Barcelona, 17 June, 2013. With more than 180 million people in the Mediterranean region being considered ‘water poor’ (disposing of less than 1000 m3 of renewable water per capita per year) and 60 million facing water stress (less than 500 m3 of renewable water per capita per year) according to recent figures by the Global Water Partnership, this year’s World Day to combat Desertification highlights crucial issues for the region and focuses on drought and water scarcity.
The Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), along with its partners, is engaged in a number of actions to meet these urgent water provision needs in the region and is keen to promote and address the consequences of climate change through adaptation and mitigation, green growth and sustainable production and consumption. During a recent visit of EU Commissioner for Climate Action, Ms. Connie Hedegaard, both parties expressed interest and exchanged views on how to cooperate more closely.
The UfM is also involved in the close development of concrete action on aquifer management. Last month, the UfM Secretariat took part in a steering committee meeting of the Sahara and Sahel Observatory (OSS) project on the management of the Système Aquifère du Sahara Septentrional or North-Western Sahara Aquifer (SASS) and explored ways for UfM engagement in its follow-up with the current phase ending in 2014.
The World Day to Combat Desertification is a unique occasion to remind everybody that desertification can be effectively tackled, that solutions are possible, and that key tools to this aim lay in strengthened community participation and co-operation at all levels.