Middle East forecast to be worst hit by climate change: report

World Government Summit study says extreme weather events could impact global stability and it urged private sector to help

The UAE is tackling the myriad challenges posed by global warming through innovative initiatives such as wind farms. A World Government Summit report has warned that climate change is set to wreak serious harm on global stability and development. Getty

The Middle East and North Africa region was likely to be the first to face the risk of depleting fresh water, with water scarcity projected to increase by 15 per cent in the event of a global warming of 2°C, a report released on Tuesday said.

The report, from the World Government Summit organisation, warned that climate change is set to wreak serious harm on global stability and development and it urged the private sector to do more to help the world avoid environmental catastrophes.

The report — compiled in partnership with PricewaterhouseCoopers and titled 'partnership to promote climate action - collaboration with the private sector' — cautioned that poorer communities and emerging economies were most vulnerable to climate change.

"The frequency and complexity of climate change-related events is leading to increased humanitarian challenges globally,” said Jaivir Singh, leader of the PwC Global Office for humanitarian affairs.

“Collective action by stakeholders across the board is needed for both immediate response and long-term resilience building of the communities most vulnerable, especially in the face of current and future uncertainties.”

A recent UN Security Council meeting heard how developing nations required more finance to adapt to rising temperatures to prevent wars from erupting over scarce resources.

Speaking at the UN meeting, the UAE's Special Envoy for Climate Change and Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, Dr Sultan Al Jaber, said climate impacts were “a matter of peace and security”.

Projects to mitigate risk that were funded by the private sector could help governments worldwide reduce deaths by preparing vulnerable communities for extreme weather events caused by climate change, the report said. Measures such as effective evacuation procedures, for example, could help to build trust.

Wildfires rage in Cyprus in 2021. The report found that the private sector could help governments around the world reduce loss of life by preparing vulnerable communities for extreme weather events. Iakovos Hatzistavrou 
/ AFP

The report also encouraged cross-border cooperation to address climate change challenges related to displaced populations, often with complex and widespread humanitarian needs.

Other recommendations included tracking organised cross-border movements of people during climate change events.

This including the movement of skilled volunteers, humanitarian agencies, and private-sector entities, to improve the quality of response to create organised safe areas protected by buffer zones.

“The prospect of mega-challenges must move us into action, bringing the width and depth of the private sector to collaborate with governments and civil society,” said Mr Singh.

“We must find solutions which have localised context at the heart of their planning with a focus on building capabilities and capacities of local institutions.”

Mohamed Al Sharhan, deputy managing director of the World Government Summit Organisation, said the body offers an opportunity to experts and high-level professionals from governments worldwide to discuss solutions to the main challenges globally. This would build a better future, he said.

The in-person World Government summit was held at Expo 2020 Dubai in March in the week that the world's fair came to an end.

The summit drew leaders from around the world and important topics from food security to energy supply were discussed.

The World Government Summit 2022 - in pictures

Updated: April 19, 2022, 3:09 PM