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The Journal for politics, economics, and culture of the Middle East published by the German Orient-Institute

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11/01/23

Indonesia-GCC cooperation in climate action: Progress and ways forward

In recent decades, the relationship between Indonesia and the GCC countries havs made significant strides, including on the political, security, economic and socio-cultural fronts. Energy has been the bedrock of Indonesia-GCC economic engagements. While this has been dominated by fossil energy, they are increasingly moving towards renewable energy and mutual efforts to combat climate change. Even though the cooperation is still at an early stage, this paper aims to examine the development of climate cooperation between Indonesia and the GCC countries, with the objective of providing policy-oriented suggestions that the two sides can take to develop
their ties.

Muhammad Zulfikar Rakhmat is a research professor at the Korea Institute for AsEAN studies, Busan University of studies, and an assistant professor at Universitas Islam Indonesia. He is also affiliated with the Middle East Institute, National University of singapore. He received his B.A. in International Affairs from Qatar University, before completing M.A. and Ph.D from the University of Manchester, UK. His research focuses on China-Indonesia-Middle East relations.

Diwangkara Bagus Nugraha is a sustainable energy researcher focusing on southeast Asia. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in sustainability Management at the University of Agder, Norway, and Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia. Previously, he obtained his M.sc. in Advanced Electrical Engineering from the University of Manchester, UK.

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11/01/23

Climate change impact and action: Qatar at the forefront

Climate change is an increasingly manifested topic on the table of international dialogue, and the state of Qatar has been no stranger to this. In 2008, the country developed a strategic plan called “Qatar National Vision 2030,” through which it emphasised the strategies of its environmental pillar alongside its evidently changing environmental policies. Although it is a small, developing country, Qatar is amongst the largest emitters of CO2 and greenhouse gases, and has the highest C02 emissions per capita worldwide. In 2005, Qatar decided to improve its negative environmental impact and signed the KYOTO protocol. subsequently, Qatar has had a longstanding commitment to rationing state and consumer behaviour. The impact of climate change is grave for the world, and for Qatar specifically as it lacks natural resources such as water and fertile land and is situated in a geologically challenging region. In light of this, combined with growing economic and state developmental projects, Qatar finds itself stuck between the crossfire of a weak environmental state but an ambitiously growing economy with projects that could pose harmful environmental consequences both locally and internationally. Therefore, this article will adopt Qatar as a case study and present the effects of climate change. It will investigate the strategies and policies that Qatar has formulated and is currently developing and applying in order to achieve its mission of reducing the effects of climate change locally and internationally.

Farah Al Qawasmi is a researcher at the Gulf studies Center. she received her undergraduate degree from Georgetown’s school of Foreign service in Doha with a degree in International Politics. she continued her studies at sOAs, the University of london, where she pursued a Master of science degree in Cooperate Globalization and Development. Her research interests include water and food security, politics, and socio-economic development in the Gulf and MENA region.

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11/01/23

Climate change, heat waves and their consequences in the MENA region

The MENA region is plagued by extremely hot and dry summers and extended warm spells and the region is known as a “climate change hot spot”. results of numerical climate models indicate heat waves lasting up to 90 days with temperauterers of more than 50° C in the late 21st century. Enhanced warming in larger cities lead to outside conditions that become unbearable and pose extreme risks to human health. Decreases in precipitation are enhanced through heat-related processes and result in extreme water scarcity. Effective adaptation strategies that reduce the risks to human communities and natural ecosystems rely on established methods in the framework of a Water-, Energy- and Food-Nexus.

Manfred A. Lange is the Director of the Future Earth MENA regional Center and serves on the steering Committee of MedECC. Previously he was Director of the Arctic Center in rovaniemi, Finland (1992-1995), Professor of Geophysics at the University of Münster in Germany (1995-2007) and the founding Director of the Energy, Environment and Water research Center at the Cyprus Institute in Nicosia, Cyprus (2007-2015). His research includes the assessment of climate change impacts with a focus on water- and energy security, renewable energy sources and energy- and water use efficiency in the built environment.

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11/01/23

Climate-smart agriculture and food security in MENA

Climate change continues to attract significant research and policy interests, as a result of the large impacts of extreme weather and climate events on smallholder production and farming systems. Climate change leads to significant yield losses and renders smallholder farmers more vulnerable to poverty and food insecurity. In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region which represents a hotspot for extreme weather events, these impacts of climate change are already increasingly felt, especially in the yields of staple crops, such as wheat and maize. The effects are particularly exacerbated by water scarcity and the aridity of the region. Climate-smart agriculture (CsA) as opposed to conventional agriculture offers to reverse some of these losses and build resilient farming systems. specifically, CsA aims to offer the triple wins of (1) increased productivity with ensuing implications on incomes and food security; (2) improving resilience to biotic and abiotic stresses, and (3) reducing the emission of greenhouse gases (climate mitigation). We examine these linkages and highlight the relationship between CsA and food security in the MENA region. We discuss how CsA can be leveraged to achieve these triple wins paying some attention to a burgeoning literature that has documented these positive implications. We end with a discussion on some of the entry points to increase the adoption of CsA to enable viable food security in the region.

