The WATER SUM event “Promoting Sustainable Water Action in the MENA Region” was held in Tunis on March 27, 2018, bringing together representatives from the three project beneficiary countries (Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia), international financing and donor organisations, and the embassies of Sweden and Hungary. The goal of the meeting was to highlight the achievements and impacts of the WATER SUM project to date, explore ways to promote sustainable water management in the region, define priorities in the water sector and identify financing mechanisms to address them.
Mr. Hamadi Habaieb of the Ministry of Agriculture, Hydraulic Resources and Fisheries expressed his gratitude to all those who have contributed to the WATER SUM project. He pointed out that, besides presenting the WATER SUM goals, the meeting was also an opportunity to explore mechanisms for future projects in the field of water management in the MENA region.
H.E. Fredrik Floren, Sweden’s ambassador to Tunisia, reminded participants of the history of friendship and cooperation between the two countries. Sweden’s strong support to the MENA region focuses on transboundary water management, encouraging investments in initiatives to improve water management, and investing in renewable energy. He expressed his hope that WATER SUM will succeed in transforming institutions and behaviour with respect to water management, leading to the transfer of knowledge to all relevant stakeholders. He concluded by expressing his hope that the WATER SUM project will lead to further cooperation between Sweden and the MENA countries in the future.
Ms. Jovanka Ignjatovic and Mr. Danko Aleksic of the REC then presented an overview of the WATER SUM project’s focus and results, referring also to certain constraints encountered during project implementation, and presented a set of recommendations for the future.
A panel discussion followed, during which representatives from the three WATER SUM beneficiary countries presented the main challenges they face in relation to water resources and management, planned actions to address them, and areas and issues that could benefit from further financing.
The event closed with three roundtables, aimed at exploring and identifying ideas and solutions in the region’s water sector. The first roundtable focused on opportunities for national/regional development within the International Decade for Action: Water for Sustainable Development 2018–2028. The topic of the second was supporting integrated water management through innovative partnerships; while the third explored how to enhance capacity development and knowledge transfer across the water sector. Each roundtable involved representatives from all three beneficiary countries, and the outcomes of the discussions will serve as input for future water initiatives in the MENA region.