Rome 2019 MED Dialogues: UfM steps up regional action to tackle water scarcity
- The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) held the 1st Annual Conference on Water Investment and Financing in the framework of the MED – Mediterranean Dialogues, held in Rome on 5-6 December.
- With current policies, 250 million people are projected to be considered water-poor by 2025. Through its regional Water Agenda, the UfM seeks to support its Member States in achieving a sustainable and integrated water management while securing financial sustainability for the water sector.
- The UfM Secretary General today will brief the audience on the main recommendations as well as on the geopolitical implications of climate change.
Rome, 6th December 2019. The UfM is participating in the MED – Mediterranean Dialogues in Rome by holding its 1st Annual Conference on Water Investment and Financing, as part of the UfM Water agenda & Financial Strategy. The main goal of the conference, as presented by the UfM Secretary General, Nasser Kamel, during his intervention, is “to push the boundaries of traditional thinking about water investments by discussing evidence-based knowledge on opportunities to facilitate new forms of financing and enhance the sustainability of the sector”.
The conference highlighted the necessity of water cooperation for regional security in the Euro-Mediterranean region. The session discussed and examined appropriate options for blending different sources of financing among the stakeholders, international organisations and new forms of Public-Private Partnership. The UfM Secretariat is determined to pave the road for a stronger role for the private actors in the water sector, as this is a cornerstone for sustainable financing. This includes supporting Governments in developing a long-term vision on how to involve the private sector, with the necessary policy-reforms to insure guarantees in delivering such a vital service and resource.
The UfM Secretary General, Nasser Kamel, stated: “The Mediterranean region is facing major environmental issues and dealing with water security is of utmost importance. A stronger role of the private sector is key to achieve the financial sustainability of such a vital sector. Its involvement, together with public institutions, will strengthen the action undertaken by the UfM to cope with these challenges.”
Water-related challenges by 2050 are projected to lower the MENA-region’s GDP by 6-14%, if a do-nothing approach is pursued, as predicted by the World Bank, as large volumes of water are lost due to inappropriate techniques or outdated infrastructure. The Mediterranean region holds only 3% of the global water resources and these can decrease by 15% if nothing is changed in current policies. 250 million people are projected to be considered water-poor by 2025.
The UfM Water Agenda seeks to enhance regional cooperation towards sustainable and integrated water management in the UfM region. Its Financial Strategy is conceived to close the funding gap for water management and facilitate increased financing of investments for improved access to water; protection against the risk of droughts, floods or polluted water; and sustainable growth in the region. The strategy sets 10 common strategic objectives and a menu of 48 actions that individual countries are expected to prioritize and implement according to their individual circumstances, priorities and capacities. The Strategy foresees a series of national training workshops as well as regional activities, including an annual regional conference on water investment and finance.
This 1st UfM Annual Conference on Water Investment and Financing focused on the role of the public-private partnerships (PPP), is part of the nine Forums held on specific topics in the fifth edition of the MED – Mediterranean Dialogues Conference. It was organised by the Union for the Mediterranean in partnership with the Italian Institute for International Political Studies, the Global Water Partnership, the ‘Making Water Cooperation Happen in the Mediterranean’ project as well as the EU Delegation in Cairo, with the support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). The full list of speakers is available here.
The Secretary General will pronounce keynote speeches during the MED Dialogue days on the “Geopolitical side of Climate Change: Resource Scarcity and Conflicts” and the “Euro-Med Cooperation in view of the 25th anniversary of the Barcelona Declaration”. He is accompanied by Deputy Secretary General Isidro Gonzalez, in charge of Water, Environment and Blue Economy; Deputy Secretary General Grammenos Mastrojeni, in charge of Energy and Climate Action; and UfM Water Managing Director, Almotaz Abadi. To further pursue its work on climate action, the UfM will be co-organising three side-events at the COP25.
For more information:
UfM Water Policy Framework for Actions 2030
UfM Financial Strategy for Water