UAE Minister of Energy and Infrastructure Opens the 5th Arab Water Forum participated by 22 Arab countries pledging strong commitment to water security for peace and sustainable development. H.E. Suhail Al Mazrouei: The Arab Water Forum is a leading platform for cooperation and collaboration to support the water sector and accelerate efforts to address challenges of water scarcity.
His Excellency Engineer Suhail Al Mazrouei, UAE Minister of Energy and Infrastructure today inaugurated the 5th Arab Water Forum (AWF5) at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Dubai, UAE, with more than 600 delegates, participants from 22 Arab countries pledging their strong commitment to water security for peace and sustainable development in the Arab World.
The three-day conference focusses on water scarcity in the Arab World, depleting water resources and ways and means to generate water from sustainable sources, in line with the conference theme – Arab Water Security for Peace and Sustainable Development.
He was accompanied by H.E. Prof. Mahmoud Abu Zeid, President of the Arab Water Council; H.E. Mohamed Adel Atty, Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation (MWRI), Egypt; H.E. Serigne Mbaye Thiam, Minister of Water and Sanitation, Senegal; H.E. Mr. Loïc Fauchon, President of the World Water Council (WWC) and H.E. Dr. Ahmed Abul Gheit, Secretary-General, League of Arab States (LAS).
Held under the patronage of the UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure and supported by the League of Arab States (LAS) and the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation of Egypt (MWRI), in cooperation with national, regional and international partners, the three-day triennial conference is hosting 25 Government Ministers and Undersecretaries representing 22 Arab countries, high government officials, businessmen, public and private sector organisation where more than 40 experts discussing water scarcity and sustainable development across the region.
“The Arab Water Forum is a leading platform for cooperation and collaboration to support the water sector and strengthen efforts to address challenges related to water scarcity. Water is an essential pillar of sustainability, which makes it a strategic priority of the UAE where three desalination plants with combined production capacity of 420 million imperial gallons of water per day (MIGD) will be commissioned by 2023,” HE Eng. Suhail Al Mazrouei, UAE Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, said in his keynote speech.
“The forum constitutes a leading platform for cooperation and collaboration to support the water sector, and to accelerate efforts to address the challenges related to it, as it is of vital importance to sustainable development, and a factor central to achieving the social, economic and environmental goals and objectives associated with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.”
The Minister welcomed all the participants in the forum, which carries the slogan “Arab Water Security for Peace and Sustainable Development” in the UAE. He also wished to achieve the best possible results from the generous participation of all concerned in this event, exchanging views and contributing to raising the standard of living.
He pointed out that this forum is gaining a special status for the UAE, as it coincides with the announcement of the ‘Projects of the 50’ (50th Anniversary of the formation of the UAE Federation) package and ahead of the launch of Expo 2020 – a mega global event – starting next month.
HE Eng. Suhail Al Mazrouei added: “The water-related challenges will become more tough in light of the growing demand for water and the scarcity of resources, especially in our Arab region in the coming years. The worsening global climate change and the increase in future demand for water have forced us to undertake more initiatives, dialogue, reflection and joint work to build future capabilities to meet these challenges and overcome. From the Arab Water Forum platform, we reaffirm our strong commitment to continue our efforts to enhance regional and international cooperation in water-related activities and programmes.”
Pointing out that the UAE has made qualitative contributions in the field of international cooperation and providing development assistance related to water and sanitation to countries in need, the Minister said, the UAE has disbursed nearly Dh3 billion in aid from 2015 to 2020.
H.E. Eng. Suhail Al Mazrouei stressed that water represents a fundamental pillar of sustainability, which makes it at the forefront of the strategic priorities of the UAE, which leads the pioneering efforts to adopt the latest innovations, initiatives and strategies in support of this vital sector, for its role in supporting the national economy and quality of life. Therefore, the UAE identified the future needs of the sector through Preparing the UAE Water Security Strategy 2036, which aims to ensure the sustainability and continuity of access to water in both natural and emergency conditions, and to move this vital sector towards a prosperous future that meets the needs and aspirations.
“Based on the vision and wisdom of the wise leadership of the United Arab Emirates towards achieving sustainable development, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has adopted the National Programme for Demand-Side Management for Energy and Water, with the aim of rationalising consumption to ensure sustainable consumption of energy, water, mining and infrastructure for the happiness and prosperity of society, with a special focus on facing the challenges by adopting proactive policies and setting appropriate legislation, and building strategic partnerships, full cooperation and coordination with the relevant authorities.”
