Second WGS conference opens in Tunisia

Stakeholders meet to support the MENA region in advancing water management and security through the Water, Growth and Stability Initiative (WGSIni)

July 11, 2016 | By Valerio Ponzo

The second WGS conference, “Water, Growth and Stability in MENA”, kicked off today at the Golden Tulip Taj Sultan’s Conference Centre in Hammamet, Tunisia, and will last until July 14, 2016. During the three-day event, key actors in the water sector across the MENA region will continue advancing the WGSIni through enhanced collaboration and a regional approach in water management, transboundary water cooperation experiences, mutual transfer of knowledge and good practices, local-level water security planning, and regional and global efforts in the water sector.

The high-level segment opened with some words from H.E. Saad Seddik, Minister for Agriculture, Hydraulic Resources and Fisheries of Tunisia, who, after thanking the organisers and greeting the participants, stressed the importance of initiatives that enhance the interaction between international, national and local-level authorities, CSOs and other key stakeholders. He highlighted Tunisia’s efforts to tackle several water-related challenges across the country and the crucial role that water plays in achieving a balanced agricultural sector, which in turn is necessary for food security.

H.E. Zoltan Szentgyorgyi, Ambassador of Hungary to Tunisia, underlined how the Budapest Water Summit 2016 – the next milestone for the WGSIni – represents a defining moment for advancing dialogue and cooperation in the water sector. He invited all of the dignitaries at the conference to attend this year's Budapest Water Summit and to contribute to its positive outcome.

“By developing the WGSIni, we are achieving a twofold purpose: to contribute to the implementation of the WATER SUM project and to create a broader framework to support countries and stakeholders to meet and discuss opportunities together,” said Radoje Lausevic, REC Deputy Executive Director and WATER SUM Project Director. Lausevic stated that building skills and capacities and sharing knowledge and lessons learned in water management, sustainable development, climate change and water security should be top priorities across the MENA region and beyond.

Next came brief statements from participating officials from the main national water authorities of Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia.

The high-level segment set the stage for the conference’s working sessions, during which three WGSIni forums will be launched: the Municipality Forum, the Civil Society Forum, and the Women’s Forum. These groups will allow the participants to engage in dialogue and work on specific cross-cutting topics in an inter-institutional and inter-sectoral setting. Eight working teams (WTs) of well-established local water security action planning teams from Jordan and Tunisia will also take part, with the participation of members of the Civil Society Forum and the Women’s Forum.

The second WGS conference was organised by the REC with the support of the Tunisian Ministry of Agriculture, Hydraulic Resources and Fisheries and the Jordanian Ministry of Water and Irrigation.

More information about the #WGSIni can be found here.

The Water, Growth and Stability Initiative (#WGSIni) is a framework for the creation of a knowledge-based platform; a dynamic network of water experts; and an e-learning tool for capacity building and the dissemination of lessons learned. The WGSIni was launched in April 2016 as an output of the multi-stakeholder conference “Water, Growth and Stability: Transboundary Water Cooperation for Sustainable Growth and Stability in the Middle East and North Africa" under the framework of the project “Sustainable Use of Transboundary Water Resources and Water Security Management in the MENA region (WATER SUM)”.