Martin Paul Jr. Tabe-Ojong is a Development Economist and works as an Associate research Fellow at the Development, strategy, and Governance Division of the International Food Policy research Institute (IFPrI), and is based in Cairo, Egypt. Passionate about international development, poverty reduction, and shared prosperity, his research focuses on selected strands in development, agricultural and behavioural economics using econometric impact evaluation. Previously, he has worked on issues covering agricultural transformation and rural development as well as aspirations and rural poverty. His ongoing work includes climate change adaptation, food security, social protection and labour market outcomes, digitalization in agriculture, and socioemotional skills. Martin holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Bonn,
Germany. He also holds an Msc in Agricultural and Food Economics from the same university where he was awarded the Hans H ruthenberg award for an excellent thesis from the Foundation Fiat Panis in 2019. He has advised and consulted for the World Bank, World Fish, ICrIsAT, the German Development Institute, Global Crop Diversity Trust, and, the Alliance for Bioversity and CIAT. He is highly skilled at data collection through household surveys with fieldwork and research stays in Cameroon, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Ghana, Egypt, and Cote d’Ivoire.

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11/01/23

Education to climate change: A missing ingredient in climate action plans for MENA countries?

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is one of the most vulnerable to climate change, with implications for already high levels of water stress, food insecurity, and forced displacement,
among others. Confronting these challenges requires a multi-faceted approach. roadmaps to do so tend to focus on issues related to food systems, water management, energy use, how to create climate-smart cities, and how to provide sustainable financing for climate action. These are key priorities, but education to climate change should also be considered as a priority. Based on research by UNEsCO, this article analyses the extent to which MENA countries have integrated climate change education in their national curricula. Challenges faced by teachers in educating students to climate change are documented. Finally, examples of initiatives taken in MENA
countries are shared. Overall, the MENA region may be lagging other regions, but there are also some bright spots.

Quentin Wodon is Director of UNEsCO’s International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa. Previously, he worked at the World Bank, including as lead Economist, lead Poverty specialist, and manager of the unit on values and development. Before that, he taught with tenure at the University of Namur. He also taught at American University and Georgetown University. He holds four PhDs, has over 700 publications, and has held leadership positions with multiple nonprofits as part of his volunteer work. His research has been covered by leading news media globally.

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11/01/23

Water management as a tool for conflict prevention: The case of the MENA region

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is suffering from varying degrees of a water crisis. While the region’s water challenge is an enduring one, new problems add layers of complexity and perhaps fragility and instability. Meeting the water challenge requires a better governance of water resources, both internal and transboundary; with a view to constantly renewing the infrastructure and adopting modern technologies. Improved water management, in turn, will contribute to the amelioration of the existing conflicts in the region whether local, country-based or regional.

Vakur Sümer is Director of the Eurasian research Institute, Hoca Akhmet Yassawi University, Almaty, Kazakhstan. He is also Associate Professor at the selcuk University’s Department of International relations in Konya, Turkey. His research interests include environmental policies and law in Turkey and crossborder cooperation on those matters.

Ayşegül Kibaroğlu is Professor at the Department of Political science and International relations, MEF University. Her research focuses on the role of water management in transboundary and international contexts.

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26/10/22

Afghanistan: A tragic fall, consequences and prospects

The fall of republican Afghanistan in August 2021 was partly ignited by the reorientation of the US interest in the region and a shift in global geopolitics. This situation has triggered a humanitarian catastrophe, disruption of state institutions and the economy in Afghanistan, an upsurge in transnational Islamist militancy, the expansion of narcotics and a massive outflow of Afghan refugees. Policy options and international leverage to mitigate the threats are limited, and there is no substitute for an inclusive and just order in Afghanistan.

Nematullah Bizhan is lecturer in Public Policy at the Development Policy Centre at The Australian National University, Australia, and Senior research Associate with the Global Economic Governance Program, Oxford University, UK. Nematullah is the author of Aid Paradoxes in Afghanistan and the editor of State Fragility. He has contributed to development programmes and reforms that helped Afghanistan’s immediate post-2001 recovery. As a civil society activist, he has also contributed to promoting accountability and civic participation.

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26/10/22

NATO’s 2022 Strategic Concept reconsiders the MENA and southern partners

Although cooperative security is still a core task, the MENA region is not NATO’s priority today. It is mostly framed by NATO through the lens of rivals powers’ influence (russia; China) in third countries and the fight against terrorism. After the russian invasion of Ukraine, the primacy of deterrence and defence is likely to reduce Western resources for Southern partners’ defence capacity-building. However, the shaping of an endogenous security architecture in the MENA region is strictly connected to the improvement of defence capabilities in the region: the GCC states play – and can play – a significant role.