He announced that the UAE is developing three new water desalination projects in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Umm Al Quwain with combined capacity of 420 million imperial gallons of water per day that will support the sustainability of the water sector in the UAE. These will raise the total installed capacity to 1,590 million imperial gallons per day when completed by 2023.
The Minister of Energy and Infrastructure stressed that the main message at this stage is the importance of working towards a cohesive, cooperative local and international community to enhance the integrated resource management approach. And that dialogue between the various actors has become a greater necessity than ever before, to enhance joint cooperation, to study innovative solutions and formulate public and private measures and initiatives in order to ensure better water security and sustainability.
It is noteworthy that the newly released United Nations 2020 report on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development indicates that the UAE has achieved 100 percent in the provision of safe drinking water, sanitation and sanitation services. The country also achieved a score of 79 percent in the field of integrated water resources management.
More than 50 exhibitors will participate in the three-day conference, showcasing the latest technologies and innovations in the field of water, water desalination, as well as the production of pure drinking water, in addition to utility companies, municipalities, and suppliers with the aim of spreading awareness about the importance of this sector, which is being held at a time when the region is facing the problem of acute water scarcity, which has reached a critical level with the increased demand for clean water due to the growing population.
According to the World Bank, the Middle East and North Africa is home to 6 percent of the world’s population, and the renewable water supply in this region is less than 2 percent in the world. This region is the driest in the world.
The region includes 12 Arab countries – the driest countries in the world – with average per capita water supply of only 1200 cubic meters, one sixth of the global average of 7000 cubic meters. Most Arab countries cannot sustainably meet their current water needs. A World Bank report stated that with population growth and increased demand, per capita water availability is expected to halve by 2050.
Over the three days, the fifth session of the Arab Forum will witness the organization of many plenary sessions, discussion sessions, scientific sessions, official meetings and the Arab Water Exhibition, in addition to many networking opportunities between attendees.
Among the most prominent issues that the conference will address: achieving water, food and energy security, climate change and its impact on Arab water security, water desalination techniques as a strategic option to achieve sustainable Arab water security, sharing water resources and their role in achieving peace and development, effective water management in order to achieve peace and stability Water policy and diplomacy for the management of transboundary waters, the development of regulating laws and the establishment of effective partnerships for the management and development of shared water resources.
At the 5th Arab Water Forum, HE Eng. Suhail Al Mazrouei, UAE Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, leads the list of the dignitaries that include Abdulrahman Al Fadley, Ministry of Water, Environment and Agriculture, Saudi Arabia, Mohamed Abdel Atty, Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, Egypt, Eng. Wael Bin Nasser Al Mubarak, Minister of Electricity and Water Affairs, Bahrain, Ahmed bin Abdullah al Shuhi, Minister of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources, Oman, Dr Khaled Al Fadel, Ministry of Electricity and Water, Kuwait, Eng. Raed Abu Soud, Ministry of Water and Irrigation, Jordan, Ali Hammam, Ministry of Water Resources, Algeria, Aziz Rebbah, Ministry of Energy, Mines and Environment, Morocco, Samir Taieb, Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries, Tunisia, Mr. Loic Fauchon, President, World Water Council (WWC), Prof. Mahmoud Abu-Zeid, President, Arab Water Council (AWC), Secretary General League of Arab States (LAS), among other senior officials.
The high-profile conference is being supported by the Arab League and the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation of Egypt (MWRI), in collaboration with national, regional and international partners.
The 2021 edition of the Arab Water Forum features three days of keynote speeches, panel sessions, scientific sessions, and an Arab Water Expo, along with plenty of opportunities for networking.
Some of the key topics that are being addressed in panel discussions include, Water, Energy and Food Security Nexus; Climate Change Impact on Arab Water Security; Water Desalination as a Strategic Option for Sustainable Arab Water Security; Sharing Water and Benefits for Peace and Development; Effective Water Governance Towards Achieving Peace and Stability; Hydro Diplomacy and Water Politics in Transboundary Water Management; Riparian Partnerships in Developing and Managing shared Water Resources and Governing Laws.