FAO Regional Office for Near East and North Africa

A National Consultation Workshop in the context of FAO Water Scarcity Initiative in the Near East and North Africa

From right: to left to Mr. Fawzi Karajeh, Mr. Pasquale Steduto, and H.E. Dr. Dr. Akef Al-Zoubi, and Mr. Talal El Fayez of FAO

The Near East and North Africa (NENA) region is the most water scarce region of the world and in recent years the amount of water available per person has declined dramatically. Current figures confirm that water availability has decreased by about 65 percent during the last 40 years and is expected to fall by another 50 percent by 2050.Added to this; the threat of climate change has been compounding the situation, increasing the recurrence and severity of drought conditions in many of the NENA countries in recent years.

Continued water scarcities will affect the region’s social and economic potential. About 70 percent of all fresh water withdrawals globally and up to 95 percent in several developing countries are used for irrigation.

To help countries to address this challenge the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations launched a regional “Initiative on Water Scarcity in the Near East and North Africa” back in 2013, to support Member Countries in streamlining priority areas of action in agriculture water management through an innovative approach that puts forward the maximization of cost effectiveness of food supply options.

In light of FAO efforts to face this escalating problem and under the umbrella of this Initiative, FAO in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture in Jordan held today a stakeholders’ consultation workshop in Amman, to discuss a plan of work to address ‘water consumption’, ‘water productivity’ and ‘drought management’ in Agriculture for Jordan.

“This workshop marks the new step in our partnership with FAO working on a sound and sustainable agriculture water management dimension through the Water Scarcity Initiative in the Near East and North Africa.” His Excellency Dr. Akef Al-Zoubi, the Jordan's Minister of Agriculture said in his comments on the workshop.

“Jordan’s agriculture water use is in the scale of the global average of 69 percent of its total water portfolio. This is with no doubt that agriculture sector is faced with strong challenges keeping its current water share for contributing to food security and the rural economy” said Dr. Fawzi Karajeh, the FAO Water Resources and Irrigation Officer participating in the Workshop”.

The National stakeholders’ consultation workshop brought together participants from various institutions in Jordan to learn about the WSI, the Regional Collaborative Strategy framework and the regional collaborative Platform under development in which Jordan is a focal country.

“Together we started to find options to reduce agricultural water productivity gaps and to improve the drought preparedness in Jordan” said Dr. Pasquale Steduto, the FAO WSI’s Delivery Manager.

Roll-up for the National Workshop on FAO Water Scarcity Initiative