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Regional Workshop: Enhancing transboundary water cooperation in the MENA region: progress, challenges and opportunities

3 - 4 March 2020

United Nations House, Beirut, Lebanon

Representatives from 10 countries from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and partners active in the region gathered to discuss the current status of transboundary water cooperation, its benefits, persisting and emerging challenges as well as possible avenues for progress. They considered existing tools and approaches that could be used to prompt the strengthening of transboundary water cooperation in the region and therefore support the achievement of SDG 6, and specifically its target 6.5 on implementing IWRM at all levels.

Participants shared good practices and lessons learnt from existing cooperation processes in transboundary basins of the region, for examples in the Orontes River, the Al-Disi Aquifer System and the Nile River Basins. Discussions highlighted the broad range of benefits generated by cooperation over the management of transboundary surface and groundwaters, as well as the crucial need to cooperate to increase resilience to climate change and to address water scarcity.

Interactive group discussions tackled the need for improvement of data and information exchange, both at national and transboundary levels, to sustainably manage transboundary water resources.
The workshop illustrated the important role of international water law in supporting transboundary water cooperation. The opportunities for MENA countries of joining the Water Convention were discussed, focusing on the legal and institutional frameworks it offers, as well as the platform for exchange of experiences and possible support through concrete projects. Representatives from Iraq, Jordan and Tunisia shared updates on progress in their process of accession to the Water Convention.
Finally, countries discussed possible pathways to improve cooperation for a better management of transboundary water resources, including through the intersectoral Nexus approach and by considering good practices for water allocation in transboundary basins.

Outcomes of the discussions held during the workshop will be considered as an input from the MENA region to the on-going work under the Water Convention on data and information exchange as well as on water allocation.

The workshop was jointly organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), ESCWA (United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia) and the Global Water Partnership-Mediterranean (GWP-Med), in the framework of the project “Making water cooperation happen in the Mediterranean” with financial support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, and in the framework of the European Union-funded project to promote and support accession to the Water Convention at global level.

A back-to-back workshop Supporting the monitoring and implementation of the SDGs - Transboundary water cooperation SDG 6 indicator 6.5.2 for the Arab region was held on 5 March 2020.

DocumentsARAENGFRE
Information note of the workshopPDFPDF
Practical information note PDF
Agenda for the workshopPDFPDF
List of participants
Background documents
Session 1
Progress on transboundary water cooperation: Global baseline for SDG indicator 6.5.2
ECE/MP.WAT/57
PDF
Progress on Shared Water Resources Management in the Arab Region: Regional baseline for SDG Indicator 6.5.2 PDF
Status report on the implementation of Integrated Water Resources Management in the Arab RegionPDF
Policy Guidance Note on the Benefits of Transboundary Water Cooperation: Identification, Assessment and Communication
ECE/MP.WAT/47
PDFPDF
Session 2
Outlook for developing monitoring cooperation and exchange of data and information across borders PDF
Session 3
Arab climate change assessment report, RICCARPDF
Water and Climate Change Adaptation in Transboundary Basins: Lessons Learned and Good Practices
ECE/MP.WAT/45
PDF PDF
Session 4
Water Convention text
ECE/MP.WAT/41
PDFPDF
PDF
The global opening of the 1992 Water Convention
ECE/MP.WAT/43/Rev.1
PDFPDFPDF
Guide to implementing the Water Convention
ECE/MP.WAT/39
PDFPDFPDF
The Water Convention: responding to global water challenges
ECE/MP.WAT/52
PDFPDFPDF
Road map to facilitate accession processes to the Water ConventionPDFPDF
Session 5
Methodology for assessing the water-food-energy-ecosystems nexus in transboundary basins and experiences from its application: synthesis
ECE/MP.WAT/55
PDF
PresentationsENGFRE
Session 1 - Transboundary water cooperation in the MENA region: progress and challenges
Highlights on the status of transboundary water cooperation for surface water and groundwater resources in the MENA region
Mr. Ziad Khayat, Economic Affairs Officer, ESCWA
PDF

Progress on IWRM and transboundary water resources management in the MENA region: Regional baseline for SDG Indicator 6.5.1 and 6.5.2 
Mr. Gareth James Lloyd, Deputy Chief Manager, UNEP-DHI Centre
Ms. Chantal Demilecamps, Environmental Affairs Officer, UNECE
Mr. Ziad Khayat, Economic Affairs Officer, ESCWA
PDF

