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Helen Avery

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Adaptation and mitigation strategies for Kurdistan


  • Helen Avery

Summary, in English

The Kurdish economy is today heavily dependent on hydrocarbons exports. Current trends are that hydrocarbons exporting and processing countries, as well as interest groups within these countries, are pushing to expand production and maximise profits while this is still possible. The magnitude and observed acceleration of the present climate emergency - with major impacts both in terms of loss of conditions for human life and in terms of economic losses - has already led to some regulation internationally and in certain countries, but it is likely that we will soon see much tighter regulation and drop in demand. For Kurdistan, the consequences of observed trends are thus likely to be on the one hand, a drop in oil prices in the very short term due to global overproduction, and on the other, a loss of markets to export towards in the near future. Foreseeable economic consequences of both trends will be difficulties to cover any food needs of the country by imports, as well as reducing the possibility to import raw materials or equipment that would enable domestic production in a more diversified economy.
In terms of prioritisation and strategy, it is suggested to focus on planting and maintaining forests, since trees take time to grow and offer full benefits, and on reducing chemical pollution, since this is an area where current policies will have the most significant impacts on the conditions that enable life and livelihoods for both the short and long term. Further areas of priority are research and education capacity for a sustainable economy, and the industrial capacity to depend less on imports. Future industrial production systems will increasingly rely on biological techniques and raw materials rather than energy-intensive minerals extraction, which means that ensuring optimal conditions for agriculture and forestry are a priority for the economy as a whole.


  • Centre for Advanced Middle Eastern Studies
  • MECW: The Middle East in the Contemporary World

Publishing year




Document type



  • Economics
  • Environmental Sciences


  • adaptation strategies
  • economic diversification
  • climate change
  • hydrocarbons dependency