Communities in the Middle East and North Africa (the MENA region) need early-warning systems for drought and floods, as well as better cooperation between water authorities.
The MENA Water World Café was opened by REC Executive Director Marta Szigeti Bonifert, who presented REC’s activities and linkages with the MENA region. REC Deputy Executive Director for Environmental Programmes Radoje Lausevic introduced the world café methodology and objectives.
These were some of the conclusions of a discussion August 25th at a side event hosted by the Regional Environmental Center during World Water Week in Stockholm. Organised in the framework of the WATER SUM project, funded by the Government of Sweden, the MENA Water World Cafe drew more than 40 participants, including water professionals, practitioners and academics. The discussion focused on how MENA countries can help meet new water-related sustainable development goals (SDGs); how to foster dialogue and build trust among decision makers; how to cope with water scarcity; and how to encourage local communities to work together.
The discussion was organised in three working groups led by facilitators and rotating in intervals of 25, 20, and 15 minutes. This gave participants the opportunity to discuss all three topics and dive into the issue more deeply.
Key insights from the discussion:
- Water authorities and other stakeholders must cooperate more closely in order to address the complexity of water governance (The promotion of international water resource management (IWRM) approach was mentioned).
- Decision makers need to find better ways to foster dialogue and build trust amongst one another.
- In light of climate change impacts, the region needs to implement monitoring and early-warning systems related to floods and droughts.
- The region should carry out pilot projects at the local level and share best practices in climate change adaptation, especially in regard to managing water-related extreme events.
- The region needs to embrace public participation and involvement in order to assure water security.
A detailed summary of key conclusions will soon be published and available online.