The first Regional Consultation Workshop for the preparation of the Middle East Region of the 4th World Water Forum, took place in Cairo, Egypt on June 19-20, 2005.
The workshop witnessed high level representation from the World Bank (WB), the 4th World Water Forum Secretariat, the Arab Water Council (AWC), the World Water Council (WWC), representatives of international and regional organizations and country representatives of the twenty two Arab States. This event was organized by AWC, the WB Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and the Water Initiative Program, with the financial support of the Japan Water Forum and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.
This workshop had three specific purposes:
Find agreement on the most relevant issues on which the region wanted to focus and convene thematic sessions in preparation for Mexico on these issues.
Identify a preliminary list of local actions that the region will present along the selected issue/themes.
Agree on the roles and responsibilities for countries, session conveners and the regional committee as well as the time schedule towards the 4th WWF.
The workshop briefed the participants on the roles of principal players and the preparatory process for the 4th Forum. The workshop identified the following key water issues in the region: water use efficiency in a basin context, groundwater depletion, climatic variability, inadequate access to clean drinking water supplies in rural areas, transboundary waters, water demand management, salinization and development of the use of non-conventional water resources.
The workshop concluded with the following recommendations for action:
The AWC shall ensure full notification of the results of the workshop to all countries.
The AWC shall seek endorsement and full participation of government and non-governmental organizations in future steps of the preparatory process and effective participation in the 4th WWF.
The AWC will continue to seek financial support for subsequent work in the preparatory process and in support of participation in the 4th WWF.
A second workshop will follow as a part of the preparatory process with the support of the World Bank. The dates and the location shall be determined shortly, but it will not be later than November 10, 2005.
A regional committee was formed from representatives of the AWC, WB, 4th WWF Secretariat, and the WWC. A Secretariat designated by the AWC will be in charge of the coordination of all future contacts.
Hesham Kandil, Representative of the Middle East Regional Committee
Second Preparatory Workshop in Tabasco, Mexico
In sunny but recently-flooded Villahermosa, Tabasco, the Operative Committee of the Americas held its latest meeting from June 28th-30th. The meeting consisted of a presentation of the Forumís framework themes and a number of its crosscutting perspectives, followed by questions and answers, with specific local actions identified to support the Americasī position on each of them.
This gathering, to which a number of beacons had been invited, was also the opportunity to organize a specific meeting of beacons and regional committees, on July 1st, attended by around 20 participants. The Forum Secretariat presented proposals for the various processes to be followed leading up to the Forum (click here for a copy of the presentation), in particular for the selection of sessions conveners and local actions for the Forum, and also listened to progress reports on the work of each of the groups involved. The Forum is fast approaching, and this was a good opportunity to synchronize watches for the final sprint.
On the specifics, agreement was reached regarding the mechanism for selecting the conveners of the Forumís 150 sessions (30 per day), with responsibility shared between the beacons for the 10 themes and perspectives, the 5 regional committees and the major group coordinators, with the Forum Secretariat and the World Water Council having a say in balancing the sessions for each day. There was a debate on the selection of local actions to be presented during the sessions, and while this debate is ongoing, it seems clear that there is a need for a system to make sure that the actions presented are representative of the regions, while at the same time giving some leeway to session conveners. We will report on the progress on this matter in the next edition of the Newsletter.
Clic here for more details regarding the Preparatory Process.