Connecting Cities: Commonalities and Challenges

The EM/MENA region refers to the geographical expanse that encompasses the Eastern Mediterranean, Middle East and North Africa. This area possesses not only one of the fastest growing populations in the world, but has also been identified as the first region which will eventually remain waterless due largely to manmade climate change. Today, it is confronted with many interconnected challenges, including over-exploited natural resources, rapid population growth, spreading urbanization, and the multiple impacts of climate change. These issues are expected to increase in severity over time, and also have particularly strong manifestations in urban settings. This initiative identifies basic commonalities within the environmental challenges that will be faced in the daily lives of people living in urban centers of this region. Each participating city is represented by statistical and demographic data which correspond to these growing urban challenges. Comparative data from numerical climate models, such as for temperature, and rainfall plus air quality values, illustrate how the growing pressures of extreme conditions, such as hotter and drier summers, will be most intensely felt within urban centers.