MENA Water World Café 2015

Tuesday 25 August | 14.00-15.30 | Room: FH 202
© Jovanka Ignjatovic

Enjoy Middle East and North Africa tea or coffee and discuss Water and governance (group 1), Water and climate change (group 2) or Water and Security (group 3) issues of that region. Use unique opportunity and meet leaders representing central and local governments, regional bodies, NGOs, academia and businesses from Tunisia, Morocco and Jordan. Participate in our event which will use modified World Café Method ( During brief plenary session we’ll divide all participant in above mentioned 3 working groups and outline discussion topics. Each group will receive a specific issue paper, will have facilitator and background document. Working groups will be rotating on in intervals of 25-20-15 minutes while facilitators will stay at the respective area during the entire process and later support outcome's summary. We expect to discuss in pleasant atmosphere how MENA countries can contribute to meet new water related SDGs, how to foster dialogue and build trust between decision makers, how to cope with water scarcity, or how to encourage local communities to work together. Apply for your space and become also a part of growing expert network on REC’s Sida funded project “Sustainable Use of Transboundary Water Resources and Water Security Management (WATER SUM)”.




14:00 - 14:15       Opening, objectives, expected outcomes and ways of work

Ms. Marta Szigeti Bonifert, Executive Director, REC

Mr. Radoje Lausevic, Deputy Executive Director for Environmental Programmes, REC

14:15 – 15:15      World Café “MENA Water” with facilitators in three groups / groups will be rotating in intervals of 25-20-15 minutes/:

  1. Group - Water governance

Facilitator: Mr. Ventzislav Vassilev, Water Management and Biology Expert, REC

Objective 1: Define water governance gaps in MENA region
Outcomes: (1) How MENA countries can contribute to meet new water related SDGs, (2) Needs for capacity building, (3) How to foster dialogue and build trust between decision makers

  1. Group - Water and climate change

Facilitator: Prof. Fayez Abdulla, Jordan University of Science & Technology

Objective 2: Discuss water and climate change in MENA region Outcomes: (1) How to cope with water scarcity, (2) Water & food & energy nexus characteristics in MENA, (3) Needs for capacity building to combat water shortages

  1. Group - Water and Security

Facilitator: Prof. Dr Slobodan Milutinovic, REC Associate Expert

Objective 3: Discuss water and security in MENA region
Outcomes: (1) How to encourage local communities to work together, (2) How to promote local environmental governance, (3) What local communities can do to improve water security.

15:15 – 15:30    Wrap-up and closing remarks by Mr. Radoje Lausevic, Deputy Executive Director for Environmental Programmes, REC


More than 40 participants, including water professionals, practitioners and academics participated in the three thematic working groups (TWGs) during the MENA Water World Café.

The summaries of the discussion conclusions of each group are found below. More detailed conclusions can be found on the WATER SUM project website at

Summary TWG on Water Governance (Group 1)
Integration of water-related SDG’s and targets into national water policies and horizontally in other sector plans is highly relevant to the MENA region and yet a forthcoming and challenging process. Water, food and energy nexus in the MENA region is characterised by energy-intensive water sector due to high dependence on scarce water resources. The region would benefit from global energy de-carbonisation. Fostering water governance requires a need for improved cooperation between water authorities and other stakeholders, and increased dialogue and trust between decision makers. Capacity building programs should cover a broad range of target groups placing priority on authorities, directly responsible for policy-making and water management, as well as on the water users and their associations.

Summary TWG on Climate Change (Group 2)
Institutional and technical capacity building to enhance common understanding and knowledge increasing on assessment of climate change impacts, risks, vulnerabilities and adaptation planning and practices is highly needed for the MENA region. Methodologies and procedures are needed to facilitate communication, dialogue and cooperation among different stakeholders, including ministries, regional governments, universities/institutes, and local communities within the country to develop and enhance the adaptive capacity and measures. Adoption of integrated flood and drought risk management, including an appropriate mix of structural and non-structural approaches, is essential for the region to reduce the impact of climate change. There is a need for a preparedness approach and implementation of monitoring and early warning systems for risks from water-related extreme events.

Summary TWG on Water Security (Group 3)
Importance of no-regret measures (aquifer recharge management was mentioned as a good example among other measures), and public participation and wider involvement of public in the water related decision making. Water security planning at multiple levels with breakdown of concrete actions to community level encourages local self-government in MENA countries. Water data availability and sharing should be improved in most MENA countries revealing a need for institutional coherence, including horizontal and especially vertical coordination in planning and implementation of water security measures. Capacity building at the community level should be significantly improved targeting self-organizing entities and considering traditional knowledge. Capacity building and water security planning should be used as a mechanism for fostering dialogue and building trust between decision makers at different levels of government. Transparent valuation of water resources (including policies of water pricing) is needed. A natural capital approach in water planning issues and monitoring of water quality at the national level are of crucial importance for further water security in the MENA countries.