For immediate release: Rethinking the Nexus between Conflict, Climate Change and Environment in West Asia and North Africa

(Beirut - 23/01/2023) - The Arab Reform Initiative, Robert-Bosch Stiftung, and Orient Matters are organising the third Annual Environmental Politics conference in Beirut from 31 January to 2 February. Bringing together policymakers with practitioners, researchers and activists on the frontlines of environmental and climate action in West Asia and North Africa (WANA) to discuss the complex and multifaceted intersections between conflicts and the environment. 

Conflicts are aggravated by environmental issues but they are also a source of major environmental degradation. Over the past 60 years, multiple conflicts that have ravaged WANA have been linked to environmental factors but the linkages and connections remain insufficiently documented or understood. This has implications that last even after the conflict ends as reconstruction and post-conflict planning insufficiently factor in or address the environmental issues. 

The conference will seek to address how to understand, conceptualise, and better document the relationship between conflict and the environment? It will in particular explore the impact that conflict has on pressing issues of food and water security and will examine the role of international organisations in ensuring that environmental priorities are taken into account in post-conflict planning and peacebuilding. 

In addition, the conference will discuss how to build post-conflict institutions that can better handle environmental issues and the challenges faced by decision-makers in addressing what are often long-term issues in policy environments often dominated by short-term considerations and crises. 


“Rarely, if ever, is the environment discussed when analyzing the many wars that have ravaged West Asia and North Africa.” says Sarine Karajerjian, Director of the Environmental Politics Programme (EPP) at ARI. “Yet, millions in our region have seen their natural surroundings and key sources of food and water destroyed, resulting in mass migrations and social tensions which themselves feed into conflict.”

This event flows logically from the imperative of the programme: to assure long-lasting and just peace in the region by ensuring the environment is a central part of broader political and economic discussions.


Keynote conversation with Lebanese Minister of Environment, Dr. Nasser Yassin, and Arab Reform Initiative’s Executive Director, Nadim Houry to discuss the role of the ministry and how it navigates and addresses Lebanon’s multiple environmental challenges. 


Thee conference will be in person and online and details are available on this link


About the Arab Reform Initiative  

The Arab Reform Initiative is an independent think tank working with expert partners in the Middle East and North Africa and beyond to articulate a home-grown agenda for democratic change and social justice. It conducts research and policy analysis and provides a platform for inspirational voices based on the principles of diversity, impartiality, and gender equality.

About Robert Bosch Stiftung

Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH is one of Europe’s largest foundations associated with a private company. The Foundation operates on a non-profit, independent, and non-partisan basis across the areas of health, education, and global issues. The latter comprises the topics “Peace”, “Climate Change”, “Migration” and “Inequality” as well as “Democracy” and “Immigration Society”. The Peace strategy focuses on supporting locally-led approaches as a means to contributing to sustainable peace in the Middle East, the Sahel and the Western Balkans. Together with regional stakeholders, we set up initiatives that shape inclusive peace processes and implement projects locally. The ongoing development and implementation of local peace approaches require collective efforts. Hence, we promote exchange among academics and practitioners globally while contributing findings of our work to peacebuilding debates and activities.

About Orient Matters

Orient Matters (OM) is a research consultancy, focusing on analyses based on policy oriented research as well as strategy consulting for projects in Western Asia. Operating out of Berlin, OM’s work is underpinned by local expertise and views from the region. At the intersection of geopolitics, economics/development, and energy/climate, OM provides in-depth expertise, practical know-how, and a network of renowned experts. It supports public and private organisations: in assessing opportunities and risks, designing and implementing projects, and staying up-to-date. Moreover, OM also participates in policy-oriented research and, for this purpose, cooperates with leading institutes and universities.

Privacy Considerations:

  • This conference hosts a number of researchers and activists working in countries with many political and security restrictions. Their safety and privacy are of utmost importance to us and our partners. We therefore ask attending members of the press to acquire oral approval from all interviewees.
  • For more information or interview requests please contact:

              Serene Dardari - Director of Communications


The views represented in this paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Arab Reform Initiative, its staff, or its board.