Within the activities of the 2nd Cairo Water Week (CWW), the “EU-UfM Egypt Water Governance and Business Forum” took place from 20 to 21 October. More than 33 organizations and 100 water experts representing several countries from the Euro-Mediterranean region attended it.
Over two days, the participants addressed topics related to governance and water resources management (Egypt’s case), 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.
In his opening remarks, Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to Egypt Ivan Surkoš affirmed the continued support of the EU to the water sector in Egypt. “The EU and its Member States are partners of Egypt in its ambitious agenda for water management, providing financial support, technical expertise and capacity building, and in assisting Egypt 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 water partners to secure water as a valuable sustainable resource for Egypt and to support Egypt to become a regional hub for the transfer of knowledge on water management,” he added.
He mentioned that the construction of large dams in international rivers such as the Nile or Mekong can contribute to tensions among riparian states and the wider affected areas. “The EU is ready to support efforts to address these challenges, at the request of all the parties.”
Ambassador Surkoš pointed out that the cooperation between the EU and Egypt in water goes beyond development assistance to the strengthening of collaboration between Egyptian and European researchers and innovators. “In October 2018, our cooperation successfully led to the signing of international agreements with several countries, including Egypt, for participation in the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA). PRIMA is the biggest research and innovation programme in the history of the Euro-Mediterranean region, focusing on water and food research.”
He stated that the EU will take the first steps within its Post 2020 Agenda towards creating a successful partnership between private and public enterprises through the launching of the new Circular Economy Action Plan to ensure sustainable resource use, notably in resource-intensive and high-impact sectors such as water. “Within the new Action Plan, we shall recognise the needs and interests in the different countries in our southern neighbourhood, reviewing and updating the priorities and association agendas we have with each of our partners, and setting a realistic, ambitious objective for reforms and economic development.”
Underlining the importance of the water sector for both the EU and Egypt, Ambassador Surkoš said that both sides celebrate their extensive, strategic bilateral cooperation in that area within the framework of Cairo Water Week. “The EU reaffirms its support to all its neighbourhood countries to fulfil their aspirations regarding access to safe drinking water, and adequate sanitation services, which must be available, accessible, safe, acceptable, and affordable for all without discrimination,” he concluded.
The activities of the Cairo Water Week 2019 entitled “Responding to Water Scarcity” were launched yesterday and will continue until October 24 to promote water awareness, reflect on the most pressing water challenges, and take action to implement and manage.
The EU-funded programme EU-WATER STARS is actively participating in the organization of the 2nd CWW. The project was developed with the aim of assisting the Egyptian Government, particularly the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, in its efforts to modernize the water management framework as a major contributor to Egypt’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and to help streamline all internal and external activities.