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During the ceremony, Ambassador Surkoš announced that the European Union will be launching multi-annual flagship programme # EU4WATER in Egypt with a total indicative budget of up to EUR 120 Million in Grants. This EU-funded programme aims to support the stabilization of Egypt through enhancing water security and sustainable management. "We hope to sign the programme Financing Agreement during summer and to start implementation before the end of the year", Surkoš said.
Egypt faces challenges of water scarcity, which requires rapid action to rationalize consumption, develop modern irrigation systems and diminish losses. Ambassador Surkoš reiterated that the EU has been one of the first supporters of Egypt in this regard; as it has contributed EUR 450 million to establish projects in the field of water during the last ten years. Surkoš added that these grants leveraged funds from European financial institutions that amount to EUR 2.5 billion in this sector.
The cooperation between the EU and Egypt in the water sector includes programmes covering 12 Egyptian governorates. These programmes will improve the lives of 15 million Egyptians, targeting the less fortunate and most in need. "The EU is committed to support the sustainable water management in Egypt through continuing the development projects as well as the expansion of policy dialogue with decision makers," he reiterated.
His Excellency, Minister Abdel-Ati, also stressed on the fact that "facing water challenges in Egypt is one of the country’s top priorities and therefore all ministries and relevant governmental institutions, in cooperation with esteemed partners such as the European Union, have to cooperate together in the implementation of the National Water Resources Plan (NWRP.) The plan has four main goals: 1) improving the water quality 2) enhancing the management of water use 3) enhancing the availability of fresh water resources and 4) improving the enabling environment for integrated water resources management."
His Excellency, Minister Abdel-Ati also presented the strategy of the ministry till 2050 and its different phases to manage the different changes affecting the water sector and accordingly enhance the Egyptian water security, meet the requirements of all economic sectors and achieve the objectives of sustainable development in accordance with the Egypt’s 2030 vision.
His Excellency also praised the efforts and best practices of Egyptian farmers who adopted modern irrigation techniques such as drip and spray irrigation to conserve water which reflects their commitment to preserve water and protect it from pollution.
In addition, their excellencies Dr. Abdel-Ati and Ambassador Surkoš provided special awards to a group of female farmers who are board members of water users associations from different governorates on the occasion of the International Women’s Day in recognition of their effective role in contributing to enhancing water resources management and protecting water from pollution.
The EU has launched last March EU Water STARS project with the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation with a total budget that amounts to EUR 4.8 million as a grant aiming at raising the technical competencies in the water field, where it will continue for 30 months. This programme will help the ministry achieve the required reforms to implement the water security objectives according to the state's Sustainable Development Strategy 2030 and the National Water Resources Plan (NWRP) 2037.
The architectural designs of the expansions and renovation of Afla Garden, at which the celebration took place, was funded by the EU Water STARS project which is concerned with the development of a number of technical studies that support improving operational efficiencies and increasing the efficient use of water resources. The implementation of renovations; however, was covered by the budget of the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation.