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Study Sites

Morocco-Andalusia Biosphere

Project: CLICO
Country: Spain
Size: ca. 530 000 km²


The International Biosphere Reserve shared by the Spanish Autonomous Community of Andalusia and Morocco covers one of the most interesting straits in between two continents and under the influence of 3 sovereign countries. The Mediterranean climate creates conditions that reduce water availability in an area where socio-economic development during the last decades has increased water exploitation and conflict. A combination of hydro-climatic hazards (desertification and extended drought periods) and intensive land use changes seems to be directly affecting soil health and underground water reserves. Moreover, intensive resource exploitation under such an active hydro-climatic hazard generates regional conflicts between economic sectors, especially between intensive and extensive agricultural areas and tourism. National/regional/local government action and institutions for managing this hydro-security hazard and respond to climate change are crucial but can also generate conflict. Some established legal instruments for responding to climate change and its effects on water resources in order to ensure human security are in place in Andalusia. Nevertheless, lack of organisation and sustainable measures to protect water resources have been recorded, exemplified in the priority given to tourist areas (e.g. golf courses) during drought periods that makes it necessary to reduce or even cut water supply for urban and household uses. In the Moroccan part of the study, there is a lack of legal instruments to respond to climate change and its effects, while strong economic interests of foreign agricultural and tourist enterprises seem to also put in risk water availability and human security, especially in rural areas where water supply is not catered for by the National or Municipal government.

CLICO will try mapping these external pressures and evaluate the risk degree for the local population and the possible conflicts that could motivate an increase of vulnerability to climate change. In this way, this case study will contribute to two main themes of CLICO research, namely consider the specificities of a hazard, its interactions with vulnerability and the causal routes between vulnerability, impacts, conflicts and security; and explore the determinants of vulnerability and adaptive capacity under multiple stressors.


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