Social mobilisations and climate emergency in the southern neighbourhood and Turkey

Documento de trabajo
1 diciembre 2022
Itxaso Domínguez
Varios autores

Social mobilisations and climate emergency in the southern neighbourhood and Turkey

Climate change has become a global emergency. Like the vast majority of current global dynamics, it disproportionately affects the countries and communities of the Global South, including the countries of the southern Mediterranean basin both because of their location and their insufficient preparation. The implications of ongoing climate change were particularly acute throughout 2021 in the Middle East and North Africa (the so-called ‘MENA region’). The fires in the southern Mediterranean were just a one instance. This strong and increasingly evident impact of climate change comes on top of other uncertainties and contexts of tension and vulnerability of the population, whose human security is systematically threatened, and is even becoming a question of pure survival. In a little over 80 years, the landscapes that make up the region will be unrecognisable. By the end of the 21st century, rising temperatures could lead to huge swathes of land becoming uninhabitable. Increased aridity and salinisation will lead many already vulnerable countries to face insurmountable water, food, and energy shortages. However, international attention on the region seems to focus almost exclusively on war and political instability. The relationship between the climate emergency and the MENA region is also particularly relevant today, given that the next two COP (Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) summits will be held in two MENA countries. In November 2021, the Glasgow Climate Pact made it clear that ambitious goals were the only option for climate diplomacy’s next rendezvous. COP26 did not achieve the major progress needed on climate mitigation and emission reductions, still falling considerably short of the 1.5 degree target (even if achieved, the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has made clear that the consequences will continue to be drastic for the planet). It is against this background that Egypt will host COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh in November, and that COP28 will be hosted by the United Arab Emirates. They are not the first Arab states to host such meetings. Qatar hosted COP18 in 2012, which was marked by pro-climate demonstrations led mainly by young people and promoted by the authorities. COP22 was held in Marrakesh in November 2016, an occasion which turned the spotlight on domestic and regional climate activists, albeit without any tangible success.

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