Climate Change and Civic Space in MENA

Spotlight on Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, and Tunisia

The devastating impact of climate change on the MENA region is palpable and severe, yet there has been limited substantial progress towards mitigation and adaptation. This is not specific to the region however, across the world, protests and activist movements are demanding governments do better to tackle climate change, with youth being at the helm of many of these movements.

In many countries there have been a number of high-profile protests, mainly centering on the political and economic conditions within the countries. Because of the nature of these protests, as well as the complex socio-economic impacts of climate change, it is difficult to disentangle the two. Environmental concerns are part of the larger challenges facing communities in the region even if not presently obvious during protests. Furthermore, there have been distinctive voices of activism and organization prioritizing climate change as part of their agenda. However, many environmental movements are facing pushback and harassment. According to the UN human rights office of the high commissioner, attacks on activists, including environmental and climate justice activists, are increasing and worsening. In addition to this, discrimination and existing inequalities limit civic participation.

In an effort to understand these complex and important dynamics and challenges, we are pleased to launch a study to map and summarize laws and regulations that impact civic spaces, participation, and assembly specifically as it relates to climate change and climate justice activism with a specific focus on their compatibility with international standards and laws. Understand and highlight the different challenges and barriers that climate change activists and organizations face in each country. To review the study, click here.