Barcelona, 22 March, 2013. Focusing its efforts on its mandate for Depollution of the Mediterranean and towards Integrated Water Resources Management, the UfM Secretariat is currently undertaking vital steps to map out the current state of depollution in the Mediterranean. Cooperating with stakeholders such as the United Nations Environment Programme – Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP-MAP) and the European Investment Bank (EIB), studies are being carried out with the aim to evaluate the implementation of depollution projects in the Mediterranean, the environmental impact and the investment needs for 2020-2025 and to remove the main sources of pollution which jeopardize the future of the Mediterranean Sea and coasts.
Through close cooperation not only with international, but also national stakeholders, the aim will be to provide recommendations on ways forward in ensuring coherence, synergy and joint effective action among different actors and their respective programmes and initiatives in the field. The outputs of the three studies will contribute to revise a UN Strategic Action Program (UNEP-MAP Depollution Strategic Action Program) as well as national action plans and will define the H2020 initiative, which is foreseen to enter its second phase of implementation in 2014 (-2020).
The regional approach supported by UfM Secretariat to the improvement of Water Governance to attract further sectorial financing is an example of a project where International financers (such as Swedish SIDA, EC and EIB) support the work of international policy agencies (such as GWP-Med and OECD) to benefit the Mediterranean region as a whole, but also Mediterranean countries such as Tunisia, Morocco, Jordan, Albania, Lebanon and Palestine.
Further projects labeled by UfM, such as the Desalination Facility for the Gaza Strip further highlight the importance of cooperation, coherence and synergies among the different actors concerned and the UfM is working together with key partners, such as Islamic Development Bank, the European Investment Bank; the European Commission, the World Bank and UNEP support and engage together in making this project reality. The need and urgency of providing safe drinking water to 1.7 Million Palestinians was only highlighted again recently by United Nations Agencies. The UNEP has further recognized that this project constitute ‘the only viable solution for the water supply’ in a territory where the ground water resources are scarce and increasingly endangered and become inaccessible for drinking water due to over-pumping.
The UfM Secretariat stands ready to support regional initiatives and projects that will lead to finding the best possible solution to the issues of scarcity and quality of fresh water around the Mediterranean region, based on the UNGA resolution of July 2010, which considered access to clean fresh water as a basic human right.