The Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, Mohamed Abdel Atty, the Ambassador of the EU to Egypt, Christian Berger, and the Secretary-General of the UfM, Ambassador Nasser Kamel will inaugurate the forum. It brings together Egyptian government officials, private sector representatives from Egypt and the EU, regional organizations, and international development partners.
Participants will discuss the Mediterranean water issues including the UfM vision and plan for sustainable development, and topics related to sustainable finance in water infrastructure. Possible future partnership opportunities from the "European External Investment Plan" (EIP) and the "European Sustainable Fund for Development" (EFSD) within the Mediterranean region will also be tackled.
Additionally, the event will serve as a technical follow-up to the UfM Ministerial Conference on Water, and aim at enhancing cooperation and coordination with the Egyptian Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, as well as stakeholders working on water, sanitation, and hygiene in the Euro-Mediterranean region.
Over the one-day event, participants will address topics related to water security and climate change, promoting adaptive capacity building and institutional frameworks, sustainable financing of the water sector in the Mediterranean, the role and requirements of public-private partnerships, and the coordination among development partners for optimal water resources management.
Ambassador of the European Union to Egypt Christian Berger underlined the importance of the water sector in Egypt. “The EU and its Member States are partners of Egypt in its ambitious agenda for water management; work closely with the authorities and provide support, technical expertise, and capacity building. The joint aim is to make full use of the opportunities that water offers.”
“We are committed to continue working with the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation and other partners to secure water as a valuable sustainable resource for Egypt and to support Egypt as a regional hub for the transfer of knowledge on water management,” he added.
Ambassador Berger pointed out that from a circular economy perspective, aspects such as demographic change, urbanisation, climate change, and digitalisation are all tightly interconnected with water. All these aspects offer both challenges and more so opportunities. “For the EU, one of the first steps in its post-2020 Agenda will be to ensure that the priorities and association agendas with each of our partners retain ambitious while realistic and shared objectives for reform and economic development, particularly in a resource-intensive and high-impact sector such as water management.”
UfM Secretary-General, Ambassador Nasser Kamel stated: “Water resources management in the Mediterranean is extremely challenging, and although water governance settings are improving, natural conditions, climate change impacts and the current COVID-19 pandemic are further exacerbating existing vulnerabilities.”
Ambassador Kamel emphasized that implementing water efficiency options and intensifying efforts to improve water availability and health has therefore become an emergency.
“The UfM Secretariat, together with its partners, remains committed to step up regional cooperation and efforts in view of implementing the sustainability of the Mediterranean water sector, as well as strengthening the resilience of our societies in a collective multi-stakeholder approach,” he added.