5th General Assembly of the Arab Water Council

5th General Assembly of the Arab Water Council

16-17 March 2019. Cairo, Egypt.  5th General Assembly of the Arab Water Council . During this triennial event, more than 400 members and experts representing 25 countries and several regional and international organizations gathered to get acquainted with the Council achievements since the last meeting of the GA in February 2016, and discussed the way forward by approving the Council’s future Work Plan for the next term 2019-2021, and to elect its Board of Governors for the forthcoming mandate until 2021.

The water problems are numerous, especially in the Arab region, given the growing population growth, the Arab region is an arid region and there is an increasing impact of climate change on food safety. Arab countries import more than 50% of their food from abroad. The water situation in the region is critical and requires measures, partnerships and non-traditional solutions to address these challenges. It is time for the Arabs to accept these challenges. Ahmed Aboul Gheit Secretary General of the Arab League

“Water is the basis of life and the nerve of civilization It must be recognized that the Arab countries are facing great challenges in providing water to industry, consumption, food and energy security, problems of change of rainy weather. The whole world is looking at the Arab Water Council and its research to leverage its expertise in order to achieve a comprehensive Arab cooperation in order to overcome all the difficulties encountered by the action. common water in the Arab world face these challenges. In order to achieve economic and political stability, to the extent permitted by the capabilities of the Arab States.” Mr. Saifuddin Hamad former Sudanese Minister of Irrigation

References: 

The technical activities included:

Launching of the SDG-Climate Nexus Facility
Under the framework of the League of Arab States Climate Risk Nexus Initiative (LAS- CRNI) and the Arab Water Security Strategy (2010-2030) towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2030 Agenda in the Arab region, the Arab Water Council (AWC), along with LAS and UN Partners convened the “Official Launching Ceremony of the SDG-Climate Nexus Facility.”

The Facility adapts a multi-phased program that aims at bringing together partners from regional organizations, governments, UN, private finance sector, civil society and academia, to undertake a series of national and regional activities – using a nexus approach – to support bottom-up local actions under SDG13 and the Paris Agreement on climate change to bring about clear co-benefits for core-related SDGs.

Technical Session on “The Arab Water Council Program to Support the Regional Endeavor for Expanding the Use of Non-Conventional Water Resources”
The future of the “Arab Water Security” will largely depend on the development of the non-conventional water resources (NCWR)(desalinated water, treated drainage and wastewater, brackish groundwater, etc…), which offers great potential. NCWR utilization is multi-faceted regarding the knowledge, expertise, consideration for the technical, socio-economic, cultural and environmental aspects and the special governance structure. 

The session presented “Case Studies” from the Arab Countries. The session shared knowledge and  information about recent developments and innovation in policies, institutions, technologies, applications and management of non-conventional water in different uses. It also explored and the way forward towards sustainable expansion of non-conventional water resources. This will bridge the gap between the available water resources and the increasing demand on water for achieving the prospective development in the Arab region. 

Technical Session on “Indicators of State of the Water Report and Sustainable Development in the Arab Region” 
With the aim of developing a consolidated database for water resources management, AWC – jointly with the Center for Environment and Development for the Arab Region and Europe (CEDARE), under the umbrella of the Arab Water Ministerial Council of the League of Arab States – has taken the lead in preparing and publishing on regular basis a series of “State of the Water Reports in the Arab Region” to present the country level water resources assessment on the Arab scale, together with the methodology applied. 

The series of reports represents a unique initiative by the Water Sector in the Arab Region on the road to the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, to monitor progress and achievement. The Session will shed the light on the updated information concerning the status of water strategic policy and service-related indicators in the Arab region. The collection and validation of the data associated with the selected indicators were obtained through selected focal points and experts from the Arab countries.

