Transferable lessons for Jordan and Palestine.
The project will develop the idea of decoupling (ad- vanced by UNEP, 2011, 2012) in a way that recognises the specifics of water resources management in the Middle East, particularly the importance of strategies that target local/national (rather than global) water and food security. Critically, the research will exemplify a pathway to translate a water-specific decoupling theory into policy. By analysing economic and population growth trends, FAO food balance sheets, and ‘water footprint’ data (Mekonnen and Hoekstra, 2011; Shtull-Trauring, 2015, and OECD, 2010), it will identify where changes in agricultural production, production techniques and import choice can reduce pressure on fresh water resources. It will also highlight which crops and agricultural practices could be usefully targeted for efficiency improvements based on global and regional comparisons, providing a policy pathway for analysis.
Having analysed water and agricultural data sets for Jordan and Palestine, a wider qualitative policy analysis will be carried out to illuminate the socio-economic and geopolitical trade-offs necessary to achieve the recommended changes. A key area of investigation will be the risk ensembles of vulnerability to global food prices and supply versus the risks of water insecurity, unsustainable agriculture and economic activity, extending the application of ‘risk based’ water management (Sadoff et al., 2015) to a political-economic analysis. Finally, the research will investigate the viability of extending the decoupling model to other WANA economies as a means of enhancing broader water security and food productivity.
[Photo via Kyle Taylor | Flickr]