FAO Regional Office for Near East and North Africa

FAO drives action on water scarcity in the Near East and North Africa region

Launching today the inter-Regional Technical Platform on Water Scarcity

28 June 2022, Cairo, Egypt – “The inter-Regional Technical Platform on Water Scarcity can help transform more efficient, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable agri-food systems, for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life for all, leaving no one behind,” said Qu Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

This came during today’s launch of FAO’s inter-Regional Technical Platform on Water Scarcity (iRTP-WS), which will support countries and regions in scaling-up relevant water-related actions, programs, and policies to cope with water scarcity and food insecurities amid the unprecedented challenges of climate change, and socio-economic vulnerabilities due to disasters and instability.

“Water needs to be more strategically positioned on the global climate change agenda in the Near East and North Africa region,” Qu added.

While not intended to directly implement projects or programs, the platform is envisioned to be an inter-regional collaborative mechanism on water-related topics that facilitates the policy-science dialogue and outreach, accelerates the mutual exchange and uptake of proven effective and sustainable solutions already available, and promote innovative ones, towards the enhancement of food and water security.

“As a platform for collaboration and partnerships, the inter-Regional Technical Platform has the potential to facilitate information exchange, create synergies, promote joint activities and future collective planning, not only in this region or within FAO, but across the regions and beyond FAO. There is a wealth of local knowledge and experiences that we all can learn from each other,” stated HRH Princess Basma bint Ali, FAO Goodwill Ambassador for NENA, while addressing the opening of launch of the platform.

The iRTP-WS is expected to strengthen the engagement of existing Communities of Practices in water-related fields toward a more sustainable and more resilient future. It will also facilitate the formation of multi-disciplinary teams to address complex topics and accelerate the achievements of the SDGs, with a special focus on SDG 6 (Water and Sanitation) and SDG 2 (Zero Hunger) and their associated targets and considering the interlinkages across other related SDGs.

“As a hub for partnerships, exchange and learning, the Platform will contribute to the development and dissemination of proper approaches and tools addressing water scarcity and water-related objectives across different stakeholders and partners,” said Abdel Hakim Elwaer, Assistant Director-General and FAO Regional Representative in the Near East and North Africa (NENA), in his welcoming remarks.

“The platform will also support scaling-up investments by enabling interaction with donors and financiers and by promoting public-private dialogue,” Elwaer continued.

The iRTP-WS will offer information and material on four main themes: Resilience and Climate Change Adaptation; Water Productivity Tools and Analytics; Non-Conventional Water Resources; and Water Governance.