FAO Regional Office for Near East and North Africa

A roadmap towards Water Sustainability in the NENA Region

FAO and SIDA launch Water Efficiency and Sustainability Project in NENA Countries

Left to right: Hussein Gadain, FAO representative in Egypt; Mohamed Abdel-Ati, Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources; Pasquale Steduto, Regional Strategic Programme Coordinator FAORNE; Aly Abousabaa, ICARDA Director General.

Cairo, Egypt, July 17, 2017 – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in cooperation with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), today launched the regional project “Implementing the 2030 Agenda for water efficiency/productivity and water sustainability in NENA countries” during a regional event taking place in Cairo, Egypt.

The Near East and North Africa (NENA) Region has the lowest per-capita fresh water resource availability among all regions of the world, with serious problems of unsustainable water use. In the coming decades, the NENA region will suffer severe intensification of water scarcity as well as more frequent, intense and long droughts. Given that agriculture consumes 85% of fresh water, this industry needs to enhance its water efficiency and productivity.

FAO and SIDA joined hands in launching the project to help member countries in implementing the 2030 Agenda for water efficiency, productivity, and sustainability and contribute to the achievement of SDG 6.

The project will also help member countries in achieving SDG 2 by ending hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition and increasing the capacity for agricultural productivity. This will be done by establishing a robust water accounting system, implementing a series of interventions to increase water efficiency and productivity in selected farming systems, and ensuring sustainable, socially equitable and human-rights based development.

The beneficiary countries of the project are: Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia.

“Water productivity and sustainability is imperative in decreasing the number of people suffering from water scarcity, hunger, malnutrition, and inefficient agricultural systems. We believe that this project will help in achieving a sustainable future for the NENA region,” Said Pasquale Steduto, Delivery Manager of  FAO Waster Scarcity Regional Initiative on behalf of Abdessalam Ould Ahmed, FAO NENA Regional Representative.

Along with the participatory countries, the event also hosted members from the League of Arab States, International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), UNESCO and the University of Cordoba. The Egyptian Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, H.E. Mohamed Abd-ElAty will address the Opening.

This project is under FAO’s Regional Initiative on Water Scarcity (WSI) which supports NENA-region countries to strategically plan their water resource management and allocation. The initiative also encourages countries to review their water, food security and energy policies in order to formulate effective investment plans and adopt efficient agricultural practices.