Within the framework of the Cairo Water Week
The EU confirms its support to Egypt in the water sector through projects in 12 governorates that contribute to improving the lives of 12.5 million Egyptians
Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to Egypt Mr. Ivan Surkoš and Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Dr. Mohamed Abdel-Ati opened today “The EU-Egypt Water Cooperation Days” held 17-18 October in the framework of the “Cairo Water Week”. Ambassadors of Germany and Italy attended the opening, with the participation of the Confederation of Egyptian-European Business Associations (CEEBA).
Ambassador Surkoš said that Egypt faces the challenge of water scarcity, which requires rapid action to rationalize consumption, develop modern irrigation systems and diminish losses. He pointed out that the EU was one of the first supporters of Egypt in this area; as it has contributed EUR 450 million to establish projects in the field of water during the last ten years. He added that these grants leveraged funds from European financial institutions that amount to EUR 2.5 billion in this sector.
Mr. Surkoš emphasized that 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. “The cooperation between the EU and Egypt in the water sector includes programmes covering 12 Egyptian governorates. These programmes will improve the lives of 12.5 million Egyptians; about one-third of the population of these governorates, targeting the less fortunate and most in need.”
The Head of the EU Delegation elaborated that the achievement of Egypt’s overall strategic objectives requires direct dialogue with the private sector, investors and international financial institutions to discuss the actions needed to create an enabling environment for strengthening local and international partnerships. “The EU has taken the first step towards establishing a successful partnership between private and public institutions by launching ‘European External Investment Plan (EIP)’ and ‘European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD)’.”
The EU has launched last March EU WATER STARS programme with the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation with a total budget that amounts to EUR 5 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. In addition, the ‘EU4Water in Egypt’ programme is to be launched with an indicative budget of EUR 120 million within the upcoming three years; this is to support the water sector in Egypt under the state’s SDS 2030.
In a related context, the EU Ambassador to Egypt has expressed his happiness with the support of the National Water Awareness Campaign for the second year in a row. “The European Union has participated in launching the first national youth competition on the awareness of protecting water resources last year, while this year we are proud to see the competition expanding to include three categories (university youth, journalists and farmers),” said Ivan Surkoš.
“The EU-Egypt Water Cooperation Days” aims at shedding the light on the key role of water in achieving sustainable economic growth and discussing better ways for marching the increasing demand with the scarce resources.
On the first day, the conference will address means of supporting public-private partnerships in the water sector especially with the launch of the EIP, as well as discussing the role of the private sector in the industry through sharing success stories of joint projects. Some models of the Egyptian-European partnership and means of expanding them will be displayed, along with discussing the key role of the private sector in achieving sustainable economic growth.
On the second day of the conference, a platform for dialogue will be held to discuss strategic issues in the field of water and how to deal with them; for example, integrated investment planning and decentralization. The participants will address the role of the development partners in supporting the sustainability and reformation of the sector, in addition to the national investment priorities according to the Egyptian government’s vision and its future plans in the field of water sector development.