The road towards the UfM Water Agenda: advancing solutions to water-related challenges
Member states of Union for the Mediterranean agreed to advance solutions to meet water-related socioeconomic challenges, promoting climate resilience, while assisting women and youth towards job creation during the Joint Water-Employment-Migration (WEM) and Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystems (WEFE) Task Forces Meeting of the UfM Water Agenda.
23 July 2020. The UfM Task Forces on Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystems (WEFE) Nexus and Water-Employment-Migration (WEM) held a joint online meeting on 23 July 2020, which constituted the 4th meeting of the WEFE Task Force, and the 5th meeting of the WEM Task force. The purpose of combining the two TFs’ meetings was to jointly identify priorities of the WEFE Nexus and WEM Work Plans 2020-2022 as well as to provide further guidance on the synergetic actions of the related thematic FPs.
The UfM Co-presidencies, EU DG Environment and the Ministry of Water and Irrigation of Jordan, jointly stated that the region requires cooperation and should build synergies between different programmes. Andrew Murphy, Senior Expert, DG Environment, highlighted that the European Green Deal and the Recovery Plan, supported by the UfM Water Agenda in the Mediterranean, constitutes part of the solution for the region.
Mohammad Al Dwairi from the Ministry of Water & Irrigation of Jordan reminded that the Mediterranean Region lives under constant water pressure, giving the example of Jordan, and stated that cooperation and coordination among different actors is the only way forward.
The UfM Deputy Secretary General for Water, Environment and Blue Economy Isidro González Afonso, highlighted that the development of the UfM Water Agenda has been showcased as an example of coordinated approach, acknowledging the high level of partners’ engagement, including donors like the Swedish Development Agency SIDA. It is now time to coordinate and cooperate in order to implement the activities under its thematic priorities.
Mr. Vangelis Constantianos, CEO, GWP-MED, illustrated that the meeting was addressed to members of the UfM WEFE Nexus and WEM TF as well as other stakeholder organisations, and presented the following main objectives:
Present and discuss the document ‘UfM Framework Programmes for Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystems Nexus & Water-Employment-Migration: Note on Synergetic Actions’, as well as elements of its implementation;
Share initial suggestions for the UfM WEFE Nexus and WEM Work Plan(s) 2020-2022 and receive guidance by TF Members and feedback by regional partners;
Present related on-going and up-coming WEFE Nexus and WEM activities in the Mediterranean, including by outlining possible operational synergies with the related UfM Water Agenda at regional, sub-regional and national level.
During the meeting, the new Sida funding allocated to implement the UfM Water Agenda has been announced and the synergetic actions with the EU funded project Water Environment Support (WES) was presented to the Member States.
Member State Representatives from both shores of the Mediterranean, alongside with Regional and International Organisation, International Financial Institutes and Development Partners, the EU, and UN Agencies received positively the synergised Work Programmes on WEM and WEFE, providing some comments, which will be integrated to the final working document, and to be presented to the 11th WEG Meeting and next SOM, as stated by Almotaz Abadi, UfM Water Managing director. He emphasized, “We should enhance the cooperation in the region already suffering from climate change, water stress and the COVID-19 pandemic.”
From the speakers
As a welcome remark, Andrew Murphy, Senior Expert, DG Environment, stated: “We support the UfM Water Agenda and are pleased to witness convergences between the European Green Deal and the actions proposed in the UfM Water Framework Programmes.”
Eng. Mohammad Al Dwairi, Secretary General Assistant for strategic Planning.
Ministry of Water & Irrigation of Jordan, highlighted that the Water sector in Jordan is actively working with the ministry of energy, establishing a high level committee to discuss the interlink between the two strategic sectors and to synchronise their actions.
Mona Fakih, Director of Water, General Directorate of Hydraulic and Electric Resources, Ministry of Energy and Water of Lebanon, reminded in introduction that we should keep focus on human rights, gender equality, youth, job creation and migration with Hydrodiplomacy as a tool of great added value.
Enrico Granara, Coordinator of the Euro-Mediterranean Multilateral Activities, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Italy: “In my capacity as a team leader for the WEM Task Force, I welcome this synergetic approach for the work in the region and I am pleased to announce that your work will be showcased in the Ponza Prima-Med Initiative in September 14, 2020.
Dr. Tuğba Evrem Maden, Expert, Turkish Water Institute (SUEN): “Our main objective is to put theory into practice in a context of cooperation among countries and under the umbrella of the UfM.”