Eleonora Ardemagni is an expert on Yemen, Gulf monarchies and Arab military forces. She is Associate research Fellow at the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI), Teaching Assistant at the Catholic University of Milan (MSc courses “regional Studies Middle East”/ “History of Islamic Asia”; “New Conflicts: History, Strategy and Narrative”), and Adjunct Professor at ASErI (Graduate School of Economics and International relations, Milan), Master in Middle Eastern Studies-MIMES (“Yemen: Drivers of Conflict and Security Implications”), and former Gulf analyst for the NATO Defense College Foundation (2015-2020).

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26/10/22

The EU Gulf strategy and the Strategic Compass: Europe’s gamble for a security role in a multipolar Gulf

Relations between the European Union and the countries forming the Gulf Cooperation Council have tended to focus on economic, energy and trade ties in the past. Now, as the intertwining of global geopolitical developments and internal dynamics in the Middle East and North Africa are reshaping the region, the Gulf is emerging as an increasingly strategic region for the EU’s interests. Yet the Gulf monarchies see the European countries as irrelevant in the realm of security. With the Strategic Compass and the Strategic Partnership with the Gulf, both published this year, Brussels wants to change that. This article aims to explain how these two policy strategies will impact Europe’s relations with the Gulf monarchies.

Matteo Moretti joined the Middle East and North Africa department of the European External Action Service (EEAS) as a Blue Book Trainee in October. He is a Junior Member at the International Affairs Institute (IAI) in rome and holds a double master’s degree in European and International Studies from the University of Trento and the Metropolitan University of Prague. His research interests include the EU’s foreign relations, the Gulf, and relations between EU and GCC countries. He has presented at the Gulf research Meeting (2021) and the EUMENIA Conference in Amman (2022).

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26/10/22

G7, food security and MENA

Food security has become one of the most critical challenges since the russian invasion of Ukraine due to the pivotal role of both countries in the global cereal trade. Import-dependent countries such as those in the Middle East and North Africa are especially highly exposed to food insecurity resulting from the dependence on Black Sea cereals. This article argues that food has become a geopolitical tool as a byproduct of the war in Eastern Europe. The G7 responded to the potentially dire consequences of food insecurity with an ambitious package of emergency aid and structural support for food system change in developing countries such as those in the MENA region. This could be a major opportunity for MENA countries since their food systems are increasingly unsustainable due to negative health impacts resulting from cheap, carbohydrate-rich diets.

Martin Keulertz is a lecturer in Environmental Management at the University of the West of England, Bristol, and an Adjunct Assistant Professor to the Food Security Programme at the American University of Beirut (AUB). Prior to this, he was the inaugural director of AUB’s Food Security Programme and a post-doctoral researcher at Purdue University in the US and Humboldt University in Germany.

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26/10/22

Global power competition and the geopolitics of energy

Since the early 2000s, the competition between global powers (i.e. United States, Europe, Russia and China) has intensified and expanded to cover a broad range of challenges including security, economics and information technology, among others. This global competition, however, is different from the Cold War. There is a great deal of interdependence between global powers, which was not the case between the West and the Soviet Union during most of the second half of the twentieth century. This study examines how the strategic competition between global powers shapes the energy market. The analysis focuses on the ongoing war in Ukraine, the bloodiest in Europe since the end of World War II, and the deepening tension between Washington and Beijing. The argument is that major oil producers in the Gulf will continue to see the West, particularly the United States, as their main security guarantor. However, despite these strong strategic ties, the Gulf Cooperation Council states will continue to maintain close political and commercial relationships with Russia and China.

Gawdat Bahgat is Professor of National Security at the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies, National Defense University in Washington, DC. He is the author of twelve books on the Middle East and American foreign policy. His work has been translated into several foreign languages.

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26/10/22

Global systems and the MENA region: Weakening actors, weakening systems

This article assesses the causes and implications of what appears to be a case of intensifying global political paralysis afflicting both states and international systems. It briefly describes this malady among leading state actors as well as the global regimes they created and until recently sustained, and how the affliction has affected MENA states and relations between them. The causes of this seemingly universal weakening are then discussed. The article concludes with speculation on implications for global and MENA politics and relations between the two.

Robert Springborg is research Fellow of the Italian Institute of International Affairs and Adjunct Professor at Simon Fraser University. Formerly he was Professor of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School, the holder of the MBI Al Jaber Chair in Middle East Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies in london, Director of the American research Center in Egypt and University Professor of Middle East Politics at Macquarie University in Sydney Australia. His most recent books are Egypt (2018) and Political Economies of the Middle East and North Africa (2020), both published by Polity Press, and The Political Economy of Education in the Arab World, lynne rienner, 2021, co-edited with Hicham Alaoui.

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