Population and Development Report, Issue No. 7

Overcoming Population Vulnerability to Water Scarcity in the Arab Region

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Population dynamics can contribute to unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, and as a consequence to water scarcity that consists of the most significant environmental challenge in the Arab region. This report endeavors to analyze the nexus between population dynamics and water scarcity and to provide recommendations on how to improve policies and programmes addressing water scarcity in order to reduce vulnerability of particular population groups and enhance resilience of populations at risk. The report looks at water scarcity through a population lens in order to enable policymakers and governments to develop targeted and people-centered policies and programmes to tackle their water scarcity issues and to address its differential impact on specific population groups which might be more vulnerable to and less capable of coping with water scarcity.



Nexus between population dynamics and water scarcity

The population dynamics in the region, namely, population size, urbanization levels, age structures, and internal and international migration flows, are significantly expanding the region’s water demand. Population dynamics have witnessed considerable changes in the past three decades as the region’s population size more than doubled and is still projected to increase further by two-thirds by 2050 (figure 1). The significant population growth is accompanied by notable changes in the lifestyle of people who are rapidly urbanizing and moving away from their traditional way of living which was more adapted to the environmental specificities of the region. The number of urban dwellers in the region more than doubled between 1985 and 2010, further increasing pressure on the environment (figure 2).


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