Follow us on
Or combine different search criteria.


The Water Security Nexus in North Africa: Catalyzing Regional Coordination Around Climate Change, Resilience and Migration

Status: Active
  • Lead and Funding Organizations

    Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI) & The Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)



    Partners include the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), International Center for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM-Bari), Cewas Middle-East, Agence Française de Développement (AFD), World Bank, and the MedYWat network.




    Due to water scarcity and vulnerability to climate change, the Mediterranean region is one of the most prone areas in the world to instability and migration. Climate change adds new complexity to the areas of human mobility and settlement by exacerbating environmental degradation, and thereby water and food security.


    Evidence is still scarce on the relative impacts and inter-relations between water availability, access, use, changing climate patterns, agricultural transformation, migration, and displacement. However, environmental shocks and long-term trends are shown to be a trigger for, and sometimes exacerbate existing human movements, impacting the nature of decision-making and thus, the rural communities and the rural-to-urban migration.


    Meanwhile, the Mediterranean also offers a lot of potential for reducing the effects of climate change and adapting to them. In the region, tackling water scarcity and promoting climate change adaptation and mitigation could encourage job creation and entrepreneurship, especially among Mediterranean youth, with clear knock-on effects on regional instability resulting from unemployment, disenfranchisement, and migration.


    Therefore, one of the most effective ways to tap into the region's underutilized young potential and achieve favourable socioeconomic and environmental results is to specifically target adolescents through capacity-building and green entrepreneurial possibilities centred around water.


    Program Objective


    The main targeted outcomes from this CMI-led program are Understanding, Capacity & Collaboration and Engagement.


    • Understanding:  Organizations, governments and citizens in North Africa have greater access to data on how water scarcity and drought affect security and stability on which to base policy decisions. 

    • Capacity & Collaboration: Organizations, governments and citizens in North Africa have a greater capacity to improve awareness, understanding and targeting of policies and programs to address water scarcity and drought management challenges that have an impact on rural development and human movement.

    • Engagement: Youth, experts & decision makers in North Africa engage to tackle drought management and water scarcity issues through evidence-based solutions and youth-led entrepreneurship.


    Analytical Reports


    Reports and Studies


    Flagship Report: The Water Security Nexus in North Africa: Catalyzing Regional Coordination Around Climate Change, Resilience and Migration


    Concerned Mediterranean stakeholders need to be aware of the main obstacles to their water resilience. Their capabilities should be developed, and ultimately, they should be provided with suitable "nexus solutions". With this knowledge, the Center for Migration Integration (CMI)-led water security nexus project examined water security in an interdependent world and was funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). This project helped to strengthen knowledge of cross-sectoral linkages (food, water, environmental, migratory, demographic, etc.) in North African countries and their effects on human mobility. Avoiding a reductionist explanation of the connection between climate change, water scarcity, and migration was a primary focus throughout this effort.


    This CMI flagship report serves two distinct purposes. First, it aims to emphasize the most important conclusions and outcomes from the many outputs that CMI and its partners provided for this project in a succinct and consolidated manner. It builds on the findings and offers policy recommendations and directions to increase policy coherence on the water security nexus, regional water cooperation, and the creation of additional youth-led initiatives. 


    Understanding Morocco’s Climate Futures – Using National Climate Change Data Sets to Support Planning and Investment


    Since the 1990s, temperatures have risen and precipitation has decreased gradually, with a steeper trend over the past few years. Given the significance of rainfall to the nation's agricultural and water resource systems, the changes are raising challenging issues for supply and demand management. A number of droughts that have occurred as a result of the climate's general drying out are having a serious negative impact on the economy, local populations, and the environment. Morocco has experienced severe droughts that have become more frequent over the past few decades, which has caused the country's economic development rates to be unstable. The drought is currently in its fourth year in Souss Massa, Om er Rabia, and other significant river basins, and reservoir levels are low.


    The study is particularly concerned with how climate change is affecting extremely low precipitation, which is closely related to water scarcity and dry spells. The study contributes important new insights to the understanding of how climate change may affect Morocco. Additionally, this is the first study to exclusively focus on sector-level impacts by using Moroccan EUROCORDEX data. The study also aims to train Moroccan authorities in the use of climate change data for future planning and disseminate climate change forecast data to the relevant agencies.


    Water Accounting of the Souss Massa River Bassin in Morocco 


    The management of water resources in Morocco is becoming more and more difficult; over the past 20 years, less water has been made accessible per person due to both population growth and decreased water availability, both of which are attributed to rainfall and overuse of groundwater. Over the past few decades, droughts have become more frequent, which has caused the nation's economic growth rates to fluctuate. A severe drought that has been going on for three years in the Souss Massa and other river basins in the kingdom has led to rivalry between users that will only get worse in future drier periods. Water withdrawals in the basin are at or over capacity. Groundwater abstraction is becoming more popular among users, raising the risk of overuse of natural resources. 


    The water accounts created for this study offer a set of baseline indicators that may be utilized to find potential solutions to increase water availability and make effective use of the water that is currently accessible in a sustainable way. 


