Middle East and North Africa

The countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, but share some responsibility for the global accumulation of greenhouse gas emissions, as their emissions are very high when considered on a per capita basis. 

Several MENA countries have historically resisted ambitious action on climate change that would curb the fossil fuel production on which their economies are highly dependent. Interest in renewable energy development in the region is growing, however, and countries such as the UAE and Morocco seek to position themselves as global leaders in clean technology. There is also significant private sector interest in this potential.

While the GEF has been the most significant player, the World Bank’s role is growing, especially through the Clean Technology Fund, as is European investment.

There is evidence that the redistribution of fossil fuel subsidies, or increasing taxes on oil resources, could generate revenues that help MENA countries scale up their efforts to respond to climate change. The impact of the “Arab Spring” which caused major political changes in various countries across the region on national climate change policies remains to be seen.

The content on this page is taken from the Climate Finance Fundamentals publication series. Download the 'Regional Briefing - Middle East and North Africa'.

Ribbon-cutting Arava Power solar power plant in Israel. Flickr/the_greenprophet