Climate and
Disaster Resilience


Challenges in the Arab States

Crises in the Arab States region vary considerably in their origin, history, intensity and complexity.

Due to its highly diverse geology and geography, the region is exposed to many natural hazards including earthquakes; dry and wet land-mass movements; droughts; floods; storms; extreme temperatures; wildfires; and epidemics. Climate change is likely to further exacerbate the already existing problem of water scarcity in this region.

Long standing crises such as State failure in Somalia and protracted conflicts in Iraq, Lebanon, occupied Palestinian territory and Sudan have led to massive displacement, deprivation and systematic human rights violations, negatively impacting human development and fuelling public frustration, anger and violence.

Regional geopolitical dynamics; authoritarian regimes; and ethnic, religious and tribal loyalties, have combined to curtail freedom and people’s rights.  Problems of governance and legitimacy have accumulated and resulted in open conflict in some cases.

Since December 2010, the Arab region has been facing a wave of unprecedented change expressed via peaceful protests, civil resistance, and violent conflict. Youth-led protests have expressed discontent with political repression, and economic and social inequality. Consequently, in less    than nine months long-standing regimes were replaced in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen. An intensifying civil conflict in Syria has raised concerns including over potential spread beyond its borders, destabilizing an already volatile region.

UNDP’s response to drought and famine risk.  Construction of water dam

How we address these challenges

UNDP works with national and international partners to prevent, mitigate, manage and help communities and countries recover from violent conflicts and natural disasters. We collaborate with national and local authorities in most countries of the region to:

  • support conflict prevention through predictive conflict mapping, mediation activities and national dialogue processes;
  • help restore essential governance and rule of law mechanisms in the wake of crises and conflicts, including security and justice institutions and local governance systems and processes;
  • help restore livelihoods and promote economic recovery;
  • enhance the role of women in peace and security efforts and in development activities;
  • develop national capabilities for risk analysis, early warning and preparedness to reduce the impacts of natural disasters; and
  • provide immediate crisis response to support country offices during times of crisis.

Based on the complexity and intensity of the crises, existing response capacities and opportunities for intervention, UNDP periodically prioritizes countries in the region for comprehensive support, including policy advice, technical backstopping, provision of SURGE capacity and catalytic seed funding

Finally, UNDP provides assistance in integrating crisis prevention, preparedness, response in recovery in national strategic planning processes.

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