Libya has a land area of 1,759,540km2 and a total population of 6,355,112, 78% of which live in cities. Libya has a per capita GDP of US$9,957, with an economy primarily dependent on oil revenues, which contribute around 25% of GDP and make up all export earnings. Non-oil manufacturing has expanded mainly in the processing of agricultural products. Arable land is estimated at only 1%, while the agricultural sector contributes about 9% of GDP and provides employment to about 5% of the total labor force. Libya’s agriculture relies heavily on irrigation, but limited renewable water resources, coupled with harsh climatic conditions and poor soil, severely limit production. Low agricultural yields force the country to import about 75% of the food required to meet local needs.
Libya has four major physiographic regions: the Coastal Plains, the Northern Mountains, the Internal Depressions, and the Southern and Western Mountains. Libya is 95% desert, mostly barren with flat to undulating plains. This, combined with the Mediterranean climate, renders many parts of the country susceptible to floods, sandstorms, dust storms, and desertification.
Climate change poses a significant threat to Libya’s economic development and sustainability, and climate variability is likely to increase the impacts of natural hazards on agriculture production. The country’s current natural freshwater and underground water resources are limited and being depleted due to overuse for agricultural development. Furthermore, a number of socioeconomic and institutional factors hamper Libya’s ability to respond to current and projected changes in climate, including: weak institutional structures; ambiguous environmental legal and regulatory frameworks; lack of an effective mechanism for reconciling new environmental legislation; lack of long-term reliable data or technical capacity to analyze the data; uncertainties in local climate scenarios; low institutional or technical capacity to interpret, modify or develop existing models; and lack of research on applicable measures to address climate change.
Selected Indicators for Impacts and Vulnerabilities