“World Café 2016: Water, Growth, Stability”

This article is part of a wider coverage of the “MENA Focus” events, a set of four regional sessions dedicated to the Middle East & North Africa, officially launched at the Stockholm World Water Week 2016, alongside the Regional Days for Africa, Asia and Latin America. The Global Water Partnership – Mediterranean (GWP-Med) had been selected and serves as the overall coordinator for these “MENA Focus” events. The sessions were organized in partnership with a number of international regional institutions and organisations. “World Café 2016: Water, Growth, Stability” was the last of the four sessions, held on the 31st of August.

Employing a modified World Café Method, the event, convened by the Regional Environmental Center (REC), kicked off with a brief plenary session and opening remarks from the REC and representatives of national water authorities from Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia. Afterwards, discussion topics were outlined and participants were split into three working groups, which engaged in the following facilitated group discussions:

  • Governing water for sustainable growth
  • Water-related climate change mitigation and adaptation measures for sustainable growth
  • Water security action planning for sustainable growth: Issues in the MENA region

With the working groups rotating at intervals of 15, 20 or 25 minutes, each facilitator led and steered discussion while remaining with their assigned group during the entire process. The facilitators also played the crucial role of assessing and summarising input from each group.

During the event's closing segment, the rapporteurs highlighted key messages, including:

  • MENA countries and the region as a whole can benefit greatly by helping to meet water-related SDGs.
  • Good water governance at all levels is a precondition for sustainable growth.
  • Climate change is having severe effects on water resources in the MENA region, but regional cooperation can facilitate better understanding and management of common resources, and thus mitigate these negative consequences.
  • Dialogue and common understanding on shared water resources can accelerate the adoption of an integrated approach towards managing regional water resources.
  • Addressing water security at local level contributes to developing sound and inclusive environmental governance and to nurturing sustainable growth.
  • Local communities are becoming increasingly influential when it comes to gauging water management and assessing and planning actions linked to water security.