Expert talk

Promoting Water Security in the MENA

Water technology solutions in development cooperation & the role of SMEs

In the exchange, leading experts and innovators in the field of water technology will present their latest innovations and give best practices examples of successful knowledge transfer and implementation of water technologies in the region. Local and international experts and representatives from politics, business and civil society will discuss and tackle the following questions: • What are the MENA region’s most pressing challenges concerning water security? How to address them properly? • What are best economic framework conditions to promote and improve inter and intraregional water technology transfer of SMEs? How to enhance investment protection and capacity building? • How to make sure water technology knowledge is sustainable and to the benefit of the people in need?



“The capacity of a population to safeguard sustainable access to adequate quantities of acceptable quality water for sustaining livelihoods, human well-being, and socio-economic development, for ensuring protection against water-borne pollution and water-related disasters, and for preserving ecosystems in a climate of peace and political stability.”


(Working definition, UN-Water, 2013)

The UN definition for water security indicates that water is crucial for a region’s stability and prosperity. Water is linked to economic activities and development, which include the availability of adequate water supplies for food and energy production, industry, transport and tourism. Energy as such is necessary for the extraction, desalination and distribution of drinking water.

The availability of drinking water depends on functioning ecosystems and secure supply chains, including highly effective water storage and waste water management facilities to maintain human health and promote economic growth.

To maintain and create modern, cost-effective, environmental friendly water supply services for regions which are challenged by water scarcity and its impacts, it is necessary to develop a sustainable approach to manage this precious resource. It further implicates that modern technologies of water management like sewage treatment, desalination and irrigation technics should be available to meet the needs of water stressed regions like the MENA region.

This region significantly suffers from water scarcity and some experts consider the water crisis as a greater threat to the region than political instability or unemployment. Due to a growing population, water demand is likely to increase in the coming decades and is estimated to become almost five times higher by 2050. The region’s need for sustainable water (supply) solutions is evident and will require inter and intraregional efforts of transboundary cooperation, where the promotion and availability of technological solutions will play a central role.

Necessary innovations often emerge both from a local urgency and from creative small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which concentrate their research and development on sector customized solutions. Thus, smart development policies should look at creating adequate market frameworks and support knowledge transfer and exchange of best practices between neighbouring countries.


09.00 Registration

09.15 Welcome and Introduction

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  • Denis SCHREY, Head of the Multinational Development Policy Dialogue, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung
  • Dr. Horst HEITZ, Executive Director, SME Europe

09.30 Session 1 – Challenges of water stressed regions


Water Supply Security & Water Management as Warrantors for Stability and Economic Growth

  • Dr. Sandra YANNI, Senior Research Fellow, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, American University of Beirut

  • Nada MAJDALANI, Palestine Director Eco Peace Middle East

  • Michael MILLER, Head of Unit – Middle East, Dir B - Neighbourhood South, DG NEAR

  • Guy HARRISON, Desk officer Arabian Peninsula, Iraq and Regional policies, European External Action Service (tbc)

  • Nabil MUSA, Director Waterkeepers Iraq

10:30 Open discussion between all participants


Moderated by

Daniela DIEGELMANN, Programme Director, Energy Security and Climate Change Middle East and North Africa, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung

10.45 Tea Break

11.00 Session 2 – Sustainable Water Technology Transfer


Market Entry Tools – Investment Protection & Capacity Building

  • Josef SCHNAITL, CEO, GIS Aqua Austria

  • Prof. Jauad El KHARRAZ, Head of Research Middle East Desalination Research Center (MEDRC)

  • Prof. Dr. Wim van VIERSSEN, Vice-President, Water Supply and Sanitation Technology Platform

  • Harald SCHÖLZEL, Senior Water Expert, Security and Resilience Division, European Investment Bank


12.00 Session 3 – Discussion and Policy Recommendations


Moderated by

  • Durk KROL, Executive Director, WSSTP

12.30 Conclusion

  • Dr. Horst HEITZ, Executive Director, SME Europe

  • Denis SCHREY, Programme Director, KAS MNED

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Promoting water security in the MENA region: Water technology solutions in development cooperation and the role of SMEs
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Johannes Hügel

Johannes Hügel bild

Desk Officer for Peru, the Regional Programme Energy Security and Climate Change in Latin America, Special and Cross-cutting Issues +32 2 66931 75 +32 2 66931 62

Denis Schrey

Denis Schrey bild

Head of the Multinational Development Dialogue Brussels +32 2 66931 70 +32 2 66931 62