Implementation of the SWIM-SM: 2nd meeting of the Steering Committee

As permanent observer, MedWet was invited by the GWP-Med to attend the second Steering Committee meeting of the major project Sustainable Integrated Water Management- Support Mechanism (SWIM-SM), from the 17th to 18th October in Brussels. The SWIM-SM is a follow-up of the Ministerial Conference of Amman (2009) and consists of a Regional Technical Assistance Programme launched by the European Commission that aims to actively promote the extensive dissemination of sustainable water management policies and practices in the Southern Mediterranean region in the context of increasing water scarcity, combined pressure on water resources from a wide range of users, and desertification processes, in connection with climate change. The project was launched in January 2011 and is currently on its first year of implementation.

The second Steering Committee meeting gathered around 60 participants: partners of the programme and representatives of the SWIM consortium, EC representatives and main regional initiatives like the EEA, EMWIS, IME, Plan Bleu, MedWet, MedPol, UNDP , MEDRC, Medcities, in addition to official representatives of the nine Mediterranean countries participating in the project (Albania, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestinian Authority, Syria and Tunisia). More information on the project and the involved parties are available on the project website.

The meeting was an occasion to make the point on the activities planned for the first year of the support mechanism implementation in the frame of four main thematic pillars: 1 – non-conventional water resources (including wastewater treatment, reuse and desalination), particularly in rural areas; 2 – Evaluation of economic costs to remedy the deterioration of the water; 3 – ‘No regrets’ actions on climate change adaptation for the water sector and 4 – Local water management, focusing on the experiences of users’ associations.

The five important demonstration projects were presented: Adaptation to Climate Change of the Mediterranean Agricultural Systems (ACLIMAS), Innovative Means to Protect Water  Resources in the Mediterranean Coastal Areas through Re-injection of Treated Water (IMPROWARE), Network of demonstration activities for sustainable integrated wastewater treatment and reuse in the Mediterranean (Sustain Water MED), All Across the Jordan: Trans-boundary Master Planning of the Lower Jordan River Basin, and Water harvesting and Agricultural techniques in Dry lands: an Integrated and Sustainable model in Maghreb Regions (WADIS-MAR).After the presentation of the SWIM-SM 2013 Workplan, the participants were given the floor to discuss it in detail and present their vision of the on-going and future synergies with regional organizations and other programmes initiatives in the region.

MedWet recalled the importance of reinforcing the ownership by the countries as primary target groups and main stakeholders in this project. The Coordinator talked about the ecosystem approach that should be more present in the activities as well as the role of wetlands as natural infrastructures in the water cycle.

All the presentations are also available at EMWIS website.