Climate change in the Mediterranean and in the Middle East will certainly have an impact upon population movements. What impact will climate change have? This is the very question that a group of researchers, brought together by the French Development Agency (AFD) and the World Bank, aim to answer.
The MENA zone is identified as one of the planet's "hot spots" and some populations affected by climate change could be forced to move. “These movements will be significant", believes Mats Karlsson, Director of the Marseille Centre for Mediterranean Integration (CMI), which hosted the first working meeting on this theme on the 15th and 16th of June 2010.
At the meeting, specialists on climate change shared their points of view with migration experts from the MENA zone, Europe and the United States. Fact-finding activities will take place on the ground around the Mediterranean in order to quantify this phenomenon. “This is a difficult subject to address from an international angle and in an interdisciplinary way”, explains Sarah Lahmani from the AFD. « Our objective is to promote coherence between the policies in the different countries in the MENA region, but also to contribute to work on the international governance of migration". In addition, the problem should be highlighted, because “the subject has been neglected”, claims Franck Laczko, Head of Department at the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Geneva. “The strategies which have been implemented to counter this phenomenon are rudimentary” he claims. “Moreover the subject comes up against numerous obstacles”.
Beyond the problem of terminology which appears to slow down work, Professor Ibrahim Abdalla, Director of the Arab Forum for the Environment and Development (AFED) also identifies the cost of implementing measures by States. Egypt, which according to current forecasts will be the country the most quickly affected by these phenomena, should for example engage in considerable investment. Representing his government, Tarek Shalaby presented the projects planned for Cairo: “Between now and 2017, new towns which respect the environment will be built in the desert” he stated. “At the same time, a migration plan has been put into place to take the pressure off the Nile Delta by offering parcels of land to migrants.”