Union for the Mediterranean, First Meeting of the Water Expert Group in Athens, Greece, 7-8 September 2009

The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) was launched by Head of States and Governments during the Summit for the Mediterranean (13 July 2008, Paris). Specific references were made to water issues which were then elaborated upon in the Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference o­n Water (22 December 2008, Dead Sea, Jordan). The preparation of a Long Term Strategy for Water in the Mediterranean (SWM) was the key decision of this conference.
The Water Expert Group (WEG) is assigned with the elaboration of the SWM until the next Ministerial Conference on Water scheduled for 12-14th April 2010 in Spain. Greece and Spain presented a document which represents a roadmap for the elaboration of the SWM and is essentially the Terms of Reference for any such strategy. The WEG meeting was provided with technical and administrative assistance by the Mediterranean component of the EU Water initiative (MED EUWI), led by Greece since 2003.

The WEG participants were firstly informed on key strategies and initiatives o­n water already in place in the Mediterranean like the EU’s Water Framework Directive within which the River Basin Management Plans should be adopted in 2009. They were then presented with the draft Terms of reference of the SWM prepared by Greece and Spain which will be elaborated upon by the selected Drafting team and presented in the Ministerial Conference in April 2010 in Spain. They were also given information on the projects process and financing alternatives as well as the various conferences and regional seminars on water related issues in the next three months. These are

– The Egyptian-Dutch Conference in Cairo, Egypt, 2nd-3rd November 2009 “Towards the new Long Term Strategy for Water in the Mediterranean”

– The Mediterranean Commission of United Cities and Local Governments (CGLU) in Lyon France o­n the 23rd and 24th November 2009 “The role of local authorities in the Water UfM process”

– The Lebanese Ministry of Energy and Water and the International and Mediterranean Networks of Basin Organizations in Beirut, Lebanon on the 6th to 9th October 2009 on river basin management and WFD implementation in the Euro Mediterranean Region)

The Water Experts Group agreed to use the SWM draft terms of reference and elaborate upon them according to the mandate given by the Jordan Ministerial Declaration. They will develop a strategy for action with an implementation mechanism at a regional and national level. They set up a drafting team composed of Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Spain, Syria, Croatia, the European Commission and the League of Arab States, Spain will be the chair of the Technical drafting team as it will host the next Ministerial Conference. The drafting will start work immediately in a transparent way where material will be available electronically for comment to the WEG members. The work of the drafting team will be a Strategy/Action Plan which will use existing activities; it will use objectives with indicators, flexibility and local specificities and priorities. Concerning existing activities the WEG agreed to include in the SWM the results of a group of countries working on strengthening the coordination of existing Euro-Mediterranean and regional initiatives and networks on information and expertise. Finally, the next WEG meeting will be in Cairo on the 4th November 2009.

Updated on 9/22/2009 12:59:06 PM.