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The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) aims to draw attention not only to the grave water crisis on World Water Day, but to the resource’s potential to serve as a catalyst for cooperation among governments, organisations and individuals. A climate change hotspot warming at a rate 20% faster than the global average, the Mediterranean region is home to a staggering 180 million people who are water poor and another 60 million who face varying degrees of water stress. The UfM firmly believes water-related issues will continue to worsen unless the issue is tackled in a collaborative and environmentally conscious manner by a diverse range of public and private sector actors.

The UfM promotes this strategy by supporting the Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystems Nexus, an approach that highlights the interdependence of these elements, in its Member States. To this effect, the UfM has identified projects that address water scarcity by contributing to broader socio-economic development and regional stability and transferred Sw
edish International Development Cooperation Agency funds to them. These include the MENA Water Matchmaker 2, which has allowed farmers in Jordan and Palestine to reuse treated wastewater, or the WEFE Nexus for Sustainable Development in MENA, which enhances environmental sustainability in Egypt and Jordan by fostering the adoption of the WEFE Nexus approach among policymakers and bolstering food and water resilience among targeted communities. The UfM is also a founding member of the Blue Mediterranean Partnership, a coalition that aims to mobilise at least pound 1 billion in sustainable blue economy investments in the Mediterranean and Red Sea regions.

The UfM will soon be bringing the Mediterranean water perspective to the UN Ocean Decade Conference in Barcelona as well as the 9th Our Ocean Conference in Athens and the 10th World Water Forum in Bali. It will also be organising online capacity-building sessions for public officials on the sustainable blue economy and blue transformation in addition to hosti
ng the UfM Regional Water Platform and the Sustainable Blue Economy Working Group meetings allowing stakeholders to exchange information on water-related projects and to support the implementation of the 2021 UfM Ministerial Declaration on Blue Economy.

The UfM has long been committed to promoting regional cooperation in this domain, and last month alone it held both the 2nd Regional Roundtable on the WEFE Nexus for the Mediterranean at the

5th Mediterranean Water Forum in Tunis, with participants discussing how to improve the integration of policy and management frameworks with the WEFE Nexus Strategy in the Mediterranean Source to Sea Continuum, and the 2nd UfM Stakeholder Conference on Sustainable Blue Economy in Athens, where over 350 people took part in workshops on topics ranging from marine research and innovation to sustainable tourism or the blue finance process.

‘Access to safe drinking water and sanitation are internationally-recognised human rights. Lack of access to water is a significant obst
acle to development as it is essential for eradicating poverty and building peaceful and prosperous societies. The Union for the Mediterranean, driven by its mission to foster regional cooperation, is committed to enabling collective action in this field by providing Member States and partners with a platform to discuss the development of initiatives, recommendations, and policies,’ said Almotaz Abadi, the UfM Deputy Secretary General in charge of Water, Environment and Blue Economy.-UfM

Source: National news agency – Lebanon