Beirut, Lebanon, 8 April 2019. The UfM Secretary General, Nasser Kamel, has paid his first visit to the Republic of Lebanon, in the framework of his outreach to the member states. He was received by the Prime Minister, Saad Hariri. During their meeting, Secretary General Kamel highlighted the central role of Lebanon in Euro-Mediterranean relations and its rich Mediterranean heritage.
The visit to Lebanon was also the also the opportunity for the Secretary General to intervene at the inauguration of the 7th Beirut Water Week, organized by the Ministry of Water and Energy of the Republic of Lebanon with the support of the World Water Council. The meeting was also opened by Nada Boustani, Minister of Energy and Water Lebanon, Fadi Georges Comair, Director General of Hydraulic and Electric Resources and President of MEDurable, Mohamed Abdel Ati, Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation of Egypt, Loïc Fauchon, President of the World Water Council, Jacques Ganoulis, Special State Secretary for Water, Ministry of Environment and Energy of Greece and Christina Lassen, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon.
The Secretary General emphasized that only through cooperation and joint action can we serve and help Mediterranean countries to achieve their goals towards water security, universal access to water resources, establishing climate-resilient economies, integrating better planning for water resource allocation, and mobilizing investments for a more reliable water supply. He stressed that the UfM has always perceived water as always as an instrument of development, prosperity and security in the Mediterranean. As such, the current water-related issues that we face today constitute one of the major cross border challenges in our region. The concomitant stress factors of climate change, economic development, urbanization, and growing population pose a serious challenge to both the quality and availability of water resources in our region. Moreover, the strong dependence of several sectors jeopardizes economic growth and could potentially usher social unrest, which could, in turn, aggravate existing regional challenges such as migration.
The celebration of the Beirut Water Week is a new example of the leadership of Lebanon in the framework of the Union for the Mediterranean task force on Water, Energy and ecosystem nexus, where Lebanon, represented by Fadi Comair, is leading countries in order to develop concrete action-oriented work plans and project initiatives in the fields. Almotaz Abadi also participated in a special session dedicated to “The Water Energy Food and Ecosystem nexus in the Mediterranean and MENA Countries”, where he presented the UfM Water Agenda. The UfM Task force has actually proved that adopting a cross-sectoral approach is key for a comprehensive development, particularly on water-related.