On the sidelines of the second edition of the Cairo Water Week (CWW), the “EU-UfM Egypt Water Governance and Business Forum” running from October 20 until October 21 concluded it’s business.
Over 100 water experts from several Euro-Mediterranean countries and 33 water organizations were present.
The forum addressed topics regarding the governing and management of water resources in Egypt, climate change, water security, promoting the building of adaptive capacity and institutional frameworks, sustainably financing the Mediterranean’s water sector, the role played by public-private partnerships, and developing of partner cooperation in best managing water resources.
The EU’s Ambassador to Egypt Ivan Surkos in his opening statement said that the EU would continue to support Egypt’s water sector, saying “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 also brought up the topic of tensions being raised by the issue of dams built in regions such as the Nile or Mekong, and said “The EU is ready to support efforts to address these challenges, at the request of all the parties.”
Cooperation between Egypt and the EU goes beyond just development assistance, the ambassador noting, saying it also extends to strengthening collaborations between Egyptian and European innovators and researchers.
“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 said.
Regarding the EU’s post 2020-agenda, Surkos stated that the first steps are being taken towards creating a successful partnership between private and public enterprises through launching the new Circular Economy Action Plan. This plan seeks sustainable resource use, particularly in urgent sectors such as water.
“Within the new Action Plan, we shall recognize the needs and interests in the different countries in our southern neighborhood, 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,” he said.
Stressing the water sector’s importance to both the EU and Egypt, the Ambassador said that the Cairo Water Week serves to celebrate the extensive bilateral cooperation between them.
Concluding his statements, the ambassador said “The EU reaffirms its support to all its neighborhood countries to wilful 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.”
Starting from October 20 until October 24 this year’s Cairo Water Week, titled “Responding to Water Scarcity”, seeks to spread awareness on water issues, address the most urgent challenges and take action.
The week’s second edition sees the participation of the “EU-WATER STARS” program. Funded by the EU, the program is an active participant in organizing the second Cairo Water Week. Its aim is to assist Egypt’s government, the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation in particular, in modernizing the nation’s water management and contributing to Egypt’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.