1st Policy Advisory Committee of Blue Peace in the Middle East

June 6th, 2021


The 1st Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) Meeting of Blue Peace in the Middle East was held online on June 3rd, 2021 under the chairmanship of HRH Prince of Jordan Hassan Bin Talal and in the coordination of SUEN as the Coordination Office of the initiative.


In addition to HRH Hassan Bin Talal, the meeting was attended by PAC and Managing Committee (MC) members of Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, representatives of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) as well as members of the Coordination Office (SUEN).



In the first session of the meeting, SUEN delivered a presentation on the overview of the new Blue Peace in the Middle East structure in place since 2019, the ongoing/planned activities undertaken by SUEN under the project on “agricultural water use efficiency” and the envisaged role of PAC within the new structure. The Inter-Islamic Network on Water Resources Development and Management (INWRDAM) introduced the White Paper on Water Diplomacy in the Middle East prepared in consultation with MC members to present the water and peace perspective in the region.



In the second session of the meeting, PAC members took the floor to intervene and comment on the current project, white paper and future of the initiative. Prof. Dr. Doğan Altınbilek, former DG of Turkish State Hydraulic Works and PAC member of Turkey, indicated that the MENA region is the world's most water-scarce region and growing population, industrial development, urbanization and climate change put even more pressure on natural resources. He stated that water management affects energy politics, environment, public health, nature conservation and food security and for these reasons climate change should be addressed and water management systems should be adapted to new conditions. By emphasizing that agriculture consumes around 85 percent of water in the region, Dr. Altinbilek stated that it was wise that “agricultural water use efficiency” has been chosen as the first thematic area and it will be PAC members’ duty to convey the right messages to leaders and decision makers in their countries.


In his speech in the closing of the meeting, HRH Hassan Bin Talal first echoed the remarks of the former speakers on the significant contributions of Dr. Hasan Zuhuri Sarikaya, who passed away in January 2020 while serving as the first Chair of Managing Committee, to the establishment and evolvement of the initiative. He further expressed that the Covid-19 pandemic shouldn’t derail the efforts towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG 6 on clean water and sanitation. Bin Talal raised his concerns about food security considering the global population growth by also citing refugee influxes in this regard. He underscored the WEFE (Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystems) concept as an umbrella minding social and ecosystem aspects basin-wide.



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