The region comprised of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is well known for its abundant natural resources and important geostrategic position. That image, however, is often overshadowed by ongoing sectarian violence and trans-boundary conflicts that threaten the stability of the entire region and dominate much of the global news cycle.
Although the region's fragile environmental state has increasingly preoccupied policymakers in individual countries, there is as yet insufficient concerted effort to recognize and address problems relating to sustainability and climate change. And despite the urgency of these challenges, there are very limited academic resources, if any, dedicated to studying MENA's environmental future. Environmental Challenges in the MENA Region draws from the proceedings of a seminal international conference on the subject at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. The chapters in this book are predicated upon two critical premises: that expertise and awareness from a wide range of disciplines is required to understand and address environmental challenges; and that, to have a real chance of success, MENA countries need to confront these problems as common and shared threats. The interdisciplinary nature of this book mirrors the conclusion reached: that these nations must cooperate on all fronts in order to shape the future of their mutual environment.
Hamid Pouran is a research associate at the London Middle East Institute. He previously served as Iran Heritage Foundation Visiting Fellow in Iran's Environmental Sustainability at the Institute's Centre for Iranian Studies and Senior Research Associate at Lancaster University. Hassan Hakimian is Director of the London Middle East Institute and a reader in the economics department at SOAS University of London. He was previously an associate dean at Cass Business School, London. Dr Hakimian is a founding member and currently the president of the International Iranian Economic Association and a research fellow and member of the advisory committee of the Economic Research Forum in Cairo.