19 September 2022 – The UfM Water Task Forces, Water Access, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH), and Water Climate Change Actions (WCCA), took place during the IME’s Regional Symposium “Our Mediterranean: water challenges and regional priorities for 2050” on 19-20 September 2022 under a hybrid format from Valencia, Spain.
Bringing together country representatives and regional stakeholders of the UfM region. Both meetings came as a result of the continuous endeavours of the UfM towards its Member states to help them bringing about decisive actions to meet their environmental challenges and tackle climate change in the Mediterranean. Moreover, they came following the UfM member states ‘request at the last meeting of the UfM Water Expert Group (WEG12), held in Amman in May 23-24, 2022, who expressed the need to re-launch the work of the WEG Task Forces, updating their action plans while looking for ways to increase their efficiency and their impact.
Holding these two Task Force together and linking between them had the objective to highlight the importance of considering the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene infrastructures as a solution to tackle and mitigate the climate change impacts.
After the welcoming remarks from the Deputy Secretary General in charge of Water, Environment and Blue Economy, Almotaz Abadi, the first segment of the meeting, which was dedicated to the WASH task force, brought together the leading countries of this task force (Egypt and Malta) who highlighted the paramount importance of WASH in the region. They also suggested to convey a technical working group to develop the material of the WASH strategy at a technical level to ensure addressing the needs of people when it comes to access fresh water and sanitation in the Mediterranean region. This segment marked the presence of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) representative, Agmad Elmahdi, who gave an overview about the GCF-Water Finance tools and approaches among which treating water as a new asset class for water reuse and sanitation infrastructures.
The second segment was dedicated to WCCA task force and brought together likewise the leading countries (France and Morocco) alongside representatives from different institutions in the region such as Blanca Moreno-Dodson, Director of the Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI)-United Nations Office for Project Services, Fatima Driouech from MedECC and Teodoro Estrela, Director General of Water, Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic challenge of Spain who underlined that climate adaptation in the water sector is crucial and should be at the top priority areas of the Mediterranean countries.
At the end of both meetings, the UfM Deputy Secretary General praised the task forces held in Valencia as a central opportunity to continue the discussion started in 2018 on how to ensure the best contribution of the on-going initiatives to the water sector, obtain a reinforced mandate to put greater efforts on water issues of already existing UfM actions, and discuss other suggestions for initiatives. Ambassador Abadi expressed the UfM willingness and readiness to take into consideration every suggestion and remark from its member states as part of our compromise with them to further advance the implementation of the UfM Water Agenda. As we approach the COP 27 Climate Change Conference, he reminded the participants about the jointly organised EU and UfM High-Level Conference on Water Finance and Investment on Strengthening Water Finance and Investment Policies to Address the Climate Emergency in the Mediterranean Region that will be held in the margins of the Cairo Water Week as a Pre-COP 27 Event.
In the afternoon and in the framework of the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Mediterranean Water Institute, the UfM Deputy Secretary General Almotaz Abadi attended a high-level session that was marked with a remarkable intervention of Prince Albert II of Monaco, and Teresa Ribera, Spanish Minister of Environment and Demographic Challenges, alongside water managers from 20 countries of the Northern and Southern shores of the Mediterranean.
The meeting was a good opportunity and an enabling environment to enhance exchanges on good practices, share experiences, reflect together on the challenges facing the Mediterranean and to explore ways to put water on their top priorities for the coming years.
The meeting was also an opportunity to build and pursue with the Mediterranean water community the preparatory process for the 5th Mediterranean Water Forum in Tunis 2023 and the 10th World Water Forum in Bali 2024.