GWP–Med at World Water Week 2019

"Millions of lives could be at risk if we don’t take the water crisis and global warming more seriously" was among the key closing messages of the 2019 World Water Week (25-30 August, Stockholm), organised by SIWI. Many of the Week’s 250+ sessions showcased water-related solutions to global challenges such as climate change and food scarcity. More than 4000 participants from 138 countries called upon governments, institutions and stakeholders including the private sector, to improve water management and practically implement available solutions to critical water challenges.

With this year’s theme being “Water for Society: Including All”, discussions demonstrated the importance of integrating the perspectives of all ages, genders and social groups towards a water secure world. This emphasis was also at the heart of the sessions GWP-Med co-convened, whilst serving for the 4th year as the overall coordinator for the MENA Focus, the dedicated sessions focusing on the Middle East & North Africa region.

Photo Credit: @siwi, by Mikael ullen

GWP-Med co-convened with the support of theSwedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and together with the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) and the Centre for Mediterranean Integration (CMI), the showcase session “MENA Focus: Mediterranean Youth Unites Around Water”.

Sida’s representative, Ms. Yosra Albakar, introducing the showcase on “MENA Focus: Mediterranean Youth Unites Around Water” & youth participants sharing their perspective

The showcase presented and discussed the findings of a UfM/CMI mapping exercise on youth water networks in the MENA and greater Mediterranean region, while the work of the Mediterranean Youth Network for Water (MedYWat), a community of young water professionals, was presented in detail. Building on targeted input from young entrepreneurs and 10+ youth organisations from the MENA as well as other regional actors, it was possible to identify the needs and entry points for youth to be involved more actively in decision making. Besides the positive impact from supporting entrepreneurship environments for young people, the showcase provided examples highlighting that when youth gets the right support from institutions, incubators, private investors and governments, concrete results can be achieved.

GWP-Med also co-convened with UfM with the support of Sida the session “MENA focus: Addressing Water-Employment-Migration (WEM) in the Mediterranean”. The intricate nexus linking water scarcity and unemployment in the region as root causes for migration and the opportunities to create water related jobs and entrepreneurship with multiple environmental and soco-economic benefits, was introduced by GWP-Med. A distinguished panel, comprising mainly of women, from CMI/World Bank, ILO, UNHCR, UNESCO WWAPP, MedYWat, the Coca-Cola Company and Morocco’s Ministry of Equipment, Transport, Logistics and Water, shed led into their role in fostering this nexus, elaborated on the opportunities and pointed to the action to address some of the eminent threats in the region and turn these into sustainable development opportunities, including through enhanced, cross-cutting collaboration and concerted efforts.

A strong female participation at the Session on “Water-Employment-Migration in MENA” session.

The MENA sessions also included the session “MENA focus: Technical-Level Water Cooperation in the Mashreq Region”, convened by the World Bank Group.

Moreover, GWP-Med representatives participated as speakers and interveners in several sessions, including the “Source to Sea management: getting it on the ground” and the “Water, migration and rural development: from knowledge to action”.

The GWP family had a role in more than 20 sessions, hosted a booth throughout the Week, and was engaged in a great number of side activities. Among these, GWP  launched its new Strategy, Mobilising for a Water Secure World, at a reception hosted by the Dutch Embassy (27 August 2019) on the occasion of the Week, attended by more than 200 people.