Prior to the meeting, the 1st Regional Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystems (WEFE) Nexus Roundtable in the Mediterranean was held back-to-back on 6 and 7 June 2023 in Rabat, Morocco
07-08 June 2023, Rabat – The UfM 13th Water Expert Group (WEG13) meeting took place on 7 and 8 June 2023 in a hybrid format at the Direction Générale de l’Hydraulique of the Ministry of Equipment and Water to review progress at national level in the implementation of the UfM Water Agenda, including the UfM Financial Strategy for Water, since the 12th meeting of the Water Expert Group took place in May 2022 in Amman, Jordan. The meeting was co-chaired by the UfM Co-Presidency Jordan and the European Union (DG Near and DG Environment) and organized in partnership with the Kingdom of Morocco. The meeting brought together the UfM member states and partners.
The meeting also examined the outcomes of the UNFCCC COP 27 and the UN 2023 Water Conference held last March in 2023. Furthermore, the meeting reflected on the necessity of establishing another UfM meeting of Water Ministries after the first The UfM Ministerial Declaration on Water that was held in 2017, to create a momentum to the water agenda’s implementation. In that sense, it was agreed that the UfM would start a process of consultation with member states towards drafting a new declaration on water, Such preparation process will include the drafting of a Roadmap by the UfM that will collect member states’ contributions, which will be presented to the UfM Senior Officials by the end of this year.
UfM member states agreed on the necessity of adopting the non-conventional water resources as an effective alternative for addressing water scarcity, adapting to climate change, protecting the environment, promoting sustainable development, and ensuring a reliable water supply for the future. Furthermore, they highlighted that the use of non-conventional water resources will improve the transition towards a more sustainable circular economy model. In line with this discussion, the directorate general of water of Spain asked the UfM to help with the implementation of IDRA, the International Drought Resilience Alliance, an initiative of Senegal and Spain launched at the latest UN Climate Conference COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh.
The UfM Water and Youth Engagement Strategy was presented during the meeting for the water expert group who stated that involving youth in the water sector and decision making is important because it harnesses their potential, encourages their active participation in society, and contributes to a more inclusive, sustainable, and prosperous future. In order to operationalize the Strategy and deploy its 9 programmes, building partnerships with other organisations will be key.
A session was dictated to the different regional initiatives and projects to present and share their experiences to further support the implementation of the UfM Water Strategy, this includes; the EU WES Project, the Sida/UfM MENA Water Matchmaker 2 Project , the PRIMA WEFE4MED Project and the water digitalization by SEMIDE.
Deputy Secretary General Almotaz Abadi, in charge of Water, Environment and Blue Economy highlighted that this meeting was an opportunity for member states and different stakeholders to better coordinate their efforts in a more integrated manner. Moreover, joint endeavours that may lead to not only advance the implementation of the UfM Water Agenda and, furthermore, link it to other regional agendas such as the biodiversity agenda and the source-to-sea agenda.
Prior to the meeting, the 1st Regional Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystems (WEFE) Nexus Roundtable in the Mediterranean was held back-to-back on 6 and 7 June 2023 in Rabat, Morocco. It was organized by Global Water Partnership – Mediterranean (GWP-Med) and the EU Water & Environment Support (WES) Project with contributions by and in the framework of the GEF UNEP/MAP MedProgramme Child Project 2.2 on Nexus, the WES in the ENI Southern Neighbourhood region, the Sida/UfM MENA Water Matchmaker 2 Project and the PRIMA WEFE4MED Project. The Roundtable brought together local and national authorities, academia, technology companies, civil society groups, and gender and youth organizations, who made significant progress in identifying the appropriate policies and procedures that will enable the implementation of the Nexus approach at various levels. It was also discussed the possibility to establish a Strategic framework for WEFE Nexus in the Mediterranean source to sea continuum. The objective of the roundtable was to ensure that the funding and investments needed to support the upscaling of the Nexus technical innovations and solutions are available.
Participants also discussed the various options and steps that will be taken to ensure that the private and public investments and funding needed for the implementation of the Nexus approach are available through a dedicated session convened by the UfM on mobilizing finance and investment for Nexus implementations.
Deputy Secretary General Almotaz Abadi, in charge of Water, Environment and Blue Economy, highlighted that it is time to move from “Nexus thinking” to “Nexus doing and upscaling”.
During the closing session of the Roundtable, representatives of regional institutions, national authorities and stakeholders stressed the need for a regional strategic framework to address the WEFE Security related risks.