Arab world on the front line of climate change

BEIRUT -The Arab region needs more than 570 billion U.S. dollars by 2030 to reinforce its adaptation to climate change, said a UN press release on Thursday.

“The Arab region is highly vulnerable to climate change, which is affecting rural and urban communities alike, and having socioeconomic and environmental impacts,” said the press release by the Beirut-based UN Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (ESCWA).

As a summary of its new policy brief titled “Climate finance needs and flows in the Arab region,” the ESCWA press release said the Arab countries’ ability to allocate additional funds for climate action is limited by their fiscal space as the region’s public debt reached a historic high of 1.4 trillion dollars in 2020.

“This trend has been exacerbated by national efforts to fight the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic” in addition to the interest rate hikes, inflationary pressures and the conflict in Ukraine, it said.

Rola Dashti, executive secretary of ESCWA, said only 11 Arab countries have provided cost estimates of their financial needs for climate projects in accordance with their Paris Agreement commitments, calling for more to do so to receive financing.

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