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Crises, Climate Change, and Social Justice – Policy Implications for the Middle East
Abstract by Dr. Andreas Rechkemmer
Coauthors: Anis Ben Brik
On Session III-29  (Climate Change, The Environment, and Natural Disasters)

On Friday, November 3 at 8:30 am

2023 Annual Meeting

Any climate policy framework ought to fit and mirror the realities, challenges, and policy problems for which it is designed. Since climate change phenomenon is utterly complex and plays out at and affects various geographic scales and governance levels simultaneously, policy design must address regional, national, and local issues coherently. Moreover, climate change itself is often interlinked with other major policy problems and challenges, including poverty, inequality, economic crises, wars and violence, failing institutions and states, forced migration, pandemics, food/water/energy insecurity, and more. This “perfect storm” of major global crises, also called “wicked problems”, which often reinforce and aggravate one another via so-called “positive feedback loops”, seems to become a new normal for policymakers and public managers and is characterized by unprecedented non-linearity, complexity and multi-causality, often paired with a high level of ambiguity and uncertainty (Yamu, 2014; Chapman et al., 2017; Kovacic & Di Felice, 2019; Head, 2008, 2019; Head & Alford 2015; Peters, 2017). This “crisis of crises” – with climate change being perceived as its central, most impactful component – is particularly precarious and disruptive for the Gulf region and the GCC countries, which are already affected by multiple ecological, economic, social, and political challenges and chronic conditions requiring urgent policy intervention and public management. Enormous disparities in income, wealth, and access to services and benefits; path-dependent exclusive reliance on hydrocarbons as both the source of domestic energy generation and income generation and economic prosperity; and the rapid depletion of ecosystem-based natural resources paired with food and water insecurity as well as biodiversity loss and pollution are but three clusters that actively interact with climate change and its manifestations in rapid and unprecedent warming, heatwaves, drastic change of precipitation patterns, droughts and groundwater depletion, as well as sea-level rise, coastal erosion, flood inundation, saltwater intrusion and many more. Our paper demonstrates how climate change manifests itself as the epitome of social issues, inequality, and injustice for countries in theMiddle East. The paper’s overarching scope and objectives are to (A) review, appraise, and critically discuss the state-of-the-art knowledge of how climate change impacts affect social issues and challenges in the Middle East; (B) identify and critically appraise existing legal and policy frameworks, policy and public management measures and initiatives that are in place to address the above impacts and their effects; and (C) how critical gaps can be addressed through policy innovation, social progress, and institutional change.
Business & Public Administration
International Relations/Affairs
Political Science
Geographic Area
All Middle East
Sub Area