October 18, 2023, Valencia – The Union for the Mediterranean in collaboration with the Mediterranean Water Institute (IME), the World Water council, and in coordination with Spain and Tunisia discussed pressing water challenges in the region at the 5th edition of the Mediterranean Water Forum’s kick-off meeting on October 18 in Valencia (Spain). This took place with the aim of creating a robust platform for stakeholders to converge and strategize around complex water issues ahead of the full event in Tunis next February leading up to the 10th World Water Forum in Bali.
During the kick-off meeting, participants from diverse backgrounds, including water experts, policymakers, industry leaders, civil society groups, institutions, and other organisations discussed priority issues closely aligned with the 10th World Water Forum, emphasising themes such as the Water-Energy-Food-Environment (WEFE) nexus, new visions for water supply and demand by 2050, drought and flood prevention, water law and conflict resolution, sustainable water finance, and innovations in water use.
The meeting started with the welcoming remarks of Almotaz Abadi, Deputy Secretary General of the UfM in charge of Water, Environment and Blue Economy, Abdelmonem Belaati, the Minister of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries of Tunisia, Leila Chikhaoui, the Minister of Environment of Tunisia (via video message) alongside Alain Meyssonnier, IME President and Loïc Fauchon, President of the World Water Council, and Sabina Galindo, the Director General of Water in València Region, as well as the Director General of Water, Teodoro Estrela, from the Government of Spain, with many representatives of the water sector and private sector from Spain and France; Italy Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Portugal, Malta and other countries.
Working groups organised around these themes held in-depth discussions allowing participants to share diverse perspectives and insights as well as to underscore the acute need for effective responses to ensure water security, especially in a region where demographic trends, socio-economic challenges, and the effects of climate change have a profound impact on water management. Also, it was highlighted the need to focus on connecting water with green and blue agenda with special emphasis on investment and private sector roles.
Participants also explored perspectives on water management tailored to local needs and identified best practices and technologies that could serve as answers to the region’s water security challenges.
Experts, stakeholders, and policymakers united with a shared commitment to finding sustainable solutions to the Mediterranean’s water challenges and to further develop concept notes on the upcoming Mediterranean Water Forum’s different themes.
The event agenda can be consulted here.
For more information on the outcomes of the 5th Mediterranean Water Forum and to stay updated on future developments and actions, please visit the official website.