“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.
09.15 Welcome and Introduction
- 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
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
Durk KROL, Executive Director, WSSTP
Dr. Horst HEITZ, Executive Director, SME Europe
Denis SCHREY, Programme Director, KAS MNED