Suhail bin Mohammed Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, on September 21 inaugurated the 5th Arab Water Forum (AWF5) at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Dubai. There’s more than 600 delegates and participants from 22 Arab countries. Minister pledged their strong commitment to water security for peace and sustainable development in the Arab World.
The three-day conference focused on water scarcity in the Arab World, depleting water resources and ways and means to generate water from sustainable sources, in line with the conference theme – “Arab Water Security for Peace and Sustainable Development”, WAM reports.
Al Mazrouei was accompanied by Prof. Mahmoud Abu Zeid, President of the Arab Water Council; Mohamed Adel Atty, Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation (MWRI), Egypt; Serigne Mbaye Thiam, Minister of Water and Sanitation, Senegal; Loïc Fauchon, President of the World Water Council (WWC) and Dr. Ahmed Abul Gheit, Secretary-General, League of Arab States (LAS).
Held under the patronage of the UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure and supported by the League of Arab States (LAS) and the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation of Egypt (MWRI), in cooperation with national, regional and international partners, the triennial conference hosted 25 Government Ministers and Undersecretaries representing 22 Arab countries, high government officials, businessmen, public and private sector organization where more than 40 experts are discussing water scarcity and sustainable development across the region.
At the Forum, the list of the dignitaries included: Mohamed Adel Atty, Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation (MWRI), Egypt; Eng. Wael Bin Nasser Al Mubarak, Minister of Electricity and Water Affairs, Bahrain; Dr. Mishaan Al-Otaibi, Minister of Electricity, Water and Renewable Energy, Kuwait; Loic Fauchon, President, World Water Council (WWC); Prof. Mahmoud Abu-Zeid, President, Arab Water Council (AWC); Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Secretary-General League of Arab States (LAS), among other senior officials.
“The Arab Water Forum is a leading platform for cooperation and collaboration to support the water sector and strengthen efforts to address challenges related to water scarcity. Water is an essential pillar of sustainability, which makes it a strategic priority of the UAE where three desalination plants with a combined production capacity of 420 million imperial gallons of water per day (MIGD) will be commissioned by 2023,” the UAE Minister of Energy said in his keynote speech.
“The forum constitutes a leading platform for cooperation and collaboration to support the water sector, and to accelerate efforts to address the challenges related to it, as it is of vital importance to sustainable development, and a factor central to achieving the social, economic and environmental goals and objectives associated with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals,” he further stated.
He pointed out that this forum is gaining a special status for the UAE, as it coincides with the announcement of the ‘Projects of the 50’ package and ahead of the launch of Expo 2020 Dubai, starting next month.
Al Mazrouei added, “The water-related challenges will become tougher in light of the growing demand for water and the scarcity of resources, especially in our Arab region in the coming years. The worsening global climate change and the increase in future demand for water have forced us to undertake more initiatives, dialogue, reflection and joint work to build future capabilities to meet these challenges and overcome them. From the Arab Water Forum platform, we reaffirm our strong commitment to continue our efforts to enhance regional and international cooperation in water-related activities and programs.”
Pointing out that the UAE has made qualitative contributions in the field of international cooperation and providing development assistance related to water and sanitation to countries in need, the Minister said, the UAE has disbursed nearly AED3 billion in aid from 2015 to 2020.
Al Mazrouei stressed the UAE identified the future needs of the sector through Preparing the UAE Water Security Strategy 2036, which aims to ensure the sustainability and continuity of access to water in both natural and emergency conditions and to move this vital sector towards a prosperous future that meets the needs and aspirations.
“Based on the vision of the UAE’s wise leadership towards achieving sustainable development, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, has adopted the National Programme for Demand-Side Management for Energy and Water, with the aim of rationalising consumption to ensure sustainable consumption of energy, water, mining and infrastructure for the happiness and prosperity of society, with a special focus on facing the challenges by adopting proactive policies and setting appropriate legislation, and building strategic partnerships, full cooperation and coordination with the relevant authorities,” he said.
He announced that the UAE is developing three new water desalination projects in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Umm Al Qaiwain, with a combined capacity of 420 million imperial gallons of water per day to support the water’s sustainability sector in the UAE. These will raise the total installed capacity to 1,590 million imperial gallons per day when completed by 2023.
It is noteworthy that the newly released United Nations 2020 report on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development indicates that the UAE has achieved 100% in providing safe drinking water, sanitation and sanitation services. The country also achieved a score of 79% in the field of integrated water resources management.
More than 50 exhibitors will participate in the three-day conference, showcasing the latest technologies and innovations in the field of water, water desalination, as well as the production of pure drinking water, in addition to utility companies, municipalities, and suppliers with the aim of spreading awareness about the importance of this sector.