This May, an interdisciplinary group of experts will connect together and explore the ramifications of water scarcity across the Middle East.
In a public symposium held at the Northwestern University, Illinois, the second annual symposium on water in the Middle East and Israel, will look at how water scarcity is driving conflict and social instability.
“Robust long-term solutions to water scarcity are necessary for stable societies in the Middle East, which is ground zero for this global threat because of an extremely limited water supply,” says Aaron Packman, Director of the Northwestern Center for Water Research.
“Drought and the associated reduction in food production contributed directly to the civil war in Syria and thus to the global migrant crisis we face today,” Packman said. “This connection between water crises, food crises, civil unrest and large-scale involuntary migration has been identified by the World Economic Forum as one of the most pressing global threats over the next five to 10 years.”
A word from the sponsors
The symposium will be sponsored by the Crown Family Center for Jewish and Israel Studies in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, as well as the Buffet Institute for Global Research.
Six scholars will come together and explore the technological solutions to water scarcity, including desalination and precision agriculture; the socio-political aspects of water security in the Middle East; and strategies for international cooperation to achieve water security, peace and health in the region while factoring the added complication of climate change.
As the region’s leader om water management technology, including efficient irrigation and cutting-edge desalinisation techniques, Elie Rekhees, Associate Director for Israel Studies in Weinberg believes collaboration is key.
“The international community, the United Nations, humanitarian NGOs and academic research institutes can — and should — play a major role in enhancing cooperative policy.”
Climate change and the Middle East
Water scarcity is a problem confounded by the effect climate change has on the Middle East. The stakes are high to develop more resilient water systems and use water more efficiently in the region, especially with the specter of climate-change induced changes in precipitation patterns looming.
“The Middle East is definitely getting hotter, which means more evaporation and less overall water available,” Packman said. “Predications of future precipitation in the region are uncertain, and any shifts will cause disruptions and, potentially, threats.”
Speakers, topics and bios:
Second Annual Symposium on Water in Israel and the Middle East: Regional Water Sustainability and Resilience
May 24, 2017
9:30 am to 4:00 pm
Hardin Hall, Rebecca Crown Center, 633 Clark Street, Evanston Campus