Sun, 24 Oct 2021 - 08:12 GMT
Sun, 24 Oct 2021 - 08:12 GMT
CAIRO – 24 October 2021: Egypt is an early example of what the situation may look like in many other countries in the near future if effective cross-border coordination and cooperation lagged behind the ongoing challenges of water scarcity, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said in a speech opening Cairo Water Week Sunday.
Egypt looks forward to a legally binding agreement on GERD without further delay in line with the September Security Council statement to ensure Ethiopia's development goals, a target that Egypt understands and supports, and one that would also ensure limiting the water, economic, social, and environmental damages on Egypt and Sudan, Sisi said.
The Theme of Cairo Water week is “water, population, and global changes.” The Egyptian president said the theme comes as the world witnesses rapid changes affecting water resources whose optimal management is a complex process.
The water crisis is one of the most pressing international challenges due to the steady increase in the world’s population along with a stability of water resources. Moreover, environmental degradation, climate change, and irrational human behavior manifested in unplanned water projects without considering the safety and sustainability of international water resources, all exacerbate water scarcity, Sisi emphasized.
All these factors make water resource an issue that threatens the security and safety of nations, which may impact the stability of entire regions, he said, adding that international collaboration would prevent countries fighting over water resources, where no one would emerge victorious in a reckless struggle over something that should be provided to every human.
Cairo Water Week
Sisi welcomed putting Cairo Water Week on the list of events of the UN Water Action Decade to open a comprehensive discussion between governments, the civil society, academics, women, and youth to advance international efforts on water scarcity and cross-border cooperation consolidating regional stability and common interests.
He noted that Egypt, which strongly believes in multilateral action, has engaged constructively in the UN Water Action Decade 2018-2028 and coordinated with friendly countries to launch the statement of the program and to hold the upcoming UN conference to review the first five years of the decade in March 2023.
He called on participants to embark on deep, transparent, and objective dialogues that tackled all aspects of water issues, including technicalities, politics, the law, the environment, and the economic development.
“I also hope your discussions would allow further development of the concepts and principles related to promoting rational and sustainable management of water resources and urging riparian countries of international rivers to uphold the values of integration, participation, justice, equity, and not to harm the interests of their neighbors.”
Meanwhile, Egypt has developed a strategic plan to manage water resources until 2037 at $50 million, a figure open to be doubled due to the rate of execution. The plan is based on four axes:
1- Improving water quality and establishing dual and tertiary treatment plants.
2- The development of new water resources as Egypt is witnessing growing seawater desalination technology.
3 – Rationalizing water usage and raising the efficiency of the irrigation system as Egypt lines canals and switches to modern irrigation techniques.
4 – Accommodating water projects through legislative and institutional development, as well as raising the awareness of citizens on rationalizing water and reducing pollution.
The per capital share of water in Egypt is 560 cubic meters annually while the UN defined water poverty as 1,000 cubic meters. Egypt is the world’s driest country with the lowest rate of precipitation, rendering it reliant on the Nile River almost exclusively, which in turn comes from beyond the borders, resulting in a difficult water equation.