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SDG6 monitoring project (GEMI): Pilot countries


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Jordan

Summary report of the inception workshop, 22-23 May 2016

The two-day inception workshop was organized by UN-Habitat and UNESCO, in coordination with the Ministry of Water and Irrigation. About forty persons attended the event, eleven of whom were women.

At the opening session, the FAO Representative of Jordan gave an opening speech, together with the representatives of UN-Habitat, UNESCO, WHO, and the Swiss Cooperation.

The acting Secretary General of the Ministry of Water and Irrigation gave a welcome address, highlighting the importance of water monitoring, both at global and at national level, as well as of a multisectoral approach to water resources management. He stressed the importance of such approach and knowledge for Jordan, a country with limited water resources and facing several issues, including a serious and extended refugees crisis. For this, a water knowledge management system is planned to be established.

Session 1

Policies, data and instruments available in Jordan to support the monitoring of water resources and the plans to increase water availability have been illustrated by the representatives of key institutions, such as the Ministry of Water and Irrigation and the MDG+ Initiative. The GEMI project was introduced by UN-Habitat.

Session 2

FAO, WHO, UNESCO, UN-Habitat and UNEP gave introductory presentations on each of the four targets (6.3-6.6), which are the subject of the project, and all the relevant indicators. Also targets 6.1 and 6.2 were introduced by WHO. FAO introduced the proposed methodology for the assessment of the two indicators under Target 6.4, for which FAO is the custodian agency: Indicator 6.4.1 "Change in water-use efficiency over time" and Indicator 6.4.2 "Level of water stress: freshwater withdrawal as a proportion of available freshwater resources".

The work continued in four working groups, one for each GEMI target. The discussion in the group on Target 6.4 focused mainly on the relevance of the indicators for Jordan. In particular, the discussion was on the water stress indicator 6.4.2. The participants argued that, given the extremely scarce water resources of the country, the indicator would systematically exceed 100 percent, making little sense in terms of policy-making. However, it remains important to keep this indicator, since every decrease would mean that increasingly alternative sources of water are used, such as desalinated water or direct use of wastewater, rather than depleting renewable groundwater resources and/or using non-renewable fossil groundwater, which would contribute to improving sustainability. After discussion, it was proposed that in addition to the standard indicator one supplementary indicator would be prepared, focusing on the sources of water and of the water withdrawal with an emphasis on getting water to the people.

Session 3

This session consisted of a panel discussion, which was organized to debate the regional implications and perspectives of the GEMI project. The panel was composed of a representative of WHO, UNEP and the MDG+ regional initiative. A discussion followed, highlighting the potentiality for the dissemination of the project initiative in the Near East sub-region, although its actual implementation should be postponed till results of the present initiative are available.

Session 4

In the final session the outcome of the working groups was reported. The discussion that followed led to confirm the role of the Ministry of Water and Irrigation as overall coordinator of the GEMI activity in Jordan.


Summary of the opening speech by the FAO Representative in Jordan

On behalf of Mr. Jose Graziano da Silva, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, I would like to share my pleasure to be here with you today at the opening of the inception workshop of the GEMI initiative "Integrated Monitoring of Water and Sanitation-related SDG Targets".

Allow me first to express the gratitude of FAO to the Government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and to my colleagues of UNESCO and UN-Habitat for their efforts in the organization of this workshop.

As you know, the SDGs follow and extend the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). While in theory the MDGs were applicable to all countries, in reality they have mostly been considered as targets to achieve for developing countries. Conversely, today, all countries must be involved in the implementation and achievement of the SDGs. And unlike the MDGs, developed mostly in a top-down approach within the UN, the SDGs have been developed by and with the Member States.

Of the SDGs, Goal 6 sets to "ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all", is devoted to various aspects of freshwater.

Safe water accessible to all is a global key objective in order to get a decent life for all. There is enough freshwater on Earth to achieve this result. However, uneven distribution of the water resources over the globe, as well as economic and institutional constraints to develop and sustainably manage the freshwater resources, in addition to poor water quality, can negatively impact on food security and livelihood choices, particularly for poor families in the peri-urban and rural areas. Both drought and floods also affects some of the poorest countries in the world, exacerbating hunger and malnutrition.

Reliable data on the water sector is crucial and it should contribute to: (i) supporting an active awareness strategy; (ii) stimulate political commitment and public and private investment; and (iii) inform decision-making at all levels.

Over time, monitoring the progress of SDG 6 can become a source of information on best practices and support the productive integration of all the sectors concerned with the SDGs. In addition, better informed investments will allow an efficient use of financial, human and natural resources.

The GEMI project was established in 2014 as an inter-agency initiative operating within the framework of UN-Water activities. Our common commitment is to work together to achieve these goals, in collaboration with our partners in the Member States and to contribute, through a better water monitoring system, to a steady and sustainable development. I remain convinced that the actors here will contribute to the growth of this important and noble undertaking.

FAO is committed to work with GEMI team in Jordan, particularly on providing support to assess status and scope for monitoring and reducing water stress and to enhance the efficiency of water use. FAO has long experience in water data collection and processing through AQUASTAT, its global water information system.

I wish every success to the GEMI initiative and to this workshop.




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