Paris – For’UM hosted the seminar under the Patronage of Mr. Alain Juppé, French Minister of Foreign and European Affairs at the initiative of Ms. Valerie Hoffenberg, France’s Special Representative for the Economic, Cultural, Commercial Educational and Environmental Dimension, who brought government and business leaders from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. It mainly focused on two thematic areas in the region: water and energy.
The first session was opened by French Ministers Mr. Henri de Raincourt, Minister attached to the Ministre d’Etat, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, responsible for Cooperation, and Ms. Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, Minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transport & Housing. The session also included two Jordanian Ministers: Dr. Jaafar Al-Hassan, Minister of Planning, and Dr. Mohammad Najjar, Minister of Water; as well as the Israeli Minister of Environmental Protection, Mr. Gilad Erdan; Palestinian Head of the Water Authority, Dr. Shaddad Attili; and UfMS Deputy Secretary General for Environment and Water, Dr. Rafiq Husseini.
In his speech, UfMS Deputy Secretary General for Water and Environment Dr.Husseini outlined the fields of Water and Environmental cooperation with better chances of success in the MENA region. These included river basins and trans-boundary aquifers, climate change (sea level or drop, desertification), cross-border pollution including de-pollution of the Mediterranean, and environmental early warning systems (on tsunamis, forest fires, earthquakes, etc.).
Dr. Husseini ended his speech by highlighting what he termed “10 commandments for the promoters of joint Water and Environmental projects in MENA” which contained ten clear indications on how to achieve successful collaboration in joint water projects. Moreover, he added that “for Hydro-diplomacy to succeed in the MENA region we must ensure that a viable political process is ongoing and moving in parallel. For without a viable political process, Hydro- or Environmental-diplomacy has very little chance of success.”