event 26 Feb 2018

"A WEF perspective is essential for developing effective strategies for the sustainable use of essential resources"

By Jauad El Kharraz. With a water-energy-food nexus workshop held in Morocco in December, the Middle East Desalination Research Center (MEDRC) and its partners have shown the importance of the Nexus approach for resource security and peace in the MENA region.

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(C) Annie Spratt / Unsplash

This article has been originally posted on the MEDRC website and is reposted here with kind permission by the author.

Strengthening its reputation as an important regional hub for the development of solutions to fresh water scarcity, Muscat based MEDRC Water Research organised an international workshop on the Water-Energy-Food Nexus held in Morocco on 17-20 Dec 2017.

The Nexus recognizes that the water, energy and food sectors are inextricably linked and that actions in any one of these areas usually impact upon the other. Thus, these complex and intricate links require a suitably integrated approach to ensure global food and water security and sustainable agriculture and energy.

Organised in collaboration with the recently installed Regional Program on Energy Security and Climate Change in the Middle East and North Africa (REMENA) of the German Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) and the International University of Rabat (Morocco) on their campus, the two-day workshop aims to stimulate dialogue, promote shared understanding and explore how success stories might be replicated and applied to Maghreb countries.

Water resources are particularly limited and vulnerable to pollution and weather extremes in the Maghreb countries. Yet, environmental protection is still considered partly in conflict with economic growth. The integrated perspective provided by the WEF Nexus may help meet the needs of water use, by stimulating appropriate investments in the Maghreb region, on the basis of consistent and effective water policy and water governance.

The output of the workshop provides material for a co-produced paper combining the outcomes of the workshop goals and recommendations that can be applied for the promotion of water nexus thinking and the fuelling of economic growth in the Maghreb region.

Specifically, the workshop goals were to define

  • The economic benefits for stakeholders and companies to adopt a cross-sectoral perspective for water management in the Maghreb region
  • The barriers hampering the adoption of a cross-sectoral perspective for water management.
  • Which public policies could, and should be promoted in order to remove such barriers
  • Which issues should be addressed in order to improve governance and collaboration among stakeholders and between stakeholders and governments, in order to fully tap into the economic growth potentials of the Maghreb region?
  • What is required institutionally, legislatively, technically, economically to implement the WEF Nexus in the Maghreb countries?

Addressing the workshop, Dr. Jauad El Kharraz, Head of Research, at MEDRC Water Research said, “This workshop is in keeping with MEDRC’s goal to act as a catalyst for change. It recognizes the critical links that exist between the three sectors represented here today and facilitates a collaborative approach to achieving an understanding of the interdependent dynamics of the water, energy and food sectors. A WEF perspective is essential for developing effective strategies for the sustainable use of essential resources and today we explore how this concept can be applied to the socio-economic benefit of the Maghreb countries”.

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Cecilia Vey

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