Syria's Second National Communication - In Progress

Introduction

The creation of a National Communication offers countries the opportunity to contribute with technically sound studies and information that can be used for designing mitigation and adaptation measures, and project proposals that can and will help increase their resilience to the impacts of climate change. Activities generally include: V&A assessments, Greenhouse Gas Inventory preparation, Mitigation Analysis or Education, and awareness raising activities. The ultimate goal is the integration of climate change considerations into relevant social, economic and environmental policies and actions.

The recurrence of drought, coupled with its increased intensity, has reduced available water supplies and adversely affected the quality of water, thereby aggravating water resources management problems in the country. Most Syrian cities currently have a water supply deficit. Damascus, once an oasis with pure and ample hydrological resources, is today one of the thirstiest cities in the Middle East; this is especially true in the light of continuous looting by Israel of water resources from the occupied Golan heights, resources that could cover about 30% of Damascus’ annual needs. Bearing this in mind, a shortage of water supplies will undoubtedly raise concerns about food production and increase the risk of desertification in the country.

To view progress on Syria's SNC click here.

Project Details

Being an arid and semi-arid country, the Syrian Arab Republic (SAR) will be one of the states most affected by the potential impact of climate change. A preliminary assessment reveals nationwide changes in rainfall patterns and fluctuations in temperature during the past five decades. Average annual rainfall has fallen dramatically in the main agricultural areas over the past years. As a result, the country has suffered from a lack of rain and the prolonged effects of drought.

Moreover, recent studies have predicted that the Fertile Crescent will lose its current shape due to climate change. Furthermore, the annual discharge of the Euphrates River will decrease significantly (29-73%), as will the Jordan River’s stream flow. Such decrease would definitely impede economic growth and create difficulties towards achieving sustainable development in the countries of the region. 

The recurrence of drought, coupled with its increased intensity, has reduced available water supplies and adversely affected the quality of water, thereby aggravating water resources management problems in the country. Most Syrian cities currently have a water supply deficit. Damascus, once an oasis with pure and ample hydrological resources, is today one of the thirstiest cities in the Middle East; this is especially true in the light of continuous looting by Israel of water resources from the occupied Golan heights, resources that could cover about 30% of Damascus’ annual needs. Bearing this in mind, a shortage of water supplies will undoubtedly raise concerns about food production and increase the risk of desertification in the country.

With a population of over 20 million, in addition to one million Iraqis and half a million Palestinian refugees, pressure is being exerted on the meager resources and services; economic sectors are highly affected by climate change, leading to a decrease in the ability to achieve balanced socio-economic development and to constrains in its sustainability.

A major shift in long-term annual rainfall patterns and a rise in temperatures are projected over most areas of Syria by the year 2100. This will predominantly have negative impacts on the agricultural sector, which currently employs 25 - 30% of the total workforce and contributes the same percentage of the country’s total GDP. The considerable drop in groundwater levels in many of the country’s water basins is of great concern to national authorities, due to its social, economic and political implications.

Climate change will affect land use patterns, accelerate the pace of land degradation, and increase the risks of drought. Heat waves and dust storms, which have become a bitter scourge for residents of the country’s eastern region, are on the increase. Rising sea levels are expected to flood Syrian coastal lowlands. Lastly, climate change will have implications on health services, other economic sectors and natural ecosystems. 

Source: Syria's First National Communication (April 2010)

 

Climate-Related Hazards Addressed: 
Level of Intervention: 
Primary Beneficiaries: 
Through improved identification of national circumstances, government agencies and other actors will increase their abilities to insulate at risk urban and rural populations from the adverse effects of climate change.
Implementing Agencies & Partnering Organizations: 
Government of Syria
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Global Environment Facility (GEF)
Project Status: 
Under Implementation
Location: 
Urban
Funding Source: 
Financing Amount: 
420,000
Co-Financing Total: 
410,000

Key Results and Outputs

  • Sustainable development and the integration of climate change concerns into medium and long-term planning
  • Inventories of anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases
  • Measures contributing to addressing climate change
  • Research and systematic observation
  • Climate change impacts, adaptation measures and response strategies
  • Education, training and public awareness

Monitoring and Evaluation

In 1992, countries joined an international treaty, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to cooperatively consider what they could do to limit average global temperature increases and the resulting climate change, and to cope with whatever impacts were, by then, inevitable.

Parties to the Convention must submit national reports on implementation of the Convention to the Conference of the Parties (COP). The required contents of national communications and the timetable for their submission are different for Annex I and non-Annex I Parties. This is in accordance with the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" enshrined in the Convention.

The core elements of the national communications for both Annex I and non-Annex I Parties are information on emissions and removals of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and details of the activities a Party has undertaken to implement the Convention. National communications usually contain information on national circumstances, vulnerability assessment, financial resources and transfer of technology, and education, training and public awareness.

Since 1994, governments have invested significant time and resources in the preparation, collection and validation of data on GHG emissions, and the COP has made determined efforts to improve the quality and consistency of the data, which are ensured by established guidelines for reporting. Non-Annex I Parties receive financial and technical assistance in preparing their national communications, facilitated by the UNFCCC secretariat.

Contacts

UNDP
Yamil Bonduki
Coordinator, National Communications Support Programme (NCSP)
Government of Syria
Haitham Nashawati
Project Affiliate