Water shortages within the Mediterranean region are poised to intensify in the years to come. The greater region is warming 20% faster than the global average and the effects of climate change are becoming ever more visible, with prolonged heatwaves and drought. Southern European, Middle Eastern and North African countries all face unique challenges. The limited availability of freshwater and the progressive desertification are compounded by flaws present in water resources management, with high rates of leakages in distribution networks and frequent episodes of dam silting. This has a severe impact on both the energy and agriculture sectors (and, more broadly speaking, food security) which in turn undermines the economic development of the region and its liveability. By 2050, water demand is projected to double. Additionally, water shortages could lead to serious crises, driving to internal and international conflicts and threatening regional stability and security. The challenges of a “thirsty” MENA region need to be tackled jointly. Promoting water diplomacy and fostering cooperation for a shared management of water resources will greatly benefit the whole region, with positive spillover effects in terms of technological improvements, agricultural resilience, climate change adaption and conflict prevention. An inclusive and effective management of water resources is a key factor for sustainable development and conflict prevention. In fact, the right to water and the universal access to water and sanitation are playing a decisive role in achieving many SDGs of the 2030 Agenda. What are the main geopolitical repercussions of water scarcity in the Middle East and North African countries? What are the implications in terms of economic, social and political equilibrium? How to enhance transboundary water cooperation? How could it contribute to the stability of the whole area, deepening regional integration and promoting peace and security?
A Thirsty Region: How to Tackle Water Scarcity?
10:00 am CET
Chair & Speakers: Shaddad Attili , Enrico Molinaro , Grammenos Mastrojeni , Jyotsna Puri , Miki Zaide , Paolo Conversi