The World Bank – (Archive)
CAIRO – 14 May 2017: The League of Arab States’ conference on the Sustainable Development Goals opened in Cairo on Sunday, a World Bank (WB) statement reported.
The conference firmly focused on addressing the importance of water management for sustainable development and stability in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
The WB vice president for MENA, Hafez Ghanem, and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) director-general and regional representative for the Near East and North Africa, Abedssalam Ould Ahmed, took part at launching the Arab Sustainable Development Week.
The aim behind the event was to raise awareness regarding the issue and to discuss the dynamics between water insecurity and fragility, conflict, and violence, according to the WB’s press release.
“The FAO, the League of Arab States and the World Bank all share the goal of promoting sustainable, effective and equitable water management in fragile situations – a goal which we believe can contribute to peace, prosperity and stability,” Ghanem said.
He also advised on taking action on water issues, warning about the political and economic implications of ignoring the matter.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by the League of Arab States and the World Bank Group in March 2017 to shed light on leveraging the comparative advantages of each organization as a regional approach to achieving sustainable development goals.
According to the statement, the MoU was celebrated during a ceremony on May 14 in the presence of Arab League’s Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit.
The WB recommends a regional approach to water security as the region’s water scarcity may have a global impact and their effective long-term management depends dramatically on increased cooperation between countries.
On a related note, Ould Ahmed, mentioned the challenges that threaten food security in the Arab region; such challenges and risks arise as a result of conflicts, water scarcity and climate change.
In response to the aforementioned alarming challenges, the FAO launched the Regional Initiative on Water Scarcity in 2014. The initiative aimed at supporting member countries in identifying strategies, policies and practices that promote sustainable solutions on water shortage in the region.
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