Arab countries are amongst those with the scarcest water resources per capita in the world. Groundwater reserves, aquifers and fossil water supplies are being depleted at alarming rates. Water scarcity is a challenge that has led to conflict in the past and will be exacerbated by climate change. Climate change-induced temperature increases and precipitation declines will further aggravate water scarcity and increase the frequency of severe droughts, with an adverse impact on agricultural production. Desertification and the associated threats of future water and food insecurity for ever-larger urban populations are among the key defining problems of the region. Paradoxically at the same time, heavy rain and sea level rise could bring devastating floods to many of the region’s densely populated cities. Risks associated with climate change and natural hazards in cities need to be better understood, and measures to increase resilience to the impacts of climate change and reduce disaster risks will be essential, and will necessitate cooperation between states on certain issues. Improved enforcement of building codes and disaster resilient construction methods and strengthened institutional capacity to do so is also very much needed.

Sudan: Emergency Flood Response in Khartoum for Vulnerable Communities

Funded by the Government of Japan, UN-Habitat has implemented the Emergency Flood Response in Khartoum for Vulnerable Communities as part of its 2003-2016 Country Programme Document. The project was developed as a response to emergency situation resulted from heavy rainfall and flooding in 2013 that led to tremendous losses and social disruption. The overall goal was to strengthen government and community capacities to conduct emergency construction of public facilities and necessary infrastructure through adaptation and implementation of resilient to floods urban planning and building techniques. Over 170 thousands persons benefited from the project interventions in terms of accessibility, protections against flood, access to basic services and capacity building. Gender aspects were considered in the planning and implementation and accessibility of facilities. Environmental-friendly construction technology was introduced, applied and disseminated among affected communities.