The UfM, the Mediterranean Water Institute (IME) and the Energy and Water Agency of Malta held a meeting to prepare for the 2020 Mediterranean Water Forum.
The meeting aimed to further advance a regional strategy for action on water in line with the 2021 World Water Forum’s objectives.
21 April 2020. The 1st steering committee, organised by the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), the Mediterranean Water Institute (IME) and the Energy and Water Agency of Malta, gathered online 27 water stakeholders to prepare key points of discussion for the 4th Mediterranean Water Forum, which is foreseen on the 11-13 of November 2020 in Malta. Participants agreed the Forum will provide a unique opportunity to highlight the region’s joint action in response to widespread water scarcity and the water management challenges posed by climate change. Amid the current pandemic, these efforts should contribute to economic development while preserving the nexus with public health and hygiene.
The Mediterranean Water Forum will be structured into five technical sessions, one general session and several technical site visits. With a special view on how to move forward after Covid-19, the sessions will consider how the Mediterranean region can become a coordinated better as a hub by focusing on:
- Joint water management solutions and responses
- Non-conventional water resources
- Integrated management
- Finance and investment
- International collaboration
Water security will also be an overarching theme during the event, in line with the objectives of the 9th World Water Forum (WWF) to be held in Dakar in 2021 and with the UfM Water Policy Framework of Action 2030. The final goal of the fora is to merge experiences and contributions to the future management of water in the Mediterranean.
The meeting online, which saw the participation of IME’s president Alain Meyssonnier, UfM Secretary General, Nasser Kamel and UfM’s Deputy Secretary Isidro Gonzalez, highlighted the importance of water as an essential area of regional cooperation for its capacity to contribute to GDP, improve public health and hygiene, as well as drive job creation, three goals that will also be critical in the recovery after the COVID19 crisis. Managing Director of Water at the UfM, Almotaz Abadi, also stressed the need to create a road map for the donor community, to define how the region will contribute to the water security, as well as how to build a programme for resilience that can respond to climate change.
The importance of including the participation of young professionals, women, institutional representatives, practitioners and civil society in the Forum was emphasised by Senén Florensa, President of the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed). Meanwhile, Michael Scoullos, Chairman of GWP-Med and MIO-ECSDE, pointed out that greater awareness of these topics and better targeted education are both necessary as areas of improvement in the region. Finally, Hachmi Kennou, Executive Director of IME, underscored how the design of the agenda will be made in coherence with the objectives of the 9th WWF and taking into account all interventions delivered during this first committee meeting.
This steering committee seeks to support the development of the agenda and the technical documents that will help promote the Mediterranean Water Forum and ensure high level participation. Participants agreed to hold a second meeting of the steering committee early June to identify opportunities within the water sector to achieve its sustainability in the time of crisis. Discussion will focus on water employment migration and the Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystems Nexus as two key programmes of the UfM Water Agenda that will bolster investment and entrepreneurship in the Mediterranean.