MVP Sustainability Map



Sustainability Grade




Sustainable Population

37.5 %

Contraception Use


Species Threatened

2.49 %

Population Growth

$ 1,334

GDP Per Capita

Country Comments

Syria has three times more people than its renewable natural resources can support. NPR reported Syria faced a devastating drought between 2006 and 2010, affecting its most fertile lands. The four years of drought turned almost 60 percent of the nation into a desert. It was a huge amount of land that could not support cattle trading and herding, killing about 80 percent of cattle by 2009. The water shortage and drought drove up unemployment in agriculture. Hundreds of thousands of farmers went to where they might find work: the cities. They were met "almost callously" by the Syrian government. (1)

Many observers credit much of the original unrest and ensuing conflict and war that has driven five million citizens to flee the country in the past decade to the toxic combination of this drought coupled with high population levels putting immense pressure on the basic needs of survival of food and water for millions. (2)

The civil war has inflicted extensive environmental damage on top of the desertification from the drought. Makeshift oil refineries are causing serious pollution, solid waste accumulation, fires, and water contamination are prevalent. When resources are diverted to war and people’s only thoughts are day to day survival, investment in the environment, education, healthcare and areas that improve gender equality and improve lives become negligible.