Beyond Scarcity: Water Security in the Middle East and North Africa
From the Middle East, to China to the Caribbean, international meetings have featured discussions and reports focused on preparing for drought and managing water scarcity.
In conjunction with World Water Week, which recently concluded in Stockholm, Sweden, the World Bank released the publication, ‘Beyond Scarcity: Water Security in the Middle East and North Africa.’ The report finds that the lack of water supply and sanitation costs the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region around US$21 billion per year in economic losses. The publication discusses ways to better manage MENA’s scarce water resources, highlighting “positive innovations” in Morocco, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. It calls for generalizing and accelerating these types of actions to address unsustainable water use and water scarcity.
The 13th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 13) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) will also focus to the issue of drought. COP 13 is meeting in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China, from 6-16 September. One of three ministerial round tables at the Conference will address the topic, ‘Drought and sand and dust storms: Early warning and beyond.’ Speaking at the opening of the COP, UNCCD Executive Secretary Monique Barbut highlighted the issue, stressing “the need to take decisions on issues that have not yet been dealt with, particularly droughts or sand dust storms.”
UNCCD Executive Secretary Monique Barbut stressed “the need to take decisions on issues that have not yet been dealt with, particularly droughts or sand dust storms.”
In conjunction with the UNCCD COP and the first day of the annual meeting of the Integrated Drought Management Programme (IDMP) Advisory and Management Committee, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Global Water Partnership (GWP) and partners launched an online HelpDesk for the IDMP. This is a programme that supports knowledge sharing and best practices for integrated drought management. The HelpDesk will have “ask” and “find” functions meant to enable direct contact with experts as well as access to drought management information.
Meanwhile, a conference organized by the Bolivian Ministry of Environment and Water, the UNCCD, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and other partners sought to develop a comprehensive strategic framework for drought management across Latin America and the Caribbean. The conference, which took place from 14-16 August 2017, in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, addressed the theme, ‘Together against drought.’ It concluded with high-level policy makers and technical experts from 20 countries adopting a declaration calling for integrated approaches to enhance drought preparedness in the region. [World Bank Press Release] [Beyond Scarcity: Water Security in the Middle East and North Africa] [Global Water Partnership Press Release] [Integrated Drought Management Programme] [UNCCD Press Release on Drought Conference] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on LAC Drought Meeting] [UN Press Release on UNCCD COP 13] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on UNCCD COP 13 Opening]