UfM Water Expert Group Meeting on Water Agenda and Financial Strategy in post-COVID 19 context

How can Mediterranean countries effectively address the COVID-19 emergency, without neglecting long-standing sustainable development challenges and water commitments in particular? What are the water agenda-related investment strategies that can promote climate resilience and sustainable development targets, while also helping to deal with the crisis and assist immediate recovery?

The COVID-19 crisis clearly demonstrates the inextricable link of health with access to safe water and hygiene. Implementing water efficiency options and intensifying efforts to improve the good chemical, quantitative and ecological health of all waters can increase water availability for all uses, including sanitation services, and contribute to enhancing environmental health and strengthening the resilience of societies. Improved water governance and sustainable financing instruments are key in order to create an enabling environment.

On the ‘day after’ the crisis, when relief and development investments are mobilised, governments, businesses and development partners need to maintain the focus on meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to avoid jeopardising the progress made over the last decades. Post COVID-19 investments should increase and facilitate efforts towards meetings SDGs, for instance by making sector-specific financial support measures conditional to SDGs contributions. This is very relevant for the Mediterranean countries and, within the SDGs agenda, for actions related to Water, Climate Change, Energy, Agriculture, Environment, Gender, Partnerships, etc.

Aiming to assist with this demanding endeavour, the Water, Environment and Blue Economy Division of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), has called for an online consultation with UfM Member States, international institutions, regional organisations and civil society on:

the UfM Water Agenda and Financial Strategy in view of SDG6 and the Green Deal: Policy Actions, Economic Responses, and Ways Forward in the post-COVID 19 context. 

The meeting will take place on 9  and 10 June 2020.

The twofold objective of the consultation is to:

a)      take stock of the current situation, the implications for the region and responses to COVID-19, also relating to the implementation of its UfM Water Policy Framework for Actions 2030 and

b)     discuss and agree on regional priority actions that can complement individual country efforts, supported by and eventually aligning with the European Green Deal as a roadmap for sustainable and resilient post-COVID recovery.

The online consultation will utilise the modality and structure of the UfM Water Expert Group (WEG) meetings in order to provide a common reference framework and a platform for exchanges among the UfM Member States. The meeting will take place over two days (starting in the afternoon of Day 1 and concluding after lunch on Day 2) and will be hosted by the UfM Secretariat with support from the Global Water Partnership – Mediterranean (GWP-Med). Separate channels for simultaneous interpretation in English, French and Arabic will be available to the participants.