Introduction to the benefits of transboundary water cooperation
Ms. Diane Guerrier, Associate Environmental Affairs Officer, UNECE
PDF

Transboundary water cooperation in the Orontes River basin
Mr. Jihad Kanaan, Director of International Waters and Dams, Ministry of Water Resources, Syria
PDF

Bilateral and regional cooperation in the Nile Basin
Ms. Tahani Sileet, Head of Central Department for External Cooperation, Nile Water Sector, Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, Egypt
PDF
Cooperation for the management and utilization of groundwater resources in Al-Sag/Al-Disi layer between Jordan and Saudi Arabia
Mr. Adel Al-Obeiaat, Director of Policies and Strategic Planning, Ministry of Water and Irrigation, Jordan
PDF
Session 2 - Data and information exchange for effective management of transboundary waters
Methods for monitoring and assessing transboundary waters
Mr. Jos Timmerman, Waterframes, the Netherlands
PDF
Data and information exchange in the North Western Sahara Aquifer System (NWSAS)
Ms. Hayet Ben Mansour, Director for Surface Waters, General Directorate for Water Resources, Ministry of Agriculture, Hydraulic Resources and Fisheries, Tunisia
PDF
Disruptive technologies for improved water resources management
Ms. Amal Talbi, Lead Water Resources Management, Middle East and North Africa (MNA) Unit, Water Global Practice, The World Bank
PDF
Session 3 - Managing water scarcity – Water and adaptation to climate change
Highlights from the Regional Initiative for Assessment of Climate Change Impacts on Water Resources and Socio-Economic Vulnerability in the Arab region (RICCAR)
Ms. Carol Chouchani Cherfane, Chief Water Resources Section, Climate Change and Natural Resources Sustainability, ESCWA
PDF
RICCAR case study from the Medjerda river basin
Ms. Marlene Tomaszkiewicz, Regional Advisor for GIS for Climate Change Analysis, ESCWA
PDF

Case study from the Water Climate and Development Programme (WACDEP)
Ms. Anthi Brouma, Deputy Regional Coordinator, GWP-Med
PDF

Adapting to climate change in transboundary basins under the Water Convention PPT 3.4
Mr. Jos Timmerman, Waterframes, the Netherlands and
Ms. Diane Guerrier,
Associate Environmental Affairs Officer, UNECE
PDF

Session 4 - The role of international water law in supporting transboundary water cooperation


International water law as a tool to strengthen cooperation - Focus on the Water Convention: an opportunity for the MENA region? 
Ms. Diane Guerrier, Associate Environmental Affairs Officer, UNECE
PDF

Benefits of implementing the Water Convention: perspective of a Party
Mr. Peter Kovacs, Vice-Chair of the Bureau of the Water Convention
PDF

Frequently asked questions about the Water Convention
Ms. Chantal Demilecamps, Water Convention secretariat
PDF

Session 5 - Tools and approaches for improving transboundary water cooperation in the MENA region (Part 1 and Part 2)


Part 1
Water allocation in transboundary context: gathering experience worldwide for the Global Handbook
Mr. Peter Kovacs, Chair of the Expert Group on Water Allocation under the Water Convention, Ministry of Interior, Hungary
PDF
Part 2
Introduction on the Nexus approach and its benefits for transboundary water cooperation, findings from the 1st nexus roundtable in the MENA
Ms. Anthi Brouma, Deputy Regional Coordinator, GWP-Med
PDF
Experience sharing of nexus approaches application in transboundary basins from the region and beyond:
Nexus Dialogue Programme-Mainstreaming the Nexus Approach at the Niger Basin Authority
Ms. Nisreen Ellahham, Advisor, GIZ
PDF
Nexus assessment in the North Western Sahara Aquifer System (NWSAS) basin
Ms. Hayet Ben Mansour, Director for Surface Waters, General Directorate for Water Resources, Ministry of Agriculture, Hydraulic Resources and Fisheries, Tunisia

PDF
Facilitating intersectoral cooperation and integrated planning in transboundary basins - impacts of Nexus assessments in transboundary basins
Ms. Chantal Demilecamps, Environmental Affairs Officer, UNECE
PDF