Among efforts towards regional cooperation for sustainable water resources management, the UfM Water Expert Group (WEG), mandated by Ministers and convening at the level of Water Directors of the Euro-Mediterranean countries, provides a platform for information sharing and promotion of common objectives through synergies.
Following a period of stall, after failing to approve the draft UfM Strategy for Water in the Mediterranean at Ministers’ level on purely political grounds (2010), the WEG re-convened for its 5th Meeting on 23-24 November 2015, in Luxemburg. In that, the Water Directors agreed to establish a Roadmap and a Work Plan for their activities, and suggested a UfM Ministerial Conference on Water, for 2017 in Malta. This Conference is suggested to provide strategic guidance, advance regional action planning towards meeting common water objectives, and define a mechanism for coordination. Suggested emphasis is, among others, on:
- promoting economic growth and employment through investments linked to the water-food-energy-ecosystems nexus approach;
- tackling climate change impacts through mitigation/adaptation co-benefits;
- meeting environmental objectives;
- tackling problems related to water and migration including through a youth and gender focus;
- promoting peace and stability, within the SDGs framework.
WEG delegated preparatory work to a Drafting Group of a limited number of countries. GWP-Med was formally assigned by the WEG as Technical Assistant to the UfM to deliver the agreed tasks.
Upon elaboration of the draft WEG Work Plan and agreement on its ToRs, the 1st WEG Drafting Group Meeting was organised on 5 April 2016, in Athens, Greece, to discuss possible contents of the Ministerial Conference’s orientations and the needed material. Progress towards the organisation of the suggested Conference was presented to the UfM Senior Officials Meeting on 1st June 2016, at the Dead Sea, Jordan, and was positively received on the principle (UfM SOM consists of Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Euro-Mediterranean countries). The 2nd WEG Drafting Group Meeting is to be held on 26-27 July 2016, in Malta, while the 6th WEG Meeting is scheduled for the end of September, in Brussels.
In assistance to the UfM, GWP-Med has provided and will continue providing key technical and organizational support for the delivery of all related outputs and activities. Works are supported by and are part of the GWP Water, Climate and Development Programme (WACDEP) and UfM partners. The EU-supported SWIM/H2020 II SM Project also contributes.