CASCADES Rerearch Paper (Oct. 2022)
Climate change will affect millions of people in the Euphrates-Tigris basin. It will add to other foreseeable challenges in a region that is undergoing rapid demographic changes and development, that is grappling with political instability, and that struggles to manage its shared water resources sustainably. Resisting and preparing for the adverse impacts of climate change will be essential for the riparian countries Iraq, Turkey, Syria, and Iran. Their chances to do so successfully over the coming years will largely depend on their ability to build and bolster strong institutions and a healthy economy, to provide a safe environment for their citizens, to carefully manage their natural resources, and to maintain peaceful and productive relations among each other.
Looking ahead to the year 2050, this paper develops three possible scenarios for the Euphrates-Tigris basin, each one marked by distinct vulnerability conditions and opportunities for the basin countries to withstand the effects of climate change. Based on these distinctions, the paper identifies scenario-specific climate risks for water resources, lives, and livelihoods, as well as possible implications for migration, political stability, and cross-border water cooperation.