More than one hundred participants from 22 countries across the Mediterranean attended the launching, including Ministers, high-level government officials, intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations as well as stakeholders from the water utilities, private sector, donor community, and academic institutions.
Designed and jointly implemented by the Global Water Partnership-Mediterranean (GWP-Med) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), this regional project was labelled under the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) framework in July 2012. Essential for launching its implementation has been the strategic partnership with the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) and the European Investment Bank (EIB). The steady support, already since 2009, of the GEF/ MAP UNEP MedPartnership programme and the Mediterranean Component of the EU Water Initiative (MED EUWI) has been instrumental for concretising the project’s line of work.
The Barcelona Regional Conference marked the official launching of the project. The Secretary General of the UfM, H.E. Fathallah Sijilmassi opened the conference, while a keynote speech on the issue of water governance in the context of the Arab Spring was delivered by the Minister of Water and Irrigation of Jordan, H.E. Hazim El-Naser, representing also the UfM Co-Presidency. The relevance, added value and timeliness of the project for the region was highlighted in the opening session by the Minister of Water and Wastewater Utilities of Egypt, H.E. Abdelkawi Khalifa; the Minister and Head of the Palestinian Water Authority, H.E. Shaddad Attili and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina, H.E. Ermina Salkicevic-Dizdarevic.
During the Conference, the project’s objectives, scope, expected outputs and outcomes were presented in detail by the two implementers. The two project components, national and regional, were further elaborated upon along with a presentation of the planned line of work and the methodology and tools to be employed. At the same time, the roots of the project, firmly placed within successfully completed work jointly undertaken by GWP-Med and OECD in previous years, was also presented.
Following a participatory and interactive approach, more than 80 participants intervened during the Conference, provided valuable input and were actively engaged into a constructive policy dialogue on addressing the obstacles in governance and the mobilisation of financing. During the Conference closing’s session, Prof. Michael Scoullos, President of GWP-Med noted that participants’ “presence and the statements made by all players in the room indicate a strong political support for the project”.
By the end of the Launching Conference of the project, participants had enhanced their understanding of the Project’s context, objectives and activities. The Conference succeeded in identifying synergies and complementarities with other initiatives so as to avoid duplication of efforts and explored the eventual set up and role of a regional discussion interface among public and private actors on the governance-financing nexus.
Please find below all relevant documents:
Photos of the Conference are available here
Videos of the Conference are available here