World Water Day 2023: The UfM urges governments, organisations and individuals to accelerate change to solve the water and sanitation crisis
- The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) is joining partner International Organizations and several of its Member States at the UN 2023 Water Conference to alert on the water crisis the Mediterranean region faces, and the need for better water finance and financial sustainability of water management.
- To build the capacity of youth whilst tackling the challenges of water in the Mediterranean region, the UfM has developed a new Water and Youth Engagement Strategy.
- UfM supported projects such as the “Integrated Programme for the Protection of Lake Bizerte against Pollution” or “Smart DESERT” seek to alleviate extreme scarcity of water for vulnerable populations.
22 March 2023. On World Water Day, the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) aims to draw attention the need to provide access to clean water and urges governments, organisations and individuals to accelerate change to solve the water and sanitation crisis. The Mediterranean region suffers from water scarcity, as 180 million people are considered water poor and an additional 60 million face water stress. Climate change, migration, population growth, and urbanization have put enormous pressure on the water resources in the region, exacerbating the problem of water scarcity.
This year, the UfM is joining the UN 2023 Water Conference on 23 March in New York to highlight the water crisis the Mediterranean faces, and the need for better water finance and enhancement of the financial sustainability of water management. The event will count on the participation of the European Commission, the OECD, the European Investment Bank and some of the UfM Member States, namely Finland, Jordan, Morocco and Türkiye. It will showcase the regional policy framework and specific tools developed by the UfM as well as the progress made by individual countries to enhance the financial sustainability of the water sector, including through better investment policies and planning. Different tools will be depicted, including the UfM financial water strategy and the recently launched Cairo Action Agenda.
The UfM is also committed to engaging with youth to promote sustainable water management practices, as they are key actors in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and their involvement is essential to ensuring a sustainable future. To this end, the UfM has developed a 5-year Water and Youth Engagement Strategy, which aims to empower young people in promoting sustainable water management practices in the region. The strategy tackles employability by ensuring youth is integrated into the UfM’s work on water as key elements of change.
UfM Deputy Secretary General in charge of Water, Environment and Blue Economy, Almotaz Abadi, states that “The UfM has made significant strides in promoting sustainable water management practices in the region, including water conservation, and improving water quality. Our goal is to promote regional cooperation and partnerships between governments, civil society, the private sector, and regional stakeholders to achieve sustainable water management in our region.”
These partnerships and international cooperation have seen the launch of the Integrated Programme for the Protection of Lake Bizerte against pollution, a key UfM flagship project which aims at eliminating the main sources of pollution of the lake. In December 2023, the UfM also granted its support to Smart DESERT, a project implemented in Jordan, seeking the economic empowerment of vulnerable populations in the agricultural sector, in particular women and young people, as well as Syrian refugees.
The UfM is advancing the Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystems (WEFE) Nexus, gathering the interrelationships and synergies between water, energy, and food in different environmental contexts. In this framework, the UfM supports the implementation of projects that have the Nexus as the main goal, such as the ‘Making Water Cooperation Happen in MENA – Matchmaker 2’ Project, with pilot projects in Jordan and Palestine, and the ‘WEFE Nexus for Sustainable Development in Mena’ Project which aims at establishing and institutionalizing a WEFE Nexus Hub for MENA with pilot projects in Jordan and Egypt.