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Fragility has become the reality in several countries of the Middle East and North Africa. Armed conflict and forced displacement are taking an enormous toll on human lives, with the region accounting for about 60 percent of the estimated global total of battle-related casualties since the turn of the millennium. The fragility of these countries compound the region's water problems. Several countries in the Middle East and North Africa struggled with managing their water resources before the political turmoil and now combined with conflict, water challenges have intensified. This all gives rise to a vicious cycle because failure to find water solutions aggravates the fragility which makes it more difficult to address water issues. Addressing water and fragility challenges requires a move from a focus primarily on immediate, reactive responses to a balanced long-term approach that include using decentralised, participatory approaches, investing in innovative policies and practices, and working together within countries and across boundaries. Water and agriculture are key to recovery and stabilisation and to peace-building. Addressing short-term livelihood and food security needs is essential in the short-term and sustainable water management is necessary for the long-term.

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pasquale.steduto@fao.org