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UfM ministers meet to agree Mediterranean water strategy

12 avril 2010

Ministers from the 43 Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) countries, representatives of the European Commission and the Arab League, as well as civil society and financial institutions meet in Barcelona tomorrow, 13 April, as the Fourth Euromed Conference on Water aims to reach agreement on the Strategy for Water in the Mediterranean (SWM).

EU Ministers of Agriculture approved the guidelines of the joint position on Water in the Mediterranean on 29 March.   The Strategy will set a political, methodological and financial framework for the implementation of regional policies on protection and sustainable management of the Mediterranean’s water resources. Agreement would fulfil the ‘Jordan Declaration’ of December 2008, which established the need to set a long-term plan for water as an environmental, economical and social tool in the Mediterranean. 

   A press release from the Spanish EU Presidency said the Conference would also provide an opportunity to study solutions to common water shortage challenges such as the effects of climate change and extreme phenomena, such as droughts and floods. Other problems to take into account in the Mediterranean region are rapid population growth, socio-economic inequalities, water contamination, pressure on natural ecosystems and the loss of biodiversity.   Once it is approved in Barcelona, the Strategy will be presented at another Euromed conference on the environment, to be held in Dubrovnik (Croatia) on 21 and 22 April, and at the Euromed ministerial conference on agriculture, to take place in Egypt on 15 and 16 June. The Heads of State and Government of the Union for the Mediterranean will also discuss this issue at a summit meeting scheduled for 7 June in Barcelona.

Today, ahead of the Conference, experts from UfM countries will be taking part in a technical workshop in Barcelona on ‘Water in Mediterranean countries: problems and solutions’. The aim is to discuss mechanisms for institutional strengthening, along with different experiences, financing mechanisms and technology transfer programmes which are being developed.

In view of the ministerial meeting, the ENPI Info Centre has put together a wrap up on relations and cooperation between the EU and the Mediterranean countries on water issues.   The EU also funds a programme called ‘Sustainable Water Management and De-pollution of the Mediterranean’ through its European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI). The €22 million programme, to be launched in the coming months, aims at “enforcing sustainable water management policies, disseminating good practices in the region and supporting the initiative Horizon 2020 for the de-pollution of the Mediterranean.” (ENPI Info Centre)

Presidency press release ENPI Info Centre wrap up

IV Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference on Water – website

Barcelona workshop – Water in Mediterranean countries: problems and solutions

Sustainable Water Management and De-pollution of the Mediterranean – fiche and news

Horizon 2020 – website

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