Barcelona, 18 April 2016. The southern shores of the Mediterranean are among the world’s most water-scarce, with over 150 million people affected. According to the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), this figure is set to rise by a further 80-100 million by 2025. Water scarcity is both a natural and a human-made phenomenon and so more and continued efforts are needed by all stakeholders. The UfM embodies the added value of regional cooperation through dialogue and promoting regional and sub-regional initiatives and projects.
The 1st Meeting of the Drafting Group of the UfM Water Expert Group (WEG) took place on 5 April in Athens and was opened by Almotaz Abadi, UfM Acting Deputy Secretary General for the Environment & Water Division. Discussions focused on the content of a regional agenda and work plan on water as well as on the operationalisation of further cooperation (see documents below).
The magnitude and urgency of water scarcity makes it crucial to promote regional cooperation through regional partnerships, sustainable cooperation mechanisms, engagement with all segments of society in the water policy dialogue and enhanced human capacity towards effective planning and water management. The 2030 Global Sustainable Development Agenda brings fresh impetus for regional cooperation as it provides an ambitious framework for action towards sustainability, including water (SDG 6) and inter-linked sectors and targets.
In this context, the 5th Meeting of the Water Expert Group took place in November 2015 in Luxembourg and enabled the relaunch of a regular regional dialogue on water issues of common interest, building on the Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference on Water which was held at the Dead Sea, Jordan, in December 2008 and the Fourth WEG which took place in Barcelona in 2011. It also provided the opportunity to include in the debate emerging issues like the water-energy-food-ecosystem nexus as well as pressing challenges such as climate change. See here the meeting’s recommended conclusions, which included the creation of the aforementioned Drafting Group to define a regional roadmap and work plan on Water issues.
The 1st Meeting of the Drafting Group of the UfM Water Expert Group was co-chaired by the UfM Co-Presidency, Jordan and the EU. It was organised by the UfM Secretariat in partnership with the GWP Water, Climate and Development Programme (GWP WACDEP).
Better water through enhanced cooperation and integration brings more human development and stability to the Mediterranean.