Extract of the programme:

Arab State of the Water and Sustainable Development Goals Indicators
The session discussed the Sustainable Development Goal 6 on “Clean Water and Sanitation” (SDG6) and its associated targets as well as the 2015 baseline for the indicators to measure the progress made in achieving these targets.
  • Prof. Khaled M. AbuZeid, Regional Director for Water Resources, CEDARE. Overview on “3rd Arab State of the Water Report 2015”
  • Eng. Belkassem Dhimi, Representative of the Kingdom of Morocco to the Board of Governors of the Arab Water Council.
  • Dr. Mohammed Elmulla, Director Water Resources Management Department and Representive of United Arab of Emirates to the Board of Governors of the Arab Water Council.
  • H.E. Eng. Ali Subah, Secretary-General, Ministry of Water & Irrigation and Representive of Kingdom of Jordan to the Board of Governors of the Arab Water Council.
  • Ms. Rana Abu AlSoud, Acting Director General for Organizational Affairs and Head of Gender Unit and Representive of Palestine to the Board of Governors of the Arab Water Council.
Use of Advanced Technology and Remote Sensing Techniques in Water Resources Management for Sustainable Agriculture
the main objective of the session is to bring together new science and policy knowledge to support decision-makers as they further develop their strategic plans by highlighting recent research advances in conceptual thinking and regional modeling and by sharing experiences and success stories on the use of latest Remote Sensing (RS) technologies in water and agriculture management.
  • Mr. Liping Jiang, Sr. Water Resources Specialist, World Bank. “China’s Experience on ET Management”
  • Dr. Talal Darwish, National Council for Scientific Research, National Center for Remote Sensing (CNRS), Lebanon. “Research Priorities and Activities of the National Center for Remote Sensing-CNRS in Agriculture”
  • Dr. Chandrashekhar Biradar, International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA). “Geo-Big Data and Digital Augmentation for Sustainable Agroecosystems”.

  • Dr. Bassam Abdellatif, National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences (NARSS). “NARSS Use of Remote Sensing in Integrated Water Resources Management in Egypt
Main Results of the IHP Program on Groundwater and Arid Zones and Program Activities to Achieve SDG 6
The UNESCO International Hydrological Programme (UNESCO-IHP) is the only UN programme with a dedicated focus on aquifers and groundwater resources.
Expanding the Use of Non-Conventional Water Resources
The latest in the use of non-conventional water resources both at the regional and country levels.
  • Dr. Eman El-Sayed, MWRI, Egypt.“Non-Conventional Water Resources in Egypt”.
  • Prof. Walid Abderrahman, KSA. “Advanced Governance Frameworks for Successful PPP and Large-Scale Reuse of Treated Industrial Effluents in Saudi Arabia ”. 
  • Prof. Mohamed Dawoud and Dr. Osama Sallam, UAE“UAE experience in Scaling-up Development and Use of Non-Conventional Water Resources”.
  • Prof. Khaled M. AbuZeid, CEDARE. A 2030 Strategic Vision for Wastewater Reuse in Egypt”. 
Signing Ceremony of the SDG-Climate Facility

“SDG Climate Facility”, funded by Sida and implemented by UNDP, was signed between UNDP and LAS, AWC and UN Partners to support climate action at regional and country levels and to build resilience of climate-vulnerable communities across the region. 

From right to left: 

Mahmoud A. Abu-Zeid – President Arab Water Council

Ahmed Aboul Gheit – Secretary General of the Arab League
Aly Abousabaa – Director General ICARDA
 

Under this agreement, partners will work towards enhancing the capacity of regional and national institutions to effectively align with SDGs and integrate climate change considerations into implementation of programs and policies.

Related:

The issue of water is at the heart of the challenges of the Arab world and ICARDA’s mandate

Signing by ICARDA of the MoU with the

the Arab Water Council

The Arab Water Council (AWC) aims at initiating and strengthening regional and international cooperation and partnerships to tackle water-related challenges. 

Hence, a closer collaboration with ICARDA in areas of joint and mutual interest was obvious. The two partners agreed to cooperate in resource mobilization and fundraising activities including proposal writing. The proposed cooperation under the Memorandum of Understanding is non-exclusive and shall have an initial term of five years.
Joint project development can cover a variety of activities such as:
  • reducing evaporation losses from open reservoirs and Ponds in Arab Region; 
  • sea water level rise and changes in cropping system; 
  • eco physiological strategies to reduce water consumption in agriculture; 
  • soil fertility and quality management; soil salinity mapping, monitoring and control; 
  • assessment of surface-groundwater interactions quantity-quality relationships for sustainable use; water treatment in groundwater-based agriculture; 
  • monitoring and modeling of the water cycle under a changing climate at multiple scales; 
  • studying water balance components at plot, watershed and basin scales; long term hydrological modeling under climate change and socioeconomic scenarios; 
  • impart capacity on hydrological/ecohydrological modeling and spatio-temporal data analysis of hydrological data.

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