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American University of Beirut (2021)

The Contribution of Urban Agriculture to Food Security in Post-Conflict Syria

Alhasan, Ali

Titre : The Contribution of Urban Agriculture to Food Security in Post-Conflict Syria

Auteur : Alhasan, Ali

Université de soutenance  : American University of Beirut

Grade : Master of Science (MS) 2021

Background : In Syria, three quartiles (74%) of the total population live in cities by 2050, with scarce water and energy resources as the country is located in an arid and semi-arid region and under the American sanctions. The Syrian conflict that began in 2011 has not been solved yet which left behind it 12.4 million people food insecure, 1.3 million severely food insecure, and 6.7 million Syrians are internally displaced (WFP, 2021). The post-conflict situation requires more resilient solutions and policies to improve Syria’s food security (FS). One suggested step is urban agriculture (UA) to feed the urban citizens and create job opportunities sustainably. Research Question and Objectives : The study research question is : will UA be a useful option to achieve food security (specifically food availability and food accessibility) in post-conflict Syria ? To that end, the main objectives of this research are : (1) to assess the potential of Urban Food Ecosystems (UFEs) (Controlled environment agriculture (CEA)) practices, methods, and reinvestments of water and food to improve food security in post-conflict Syria ; and (2) to propose preliminary policy recommendations to guide UA in post-conflict Syria. Methodology : The research first relies on a literature review of previous research on topics related to FS, UA generally, and UA in the MENA region. Based on that, a conceptual framework is therefore constructed. The framework was validated by conducting a semi-structured online interview with nine experts, researchers, and professionals in the fields of UA, water, and food waste reinvestments, and RE. The participants helped the interviewer to achieve the first and second research objectives. Results and Discussion : A conceptual framework was created based on the literature review. The framework includes the usage of renewable energy (RE) for irrigation, operate wastewater treatment (WWT) plants, and desalination plants that also can be used as a water source besides harvested rainwater. The benefit will return to the Syrian economy by providing job opportunities to women, youth, disabled, and displaced Syrians. Fruits and vegetables would be produced nearby the cities centers which can reduce transportation, decrease the use of energy and water, provide fresh and diverse food to the most marginalized populations in Syria. Conclusion : If UA is legalized and recognized by governmental leaders and politicians, it would be a contributor to improve the food availability and accessibility of the urban citizens and beyond. The food production would be produced nearby city centers in an environmentally friendly way, positively affecting the environment and Syria’s FS.


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