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A closer look at Egypt's 1st Cairo Water Week

Sat, Jul. 21, 2018
CAIRO - 21 July 2018: To gain a wealth of experience for tackling water-related challenges, Egypt will hold its first annual Cairo Water Week (CWW) from October 14 to October 18.

Egypt suffers from water scarcity due to its increasing population of 104 million people. The country suffers from a water deficit of 21 billion cubic meters annually and imports a total of 34 billion cubic meters of water annually in food products to achieve food security, the minister stated in June during the Tajikistan-held high-level International Conference on International Decade for Action “Water For Sustainable Development 2018-2020”. Also, 15 percent of arable lands are salted due to rare rains in the Nile Basin countries as a result of climate change, he added.

The CWW, which comes under the auspices of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, reflects the country’s keenness to face water-related challenges, particularly water scarcity, said Abdel Atti in a meeting with event coordinators at the ministry on Saturday.

The CWW is being held in cooperation with the European Union and the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) to tackle water issues, amid climate change that impacts the world’s freshwater. In March 2016, the United Nations Environment Program warned that 50 percent of the world’s population would face “severe water stress” by 2030.

On the sideline of the conference, a number of forums and panels will be held for presenting experts, intellectuals and scientists’ knowledge and experience to find solutions to the current issues locally, regionally, and internationally, said Abdel Atti.

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Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Moahmed Abdel Atti holds a meeting with the ministry's officials to discuss the Cairo Water Week agenda - Press photo


The conference will be attended by water experts from 52 countries and water ministers from Islamic states, the minister added.

Representatives from the Delta Coalition, which includes 130 states, and the African Youth Forum will also take part at the event, said Abdel Atti, noting that the ministry has contracted with Egypt Air to build an air bridge for bringing the international officials and journalists, who have been invited to cover the CWW, to Cairo.

A committee assigned by the council will choose a certain number of academic researches to be presented at the conference. A total of 106 water-related researches were submitted by a number of universities and institutions to the ministry, said head of the National Council for Water, which is affiliated to the ministry.

Coordination is being conducted with other concerned ministries, including the Ministry of Youth to organize the first annual water forum for children, who are between the ages of 10-15, as a way to increase public awareness of water rationalization among children, he continued. Coincidentally, cultural competitions and workshops of puppets, drawings, and poetry on water-related topics will be held on the sidelines of the events. At the end of the conference, the winners will be announced.

Head of Planning Department at the ministry Eman Sayed said during Saturday’s meeting that the ministry also coordinated with participating panelists to discuss the CWW’s five themes: water scarcity, health, sanitation challenges and opportunities; science, technology and innovation; climate change and environment; transboundary water governance and benefit sharing; and water management for sustainable development.

Moreover, an exhibition will be held on the sidelines on the conference to provide local and international participants with a good platform for their manufactured products for water field and sewage, said head of Statistics and Marketing Department for the CWW Amr al-Qady.

“A special panel of Alexandria-Lake Victoria project will be held on the sidelines of the Cairo Water Week due to convene in October under the auspices of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi,” the ministry said previously in a statement. On June 1, Egypt submitted to the member states of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) its preliminary report on a project that would create a maritime navigation line from Lake Victoria to the Mediterranean Sea through the Nile (A.K.A VICMED).

In a round-table held by Egypt Today last week with Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel Atti and a group of the ministry’s officials, Sayed said that CWW was an initiative similar to the Stockholm-held World Water Week to discuss other countries’ experiences in dealing with water problems.
 
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