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The United Nations World Water Development Report confirms what many already know: hundreds of thousands of people in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) — especially in Algeria, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — have faced the worst water shortages in decades in 2016. This is the last thing the region needs as it works toward economic growth and diversification.

Multiple factors have contributed to the current situation, including climate change, desertification, water pollution and misuse of natural resources. Inadequate information, education and communications exacerbate many of these challenges, as it reinforces a lack of awareness of — much less commitment to — environmentally friendly practices. Add to that inadequate disaster-risk reduction and management by governments — many of which are dealing with other conflicts and crises — and the situation has become truly dire.

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