Middle East Countries Partner With Europe on Water Through EMWIS

mediterranean-sea-map-israel-lebanon-jordan(Countries along the Mediterranean Sea basin)

Water policy people will like to know about this initiative: Most countries in what is known as the Mediterranean Sea basin have agreed to form a combined group to deal with issues dealing with water reserves for the region.

Based on the Mediterranean Water Charter, adopted in Rome in 1992, the EMWIS is a partnership between 10 Mediterranean member countries (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestinian Authority, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey) in partnership with the 27 EU member states.

The purpose is to enable the exchange of information and know-how in a rationalized manner and make this information available to all participating countries.

Working together in three languages, English, French, and Arabic, some of the EMWIS groups activities include the maintaining of data storage and sharing websites, annual committee meetings and conferences to discuss developments in water systems, including desalination and waste water reclamation.

The need to raise awareness between group members to cooperate with each other through sharing information and know-how is also an important aspect

The Group has three main objectives:

1. To provide easy access to information, with special attention to institutions, training, documentation, research development and data administration

2. To develop the sharing of information between member countries

3. To work together on common products and programs of cooperation

Regional cooperation in regards to water resources is part of the declarations made at the Barcelona Declaration of November 1995 which involved a number of important issues such as agriculture, energy, environment, industries, trade, tourism, and of course water resources.

In regards to water resources areas of cooperation among member states include:

• Taking stock of the situation to assess current and future needs
• Identify ways of reinforcing regional cooperation
• Make proposals for rationalizing the planning and management of water
• To contribute towards the creation of new water sources

Due to the scarcity of water supplies in most Mediterranean member countries, more emphasis is being directed towards projects involving desalination of sea water and reclamation of sewage and other waste water.

There is also more emphasis being placed on better management of local sanitation services and the prevention of domestic water pollution.

The EMWIS works in close cooperation with EU organizations such as the European Union Water Initiative and the European Environment Agency.


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