Location: Bowdoin / Environmental Studies / Activity / 2014 / Guest Speaker Erika Weinthal Lectures on Water Securitization in Middle East

Environmental Studies

Guest Speaker Erika Weinthal Lectures on Water Securitization in Middle East

Story posted May 22, 2014

Event date(s): December 01, 2010 — December 01, 2010

Securitization of Water, Climate Change, and Migration Linkages in Israel, Jordan, and Syria.

On April 16th, Erika Weinthal, Associate Professor of Environmental Policy and Associate Dean for International Programs at Duke University, Nicholas School of the Environment, lectured to Bowdoin students and faculty on the development of international discourse related to the securitization of water and its linkages to climate change and migration in Israel, Jordan, and Syria. Given years of protracted drought in the Middle East, Dr. Weinthal primarily emphasized the role of climate change as a “threat multiplier” rather than as a point source for increased conflict over water resources in the region. While securitization of water, or the “state elites’ construction of the issue as an existential, vital threat,” has played an important role in the history and politics of both Israel and Jordan, it has played a less prominent role in Syrian political affairs, especially with its connections to climate change and migration. As a result, these three states have experienced varied policy responses to changes in agricultural production, internal and external waves of migration, and international relations. Dr. Weinthal expanded further, highlighting governments’ concentration on predominantly supply-side approaches to the issue of water shortages, focusing on the construction of desalination plants and pipelines, and shying away from politically challenging, demand-side regulations that would curb inefficient water use and encourage conservation.

For more information on climate change and water in the Middle East and North Africa, Dr. Weinthal’s co-authored paper “Climate change, water resources, and the politics of adaptation in the Middle East and North Africa” can be found here. Dr. Weinthal’s additional publications can be accessed here.