Originally posted June 2011
This concluding volume of the MEI Viewpoints series on the Environment and the Middle East explores the scope and modalities for region-wide and international cooperation to address the environmental challenges facing the Middle East. The implications of two such challenges that receive special attention in this volume — climate change and the increasing pressure on the Nile — are far-reaching and profound. As the contributors emphasize, though self-help is necessary, it is insufficient. Furthermore, international support for mitigating measures, while critical, should be geared toward projects that have a regional dimension.
Environmental issues, one author contends, are among the underlying causes of the revolutions that have spread throughout the region. If that is the case, perhaps the Arab Spring will yield a political order that is not only more transparent and accountable but more responsive to popular demands for responsible stewardship of the environment. This is the very outcome that the international community should help its regional partners to achieve.