    Difficult Terrain: Water, Climate Change and Migration in Morocco - Review Document and Analytical Framework


    This study established an analytical framework to help place migration within broader development processes, including other sectoral legislation, in order to address these intricate interconnections. The creation of cross-sector policy coherence can be facilitated by adapting this framework to future policy development. This element also stressed the significance of comprehending migration typologies. Which types of migration are pursued depends on a variety of circumstances, including distance, timing, and other related variables. This framework analyzes probable climate and non-climate drivers. These are then split into agricultural, environmental, economic, and sociopolitical categories and evaluated in connection to migration consequences. The complex interlinkages between migration destination communities and home communities, where migrants send money, return with new knowledge and skills (social remittances), and invest in new forms of economic activity, are further strengthened by significant feedback loops from outcomes to impacts and back to drivers.


    Difficult Terrain: Water, Climate Change and Migration in Morocco - Combined Case Studies


    The meso-geographical migration patterns in the Oum Er Rbia and Souss Massa basins, as well as the local migration patterns at the study locations, demonstrate that climate considerations are not the only reasons driving large-scale population shifts. Instead, they eventually have an evil consequence. As a result, migration becomes a component of the gradual transition of agrarian societies. Transfers, financial assistance for families, investments in family farms, and group actions taken by migrants or their associations are all signs that communities in their home countries are becoming more resilient due to emigration.


    What signs of climate change are there in various parts of the basin? What effects is it having on the agricultural and water systems that are currently in place? And how do these effects change the patterns of migration seen at the local and regional levels? These are the main issues that this study focuses on.


    Tunisia Case Studies Report: Downstream of the Nebhana Dam (Kairouan) and the Border Area of the Governorate of Jendouba


    Through an in-depth analysis of two local case studies—the first in the region downstream of the Nebhana dam in the Governorate of Kairouan and the second in the border region of the Governorate of Jendouba—this study seeks to understand the fundamental connections between water security, climate change, and migration.


    Stakeholder mapping: Case of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia


    This work serves as the foundation for a full investigation of how stakeholders interact at the organizational and/or managerial level. The report aims to improve understanding of mandates, operational modalities, and the range of activities in addition to describing the hierarchical structures of the stakeholders. This will help to clarify how the various stakeholders interact with one another in an effort to identify gaps and opportunities. Additionally, an examination of how stakeholders identified themselves, their responsibilities, and their declared actions in regard to migration, climate change, and water management was carried out.


    Political Economy Analysis of the Water Security Nexus in North Africa


    There are complex relationships between what is received and what it is used for, in the context of rural development stresses including – but not limited to – land, water and climate stresses. This means that there is never a straightforward relationship between water availability/scarcity and farming viability/non-viability. 


    A Political Economy Analysis of the socioeconomic and sociopolitical dynamics is provided, as well as the region's water security, rural development, and socioeconomic and sociopolitical dynamics.


    Enhancing Drought Monitoring to Support Management and Resilience-Building under Current and Future Climate Extremes


    The goal of this report is to provide Tunisia with the tools required to proactively manage drought, enabling the country to reduce the effects of climate change and human-induced hazards (Bergaoui et al. 2015). Both of these negatively affect the availability of water, as well as livelihoods, sedentariness and employment, in turn creating political and geostrategic challenges.


    This intervention includes enhancing the country’s ability to monitor drought, forecast seasonal rainfall and manage drought, as part of promoting the diffusion of norms from the Integrated Drought Management Programme (IDMP) in Tunisia, and also set an example to Algeria, Egypt and Libya. Unlike Jordan, Lebanon and Morocco, the other Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries are part of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) MENAdrought1 programme (Sticklor 2020).



    Policy Briefs



    A Response To Climate Change In The Agriculture Sector – A Focus On Morocco.


    Authored by Dani Harake, Programme Officer on Resilience and Climate Change at the Center for Mediterranean Integration.



    Addressing Gender In The Climate Change And Water Security Nexus. 


    Authored by Dr. Kholoud Al Ajarma, Lecturer at the Centre for The Study of Islam In The Contemporary World.






    Catalyzing Regional Cooperation On Water Nexus Solutions In A Post-Covid Mediterranean. 


    Authored by Dr. Constantin Tsakas, Senior Programme Officer - Sustainable Development Policies, Center for Mediterranean Integration.



    Difficult Terrain: Migration And Climate Change In The Maghreb. 


    Authored by Dr. Alan Nicol, Strategic Program Leader - Promoting Sustainable Growth, at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI).







    Water Accounting For Enhanced Water Management: Case Study Of Souss-Massa, Morocco. 


    Authored by Dani Harake, Programme Officer on Resilience and Climate Change at the Center for Mediterranean Integration.




    Youth: A Leverage Factor For The Water Security And Climate Nexus: Case Of North Africa. Authored by MedYWat members:


    Georges Gharios, Saloua Elfanssi, Adil Jouamaa, and Ali Mahfoud.




    Working Papers by the Mediterranean Youth for Water (MedYWat) Network



    Innovative desalination plant driven by a coupled renewable energy system (qualitative case study: power plant in Mahdia, Tunisia).


    Authored by: Sana Dahmani, Alaa Emad Eldin Selim, and Wissal Khairallah.



    Water Stories: Older Women and Water Management Practices in Palestine.


    Authored by: Kholoud Al-Ajarma, Ghadeer Arafeh, and Jawida Mansour.