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Discrepancies regarding the naming of the occupied Palestinian territories prevents agreement on the water strategy

14 avril 2010
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In Barcelona this Tuesday, lack of agreement on how to name the occupied Palestinian territories has prevented representatives of the 43 countries of the Union for the Mediterranean approving a joint strategy for guaranteeing the water resources of the whole Mediterranean basin.

A document intended to promote common initiatives for water management, which was going to be the first major strategy of the recently created Union for the Mediterranean, was supposed to come out of the 4th Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference.

As was explained in the press conference following the meeting, the insurmountable obstacle was a nuance of terminology, since Israel’s representatives would not accept the document referring to ‘occupied territories’ and proposed the term ‘territories under occupation’, which was not acceptable to the Arab block.

At  the conference, jointly chaired by the Spanish Minister for the Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs, Elena Espinosa, ministers from the 43 countries which make up the Union for the Mediterranean and representatives of the European Commission and the Arab League took part, along with representatives of civil society and financial institutions.

In her opening speech, Espinosa pointed out that the Mediterranean is an imbalanced hydrological basin, with extreme phenomena of cyclical floods and droughts, which requires the Union member nations to adopt a ‘common strategy for a scarce resource’.

The Secretary-General of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), Ahmad Masa’deh, called for urgent action to guarantee access to water for all the residents of Mediterranean countries, along with development that does not compromise ecosystems.

The strategy was supposed to establish the political, methodological and financial framework for bringing in regional policies on the matter. It also envisaged reducing the consumption of water between now and the year 2025, to levels 25 percent below those of 2005.

Source: eu2010.es

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