Challenges and opportunities of water availability and water management in the MENA Region

Chair : Prof. Dr. Manfred Lange, Director, Future Earth MENA Regional Center, The Cyprus Institute

The countries of the Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East and North Africa, comprising what is called the MENA Region, are known to be prone to extreme levels of water scarcity. Pressures on available water resources in the MENA Region have increased during the past decades due to a number of factors. They include: demographic development and rapid population growth, a significant increase in urban population, changes in lifestyle and food preferences requiring increasing amounts of water, deteriorating water quality and a drastic reduction in precipitation as a major source of surface water and for the replenishment of aquifers and groundwater bodies as a result of ongoing changes in climate, to name but a few. The increase in aridity is considered to represent the main threat to the diversity and survival of land ecosystems and their services in the MENA Region.

The roundtable discussions will address some of the causes of the above mentioned challenges and will explore possibly strategies to provide mitigation and adaptation measures. We will discuss, how such measures can be negotiated and implemented in light of an equitable water-sharing between main stakeholders and by taking into account the constraints of water-, energy and food security in the MENA Region.