The REC is promoting the more sustainable use of water resources in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region at the Third Arab Water Forum, which opened on December 10, 2014, in Cairo, Egypt. The forum was organised by the Arab Water Council (AWC) under the auspices of the League of Arab States and the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation of Egypt, and with the participation of numerous Arab and international organisations and institutions.
Radoje Lausevic, the REC's deputy executive director for environmental policy, and Jovanka Ignjatovic, senior water management expert at the REC, are participating at the forum. They have been involved in several bilateral meetings at the margins of the forum, discussing how the REC can support water policies, strategies and actions that can turn water challenges in the MENA region into opportunities for growth and sustainable development. They have focused on an ongoing REC project supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation (Sida): "Sustainable Use of Transboundary Water Resources and Water Security Management" (WATER SUM). With a total budget of EUR 6 million, the project will provide a platform for building skills and transferring knowledge on integrated water resources management and climate change adaptation, and will focus on building local partnerships to ensure water security and promote ecosystem services in the MENA region.
The Arab Water Forum is held every three years to discuss experiences, analyse current situations and set out plans for the future use of water resources in the Arab region. This year's forum is organised around the slogan "Together towards a Secure Arab Water Future". Over the course of three days, more than 400 participants will discuss 30 topics built around two main axes: 1) Making the future of Arab water secure and sustainable; and 2) Arab integration for food security under water scarcity. In parallel, an Arab Water Expo will take place, during which numerous governmental and non-governmental organisations, businesses and research institutions will showcase their activities, programmes and products.