Barcelona, 22 March, 2016. This year UN World Water Day has a simple message to pass – better water, better jobs. The Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean stresses the importance of addressing these two interconnected key issues – water and employment – in the Euro-Mediterranean region in line with the overall 2030 Global Sustainable Development Agenda.
The magnitude and urgency of water scarcity makes it crucial to promote regional partnerships, create sustainable cooperation mechanisms and engage all segments of society, in the water policy dialogue, as well as to enhance human capacity towards effective planning and water management.
Our region faces a range of environmental and human development challenges that are closely related to water resources. More and continued efforts are therefore needed by all stakeholders.
The UfM embodies the added value of regional cooperation through dialogue and through the promotion of regional and sub-regional initiatives and projects:
– The Euro-Med Ministerial Declaration on Water adopted in 2008 included the establishment of the UfM Water Expert Group (WEG,) which is currently working to ensure a regular regional dialogue on water issues of shared interest and to build a common regional water agenda, integrating emerging issues like the Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystems Nexus, as well as pressing challenges like climate change.
– Over 15 projects on Sustainable Development are being promoted by the UfM Secretariat, including:
– The Integrated Programme for protection of the Lake Bizerte against pollution, which will contribute to enhance the environmental and socio economic conditions of more than 400,000 inhabitants.
– The Desalination Facility for the Gaza Strip Project, which will contribute to provide access to water, mitigate the humanitarian crisis and create a more stable environment for development.
– The BlueGreen Med-CS Project, which reinforces the participation and cooperation of civil society organisations on environment and water issues, in particular fostering integrated water resources management.
The Secretariat would like to congratulate all stakeholders and partners around the Mediterranean for their efforts in ensuring water access for all, keeping high on the agenda the integrated water management principles for a better environment and affordable services. Considering that almost half of the world’s workers – 1.5 billion people – work in water related sectors and nearly all jobs depend on water, the Secretariat acknowledges the contribution of water in promoting jobs, transforming societies and improving economies towards sustainable development and optimal use of resources.