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Demographic explosion
and population movement
The world’s population is expected to grow by 50 per cent over the next
four decades, from 6 700 million at present to nearly 9 000 million by 2050.
It is estimated that 85 per cent of the total population will be living in devel-
oping countries. As a result the disparity that already exists between poor
and rich will be even greater, and the gap in access to basic essentials such
as fresh water and food will also widen.
During the last decade, a period character- decision-makers,
0
but without much impact on
ized by economic boom and increasing global decision-making itself: cutting CO
2
emissions is
wealth, the number of hungry people increased still subject to debate, even now.
dramatically: “FAO’s most recent estimates put
the number of hungry people at 923 million Climate change and water scarcity are not always
people in 2007, an increase of more than 80 the most pressing problems. The Egyptian environ-
million since 1990–92”.

Migratory pressures mental expert Ihab Shaalan says that uncontrolled
will increase, become increasingly political, and and rapid urbanization in Egypt is the main threat
be seen as a potential security threat. to the Nile delta: “Urbanization is eroding agricul-
tural land faster than climate change,” adding: “Nile
There are fears that climate change will create mi- delta lakes are being polluted because of industrial,
grants of a new type, environmental migrants.
8
agricultural and household sources”.

Chaotic ur-
For example in Alexandria, Egypt’s second larg- banization poses serious problems all over the Mid-
est city, studies show that by 2025 the sea level dle East and North Africa: Egypt has a total surface
may rise by 30 cm, which could inundate large area of 1.01 million square kilometres, 96 per cent
parts of this coastal town, and as a result, “over of which is desert and only 4 per cent is suitable for
half a million inhabitants may be displaced and agriculture. Almost one-third (32 per cent) of its 81
approximately 70,000 jobs could be lost”

. As million inhabitants depend on agriculture for their
long ago as the 1980s UNEP forecast the risk of livelihood.

Degradation of agricultural land and
rising sea level and its dramatic impact on the water scarcity are destroying traditional lifestyles
Nile delta. Its study of the threats of sea level and driving massive urban migration, which in turn
rise on the delta were widely distributed among is accelerating urbanization on arable land.

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