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Water and insecurity in the Levant
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is the most water-stressed area in the world. In the Levant sub-region, Jordan, Syria, West Bank/Gaza, and Israel are already water scarce while two other countries – Iraq and Lebanon – are ‘water stressed’. This water challenge is a major problem for more than simple development reasons – the domestic instability that led into the Syria conflict was partially driven by drought effects, and now the overflow of refugees is placing greater stress on dry neighbours. For a region that is expected to become drier yet due to a changing climate, the potential for further water-driven instability is significant. Responding to this will require more than improved water supplies. It will require integrated responses that address technical, political and security challenges at local and regional levels.