Recommendations of the First Palestine International Water Forum
Date: June 25th -28th of June, 2018
Location: Ramallah – State of Palestine
H.E. Eng. Mazen Ghunaim, Head of the Palestinian Water Authority presided the closing ceremony of the First Palestine International Water Forum, concluding 14 sessions including 98 scientific papers. In each of the forum’s session water professionals and experts presented and discussed seven scientific papers, illustrating research conclusions, enriched with experiences and case studies of new progressive tools, technologies and best practices developed to support Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) applied as a tool to ultimately achieve water security.
The forum successfully attracted experts and delegations from 23 countries around the globe, including seven Arab countries (Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Oman, Kuwait, and Jordan) and 16 foreign countries (Germany, Canada, France, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, Britain, the United States, Poland, Greece, Senegal, Switzerland and Nigeria).
The Forum resulted in recommendations summarized as follows:
Enhancing the level of local, regional and international cooperation
Increase cooperation and coordination to create opportunities for Arab and international partnerships to jointly elaborate solutions and overcome current and future challenges to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) specifically the sixth goal concerning water (SDGs).
Enhance the level of local, regional and international cooperation in the fields of scientific research, innovation, and experience exchange; for the development and management of water resources in an integrated manner, focusing on the development of low-cost, high-efficiency technologies in various fields.
Articulate and develop joint cooperation agreements in the field of shared water resources and Transboundary waters based on international water laws and conventions to protect the basic human rights to access fresh water without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
Developing water resources management to achieve water security
Apply and enforce the use of new techniques and best practices to maintain and develop conventional water resources. In addition to adopting techniques and practices that support strategic water storage, especially in arid and water-scarce countries.
Develop and promote the use of non-conventional water resources including the reuse of treated wastewater in agriculture, groundwater recharge and/or discharge to the environment or to the sea. This, in addition to promoting water harvesting through the use of creative techniques.
Adopt advanced techniques including modelling and decision making tools to ensure effective management and protection of water resources from pollution in order to ensure sustainability and equitable distribution.
Apply advanced technology in water resources monitoring and surveillance for data collection; which is essential to enhance the development and best utilization of conventional and non-conventional water resources for different purposes.
Promote the use of modern technologies, including “Nanotechnology” in wastewater treatment plants and the desalination of saline water. This could be achieved through encouraging applied research focusing on the improvement of water treatment processes in order to secure additional water resources at lower costs.
Fostering the concept of treating domestic grey water and reuse for agricultural purposes especially in rural areas.
Adapting to climate change: Risk management and disaster preparedness
There is a growing need to increase awareness and resilience to deal with the risks of climate change, desertification, drought, soil erosion, and natural disaster management.
Encourage and support scientific research and capacity-building on the use of modern technology for climate change simulation including monitoring, adaptation, and drought management.
Decision makers should take the impact of climate change into consideration while developing future water policies.
Exchange of experience and establishment of regional centres to develop studies and propose recommendations to mitigate the impact of climate change in all sectors.
Worldwide, there is a huge necessity to apply the food-energy-water nexus concept in planning and management of the three sectors to attain water and food security and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Policy and decision makers in these three sectors should realize the importance of the nexus for efficient management, while acknowledging the impact of tackling each in isolation of the other.
There should be a focus on increasing analytical studies, strategies and operational plans based on the balance between supply and demand in the three sectors taking into account economic, social and environmental factors and the requirements of achieving sustainable development.
Effective water governance: improving policy makers decisions, community participation and management efficiency
Building an effective institutional framework through the enactment or revision of water laws considering successful international experiences. In addition to improving the sector’s capacity in the field of IWRM.
To overcome the water scarcity challenges globally, all governments, authorities and decision makers in the water sector need to develop legislations, standards, and operations based on IWRM’s best practices and progressive tools that have proven its successfulness in many countries.
Adopt the principles of good governance in water sector management as a basis for applying IWRM approach.
Considering equitable distribution policies of available water to achieve sustainable development and social justice.
Enhance the efficiency of water utilities in areas of asset management, reducing water losses, increasing collection efficiency, and capacity-building. As well as, developing key performance indicators for achieving financial sustainability of water sector.
Applying advances models in Public Private Partnership for the purpose of maximizing the economic value of water as a vital resource while balancing basic water needs.
Build a reliable and integrated database for the water sector to ensure better decision making on all levels, and more efficient information exchange with all relevant partners and stakeholders.
Commit to international specifications and standards in the management of water services for the sustainable development of water utilities and ensure the provision of drinking water to the citizen, while taking into account water scarcity.
Ensuring the importance of capacity-building and the exchange of knowledge and experience to develop national manpower operation in the water and water related sectors.
Support academic programs that focus on water, and enhance the level of cooperation among relevant authorities, universities and national research centres as a platform for interdisciplinary research programs.