The Asia-Pacific Greens Federation (APGF), the umbrella organisation of Green parties in the region, notes with gravity that the Middle East region is currently facing climate change and water scarcity crises, besides the security issues.
The APGF calls upon the governments of the Middle East countries to assure equal distribution of water resources among all of their citizens and to review agriculture and other practices of intensive water use, with a view to good water management practice as a priority.
Home to about six percent of the world’s population, the Middle East has just one percent of the world’s freshwater resources. Nearly two-thirds of the region’s population live in areas that lack sufficient renewable water resources, and over 60 percent live in areas with high surface water stress.
The APGF notes that the Middle East has recently experienced several environmental concerns. Water resources are becoming increasingly scarce, especially for the millions there who already lack access to sanitary water. Some of these countries, including Iraq, Yemen, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Palestine, are facing unique problems that require immediate global attention.
The Middle East has adequate transboundary freshwater resources, but the lack of mutual concession on water allocation in shared rivers and aquifers adds layers of complexity and potential conflict to the water scarcity situation in the region.
In a nutshell, the region has numerous struggles with its current water resources, which need shared solutions to generate an optimistic environmental position.
The APGF extends its support and solidarity to the people of the Middle East countries in view of the dangerous water situation there.
The APGF strongly feels that the water scarcity is a pressing environmental issue in the region and is increasingly becoming an additional source of conflict in the already unstable region. It is feared that the situation will lead to an endless strife if no prompt solution is found.
The water situation in Iraq is very dangerous and might lead to a political crisis. The APGF appeals to the Iraqi authorities and political parties to find solution to build a democratic system that guarantees the rights, duties and freedom of all components of the people without any discrimination.
The water crisis for Palestinians, who are under Israeli military occupation, is shocking. There are extreme water shortages in Palestine. Israel continues to control at least 85 percent of the water resources in the West Bank today. And, the Palestinians in Gaza are facing acute water issues as Israel has destroyed much of their essential water infrastructure.
Similarly, Jordan and Yemen both endure severe water scarcity in the Middle East.
The United Arab Emirates is famous for its luxurious cities filled with lavish resorts, shopping, and attractions but in reality, the country is confronted with a serious depletion of their available water resources.
Freshwater from the region’s main transboundary rivers — the Tigris-Euphrates, the Nile and the Jordan — are used for agricultural, industrial and domestic purposes at unsustainable volumes.
It also calls on countries like Turkey and Iran to facilitate the flow of river water to Iraq, as this is a human right guaranteed by international legal agreements. The continued deprivation of the Iraqi people of their right to water and food security is a terrible violation of human rights and an infringement of Iraqi sovereignty.
The APGF appeals to the political leadership in the region to find solutions to build a democratic system that guarantees the rights, duties and freedom of all components of the people without any discrimination.
Authorised by Tika Bhandari, co-Convenor, Asia-Pacific Greens Federation