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"Knowledge from the region, for the region"
19 Mar

Water cooperation necessary for environmental and regional security

19 March 2015, Amman, Jordan: HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal today called for policy-makers to develop inter-state strategies with a human dignity focused approach, so as to improve water security for the people of - and countries in - the West Asia and North Africa region, at a water security conference.

HRH, the WANA Institute Chairman reiterated the call for “West Asian-North African cooperation and dialogue on water, energy, and the human environment. Only through nexus thinking, can we imagine a region fit for future generations.”

West Asia-North Africa (WANA) is among the world’s most water scarce regions; naturally low rainfall combined with poor governance and overconsumption of water is driving an increasing gap between water supply and demand. The development of shared water resource management strategies was a key topic of the Strategic Foresight Group and WANA Institute ‘Exploring the Water-Peace Nexus: Blue Peace in West Asia’ conference. The two-day event, which assembled policy makers, thought leaders, technical experts and academia from Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey, facilitated the exchange of water cooperation experience, and explored the linkages between water security, agriculture and food security, and the impact on vulnerable populations.

“As the region's population continues to grow, the demand for water will escalate, especially in countries hosting refugees and internally displaced people. As the gap between water supply and demand reaches a tipping point, there is an existential risk that water will become a flashpoint for conflict and humanitarian disaster. These drivers make water one of the most politically sensitive resources in the WANA region.” WANA Institute Executive Director, Dr Erica Harper said.

“It is about time that leaders and people of the region respond to these inter-linked strategic problems on an emergency basis with a spirit of compassion and cooperation. The Blue Peace process can help in this endeavor with its objective of turning water from a source of crisis into an instrument of peace.” Dr Sundeep Waslekar, President, Strategic Foresight Group, explained.

The conference, funded by the Government of Sweden and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC, is the culmination of research conducted by the Strategic Foresight Group and WANA Institute on the hydro-insecure, water and violence, and how water and food insecurity drives and impacts refugee movements.

“Sweden remains committed to supporting improved management of water resources in the MENA region. I welcome the reports presented today as important contributions to our understanding on how water management, at the local, national and regional levels, is closely linked to security and economic and social development.  In this regard, I would like to highlight the need to strengthen the role of women in our water programs and work towards truly inclusive water solutions.” HE Helena Gröndahl Rietz, Ambassador of Sweden to Jordan said in support of the conference and its content.
In his concluding comments to delegates, HRH added “People don’t want handouts; they want quality of life and well-being.”


Media contact:
Alexandra Trevor
Head of Communications, WANA Institute
07 9519 4716

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