to take the pulse of climate change policy and potential action in the region, explore environmental challenges and opportunities, and showcase ambitious solutions. 

This year’s convening will offer unique perspectives on resilience against climate risks, the transition to low-emission economies, and collaboration to solve pressing challenges. The conference will bring together leading experts from climate-related disciplines and representatives of governments and world institutions—including the United Nations, World Bank, and the World Health Organization—to develop new and cross-sectoral perspectives to drive meaningful policy recommendations for policymakers in the Middle East and West.

“The Atlantic Council is honored to kick off the COP27 season by bringing together so many leading experts and decision-makers to address the myriad of critical challenges associated with climate change in the Middle East,” said Jonathan Panikoff, Director of the Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative at the Atlantic Council. “We know, empirically, that few regions in the world are likely to be as hard hit by climate change, so we must view itas among the most pressing security issues the Middle East will face over the coming decade and beyond.”

The MENA region is one of the most vulnerable to the impact of climate change. Average temperatures in the Middle East have risen more than double (1.5 degrees Celsius) the world’s average (0.7 degrees Celsius) over the past 30 years. MENA is already the most water-scarce region in the world and as population increases and agricultural demands rise, water and food scarcity will continue to climb and trigger follow-on challenges, to include migration. Moreover, states in the region are increasingly focused on access to clean water as an issue of national security and an additional source of conflict.

“The Middle East is among the regions most affected by the repercussions of climate change. Indeed, those repercussions have started to constitute a major threat to efforts to achieve sustainable security in the region. It is hoped that countries of the region will lead global efforts to confront global warming. In this context, Egypt and the UAE will respectively host two sessions of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP27 and COP28).” said Dr. Mohammed Al Ali, CEO of TRENDS Research and Advisory in the UAE. “This conference is significant in that it provides us with the opportunity to put forward ideas and perceptions that will help support regional and international efforts to address the threat of global warming as well as help us gain a better understanding of the challenges that hampered previous efforts.”

The decision by the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative, and TRENDS Research and Advisory, to emphasize climate adaptation, financing, and mitigation just weeks ahead of the  Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 27) in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt on 7-18 November, reflects our joint view on the need to emphasize the convergence between the dangers and prospects of climate change, and economic and security priorities of the region.

The 2022 Annual Conference on the Middle East’s Climate Challenges and Prospects
will be on the record and open to media. To register for the 2022 conference, and to view the agenda and participating speakers, please visit our website.

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