The issue of water scarcity continues to be one of the critical challenges that the Middle East faces. The region is arguably the most water-impoverished in the world, and the effects of changes in climate, consumption and agricultural practices, as well as poor governance over water allocation have exacerbated concerns regarding the future of water resources in the Middle East. The United Nations estimates that 18 out of the 30 nations that will be water-scarce by 2025 are located in the Middle East and North Africa. These bleak projections are especially troublesome considering the foundational role that water serves for socio-economic needs such as food, energy, sanitation, and industry.
This research initiative focuses on the veracity of the resource curse thesis explanation for many of the political, social, and economic dynamics in the region in the context of the current downward price cycle. It aims to examine the relationships between resource revenues and democracy; political and economic arrangements; states’ structural foundations and bureaucracies; policy-making; privatization efforts; occupational specialization, urbanization, and education; national security architecture; economic diversification; labor market demographics; regional and international cooperation; social and cultural changes; gender relations; art production; and identity.
This research initiative explores the geopolitics of natural resources in the Middle East. Hydrocarbons, petroleum and now increasingly natural gas, have long dominated discussions of the Middle East’s natural resources, particularly in terms of their impact on domestic, regional and international politics. Little concerted attention has been paid to the broader environmental parameters of the Middle East. This initiative constitutes an attempt to expand the focus to include the region’s many other natural resources, for example land, air, water, and food, but also study the regional environment as a whole, rather than merely the resources extracted from it. As such it adopts a holistic approach, attempting to integrate the study of the region’s diverse natural resources, its environmental constraints, and their various impacts on geopolitics.
The Food Security and Food Sovereignty in the Middle East research initiative is comprised of original, empirically-grounded investigations that collectively offer the most comprehensive study available to date on food security in the Middle East. Some of the major themes examined include the ascent and decline of various food regimes, urban agriculture, overseas agricultural land purchases, national food self-sufficiency strategies, distribution networks and food consumption patterns, and nutrition transitions and healthcare.
The Nuclear Question in the Middle East research initiative looks into nuclear proliferation concerns associated with ambitious goals to introduce nuclear power in the Gulf states, with an emphasis on the United Arab Emirates. The outcome of this research initiative is a uniquely comprehensive book of great originality, with contributions from some of the most renowned specialists of nuclear politics in the Middle East, tackling a contentious issue with informed scholarly insight.