SUMming up

REC hosts Water SUM regional conference during anniversary week

June 19, 2015

WaterSUM_GroupA special satellite event of the REC's 25th anniversary celebration was organised in the framework of the REC project "Sustainable Use of Transboundary Water Resources and Water Security Management (Water SUM), funded by the Government of Sweden. The regional conference took place on June 12, 2015 and marked the inauguration of the project's implementation phase and gathered some 40 representatives, decision makers and professionals from Jordan and Tunisia, as well as representatives of key international organisations active in water management in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

Marta Szigeti Bonifert, REC Executive Director, opened the conference by outlining REC efforts to translate experiences and lessons learned to the MENA region, while Anders Jagerskog, counsellor for Regional Development Cooperation and Water Resources at the Embassy of Sweden in Amman (Jordan), announced the continuation of Swedish support to the MENA region. Radoje Lausevic, REC Deputy Executive Director, presented an inception report that included comprehensive support documents, and then invited participants to take active part in discussion to follow.

The discussion tracked the project's overall objective to strengthen the capacities of participating countries to manage water resources in a more efficient manner, mainly through the application of integrated water resources management approaches and enhanced water security management in the MENA region.

WaterSUM2Ridha Gabouj, general director in the Ministry of Agriculture of Tunisia and Ali Hayajneh, Head of Strategic Planning in the Ministry of Water and Irrigation of Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, supported current REC activities in the MENA region involving the translation of experiences and knowledge from the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) region, and particularly in the area of integrated water resources management and water and security.

The regional conference closed with a study visit to the Heviz Thermal Lake (a natural water treasure and UNESCO World Heritage Site nominee), as well as to the Kis-Balaton water protection system. The focus of the visit was on water resources protection programmes and strategy in Hungary.