Global Water Partnership - Mediterranean

21/02/2002

A Mediterranean meeting on water

An interesting regional conference on 'Effective water governance' was held in Athens on 19-20 March 2002. It was organised by the Global Water Partnership - Mediterranean (GWP-Med) and the Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture and Sustainable Development (MIO-ECSDE), as part of the global dialogue on this sensitive issue.

The meeting was opened by addresses from Rodoula Zissi, Deputy Minister of Environment of Greece, and Dr. Mahmoud Abu Zeid, Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources, Egypt, while Costas Themistocleous, Minister of Agriculture, Natural, Resources and Environment, presented the situation on water management in Cyprus. The more than 100 participants from most of the countries of the region debated the crucial issue of water governance in plenary sessions and workshops and their conclusions can be summarised as follows:

  • Between the two extremes of water management by the state and free regulation by the markets, a distributive approach to water governance by the entire society must be found.
  • Water governance must rely mainly on the local level and must not ignore traditional wisdom, structures and practices.
  • Water governance must remain socially sensitive and favour the poor, making available to them water of good quality that they can afford.
  • It must be also be sensitive to the environment and especially ensure the integrity of freshwater ecosystems, which after all are part of the water cycle.

The dialogue on water governance is planned to continue during the rest of the year through subregional and thematic meetings."

-- reported by Mr Thymio Papayannis

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