Transboundary Climate Security: Climate Vulnerability and Human Security in the Jordan River Basin

in collaboration with Birzeit University

LSE PI: Dr Michael Mason
Co-PI: Dr Ziad Mimi
Duration: June 2012–December 2013


This research addressed climate vulnerable rural communities within the national territories of the watershed of the Jordan River (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory), which is perhaps the most physically and politically stressed river basin in the world, critically applying a human security approach.

The aim of the research was to develop improved policy responses for climate risk management within the Jordan River Basin through a better understanding of the linkages between climate change, adaptation and human security. The study examined three core aspects of climate change in the region – climate vulnerability, adaptation to climate change and capacity-building for climate resilience:

  1. The study examined the human insecurity consequences of climate risks. By means of a collaborative network of researchers in the region, the study examined the climate vulnerability of selected local populations.
  2. The study critically applied human security as a framework for understanding how marginal agricultural communities are likely to experience climate change as a process of short-term coping and longer-term adaptation. The study contributed to domestic capacity building and improved policy dialogue about climate adaptation across the Jordan Basin.
  3. The working hypothesis for the research was that the coping mechanisms already developed by rural communities to deal with the effects of seasonal and political change on water availability negatively affect their capacity to adapt to the additional and longer-term effects of climate change.


The project was carried out in partnership with researchers from each of the Jordan River Basin territories, from the American University of Beirut, Birzeit University (both Palestinian and Arab-Israeli), University of Jordan and a Syrian academic institution, with specific research tasks as follows:

  • To identify the main determinants of climate vulnerability for selected rural communities in the region
  • To determine how current methods of adaptation by vulnerable rural communities serve to increase resilience to climate and other human security threats
  • To examine the regional links between climate vulnerability and human security in terms of humanitarian interventions undertaken by external actors;
  • To examine how state practices affect the capacity of vulnerable rural communities to cope with climate hazards
  • To inform policy processes aimed at reducing regional climate vulnerability 

Research Team


Michael Mason | Principal Investigator

Michael is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Geography and Environment at LSE.


Ziad Mimi | Co-Principal Investigator

Ziad is Associate Professor at the Civil Engineering Department, Birzeit University.


Mark Zeitoun | Project Consultant

Mark is Senior Lecturer at the School of International Development, University of East Anglia.