Working towards climate resilient Municipalities in the MENA Region
Applying the Water, Energy and Food security Nexus for integrated and sustainable solutions at community level
The MENA Region Initiative as a model of the Nexus Approach and Renewable Energy Technologies
Population growth, climate change and resources scarcity: these are only some of the challenges faced by urban areas in the MENA region. Many of these challenges are related to the water, energy and food sectors. A holistic understanding of the interactions between and the management of these resources is therefore key for increased urban resilience to the effects of climate change.
The MINARET II initiative follows a three-step approach:
Conducting baseline emission studies to identify the specific needs of each municipality. The baseline study is carried out involving multi-stakeholders, coming from all relevant sectors, including water, energy, food, environment, civil society, education and research, policy and the private sector. The Minaret Initiatives follow the Covenant of Mayors (CoM) approach.
Supporting each municipality to become members of the CoM does not only allow municipalities to join an international network of local authorities for knowledge exchange, but it also provides guidance and a standardized methodology to develop cross-sectoral Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plans (SECAPs). In this process, municipalities identify projects running along the water, energy and food security Nexus. RSS supports this process by offering WEF Nexus specific trainings.
Supporting municipalities to mobilize funding for implementation of the SECAPs through the technical support in finance readiness and the development of project proposals and an accompanying business plan for one SECAP Action. A final regional dialogue event with relevant funding agencies allows municipalities to present their project ideas and raise awareness of the challenges and opportunities for fund mobilization at local governance level. Projects range from establishing solar-powered central markets to generating renewable energy for wastewater treatment plants including reuse options.
The Nexus Regional Dialogue in the MENA Region
The Water-Energy-Food Nexus
Together with national and regional partners, the Nexus Regional Dialogue in the MENA region, co-funded by the European Union (EU) and the German Ministry for Development and Cooperation (BMZ), promotes the Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus approach in the region to address these interdependencies and ensure the sustainable management of water, energy and food resources.
The WEF Nexus approach focuses on negotiating trade-offs, inspiring compromises and uncovering synergies to ensure water, energy and food security in the long run. It further promotes policy coherence and cooperation between all three sectors at the regional, local and global level. Since 2016, the Nexus Regional Dialogue Programme in the Middle East and North Africa Region has been working across the region to institutionalise the Water Energy Foof Nexus in public policy and planning in addition to demonstration projects that show the value-added of the WEF Nexus, capacity building activities and the identification of financing opportunities.
Water Scarcity and Food Demand in the MENA Region
The Middle East and North Africa Region (MENA) region is water-scarce, food-deficient, energy intensive and highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Although the region holds 43% of the world’s oil reserves and an immense potential for renewable energy, 35 million people still lack electricity. The region accounts for just 1.4% of the global freshwater resources. Ongoing conflicts and poor security plague the region and undermine the sustainable management of natural resources, further underlining the need for WEF Nexus solutions.
Fulfilling MENA’s high resource demands requires an understanding of the synergies and conflicts that connect water, energy and food with ecosystems, as well as the introduction of holistic approaches to secure them, protect the environment, ensure social stability and reduce social inequality.