Social contracts and environmental change in the Middle East and North Africa and elsewhere

The workshop is meant to discuss the relations between environmental change and social contracts and their implications for future development and policy-making in the MENA region and beyond. Papers presented at the workshop focus on one or more of the following questions:

How does environmental degradation affect social contracts in the MENA and other world regions? To what extent can these effects be cushioned on the national level, i.e. by amendments in social contracts that provide for a better compensation of parties suffering particularly from environmental change – that is by more or better protection, provision or participation? To what extent does the social contract erode or do political actors delegitimize themselves when they cannot adequately protect their citizens from the consequences of environmental damage and disasters?

How do current social contracts contribute to environmental degradation? Which social groups benefit from current modes of natural resource exploitation, and which ones loose? What role does the unequal access of different social groups to natural resources (provision) play in this regard? How can adaptation measures be designed in a way that helps addressing environmental problems, but also promote social contracts that are more inclusive (participation)? Can social contracts be reformulated such that the societal groups who are primarily responsible for environmental change compensate those who suffer most from it? Can the compensations paid by external actors (for example in the loss and damage framework be used on the national level to strengthen the social contract?

How does environmental change affect parties that have no say on the shape of social contracts such as children, future generations, people in other countries or other species/ biodiversity? What can be done to ensure that renegotiations of social contracts ensure their participation and take better account for their legitimate interests?

The workshop will also discuss how different stakeholders within a country can reframe and renegotiate social contracts in a way that is both more environmentally sustainable and more inclusive, for instance through agreements on compensations paid to reinternalise external effects of current patterns of production, consumption and natural resource use.

For more information, please click here.