Group photo of the panelists and participants of the event on the occasion of World Water Day 2022, which took place at CyI’s premises in Nicosia
- Head of the Department of Multilateral Relations and International Organizations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Giorgos Ioannides, on behalf of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus, H.E. Ambassador, Kornelios S. Korneliou.
- The Ambassador of France to Cyprus, H. E. Ms. Salina Grenet-Catalano.
- Gianna Oikonomidou, on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment, H.E. Dr. Costas Kadis.
- Diplomatic guests: E. H. Janabi, H.E. Dr. Raed Abou-Soud, H.E. Prof. Mohamed Abdulrazzak, and H.E. Charafat Afilal.
- Scientific guests: M. Scoullos, Prof. Isam Shahrour, Prof. Ilan Juran, Prof. Maria Mimikou, Dr. Carol Chouchani Cherfane, Prof. Gonzalo Espinoza, Ms. Cleopatra Kitti, and Dr. Rana Qaimari.
- Cyprus Water Development Department: Panayiota Hadjigeorgiou.
- CyI representatives: Prof. Costas N. Papanicolas (President of The Cyprus Institute), Prof. Fadi Comair, Prof. Andriana Bruggeman, Dr Nicolas Jarraud.
“We have to focus on a sustainable water recourses management to achieve water security and resilience. We have to recognise the limitations on water availability, to educate people to change their consumption and lifestyles, to reflect the real value of water and the need for financial sustainability, to develop energy efficient desalination plants, to support research and innovation, to build Climate Change resilient utilities and upgrade our infrastructure, and to enhance cooperation and knowledge exchange with water professionals and Institutions between the EMME region”, she concluded.
The conference closed with the participants agreeing to a common World Water Day Declaration, which is reproduced below.
- In view of increasing challenges in the region, related to population growth, climate change, changing lifestyles and unsustainable consumption and production patterns, the scarce water resources of the region are becoming even further stressed. To address these challenges, the EMME region needs parallel action at various levels: effective water demand management; improved and advanced management approaches; innovative technologies for the minimization of water losses and effective use of energy; promotion and wise use of non-conventional water resources; appropriate regulatory frameworks; adequate funding; international cooperation; and comprehensive education and awareness raising campaigns.
- International cooperation is of utmost importance for the region because of its many shared, across national borders, water resources. Implementation of the relevant UN Conventions, in conjunction with hydro-diplomacy and the consideration of the Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystem Nexus, could offer the necessary framework for such cooperation.
- Dialogue and mutual agreement is considered as the only viable way for resolving conflict over transboundary water. Emphasis should be given to promoting (i) coordination at different levels from local, to national (i.e. Basin organization) and regional, (ii) legally binding frameworks (UN conventions), (iii) Promotion of hydro-diplomacy awareness towards decision makers for nations where there is a need for capacity building and the need for developing guidelines for Transboundary Basin Management, and (iv) the recognition that conflict resolution between riparian states should be addressed from the perspective of “water for peace” rather than “war for water”.
- Acknowledge The Cyprus Institute’s new initiative for a Hydro-Diplomacy Partnership Programme-HPP. A non-partisan international platform, which is badly needed, will be put at the service of policy makers, scientists and diplomats, having at its disposal a pool of competencies concerning transboundary water management. This HPP initiative will offer science-based and technologically sound solutions to policy-makers for mitigating water-related risks. This approach will also identify ways to transform water-related conflict into water, energy and food-related cooperation. Activities will include:
- Facilitation of dialogue at a technical level for water sharing options.
- State-of the art modeling capabilities and an extensive repository of relevant observations and data.
- Training of policy makers (water management, conflict resolution), training of scientists (advocacy, diplomacy) with a resulting certificate of “water diplomat”.
- Repository of best practices to be shared throughout the region by adopting innovative approaches based on technological processes with the development of scientific data sets and tools around environmental degradation, climate change projections, water scarcity and water balances for the EMME Region.
- Supporting the implementation of the UNESCO-ECOMED Academy Network based at the Cyprus Institute with, as a secretary, the W-Smart International Alliance of Water & Wastewater Utilities for Sustainable Water Security. It targets the information exchange for extreme events adaptation, experience sharing and capacity building, pollution monitoring, research projects on innovative solutions, and strategic partnerships with regional and UN organizations.
- The participants, acknowledge and strongly support the creation of a regional action plan (for the EMME countries) as part of the Climate Change Initiative (CCI) which is scheduled to be presented to the Ministerial Meeting held in Cyprus on June 2022. The synergy of the envisioned Climate Action Plan and the CyI led “Hydro-Diplomacy Partnership Programme-HPP” is viewed as of critical importance.
- The participants request that the present Declaration is considered as a regional input of the EMME region to the 9th World Water Council Meeting in Dakar.