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The League of Arab States, Arab Water Council, UNDP, UNEP-FI, UN-HABITAT, UNISDR, and WFP, convened a session at the 2nd SDW, at Conrad Cairo Hotel, on November 20th, to elaborate the new joint programme that supports climate action at regional and country levels through regional SDG Climate Facility project being initiated by LAS, AWC and partner UN agencies to build the resilience of climate vulnerable communities across the region.

The Session was convened in a Davos style discussion between the moderator Dr. Wadid Erian and panelists on ways in which climate change is reshaping prospects for achieving SDGs on poverty eradication, food security, water access, and peace.
A consultation meeting of the Arab Water Council was held in Cairo Marriott Hotel, Egypt, on the 18th of November 2018. It was held on occasion of the 14th Board of Governors meeting to discuss the triennial work plan of the Council for the next term (2019-2021). The aim of the meeting was to highlight coordination with the development partners and donors, meanwhile enhancing the cooperation and integration with all stakeholders to achieve the sustainable development goals in the Arab region.
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The Arab Water Council announced the launching of an expanded campaign at the Arab regional scale to raise awareness on the issue of water security, training and raising the capacities of young people on how to deal with the negative impacts of climate change on natural resources, especially water in Arab and African countries.

Dr. Mahmoud Abu-Zeid, President of the Arab Water Council, demonstrated that the campaign was a result of the youth serious concern about the water security issue, conveyed throughout the World Youth Forum held in Sharm El Sheikh in November 2018. It was also abstracted from an important call made by President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi during the Forum’s second session which was to launch a propaganda campaign at political and media levels to be put on the agenda of the international community in order to complete the economic development plans for Egypt and the countries of the world.

Dr. Abu-Zeid added that the campaign comes in line with the keenness of the Arab Water Council to train young people in all areas related to water affairs and sustainable development plans and to create a generation capable of leadership, and to develop a trend of thinkers, innovators and researchers.

Dr. Mahmoud Abu-Zeid also added that the campaign is being implemented with the partners of the Arab Water Council from various research centers, research institutes and international and regional organizations and that it focuses on the impact of water on the comprehensive development of peoples, the challenges faced by the water issue and the role of every citizen in this vital issue.

Dr. Hussein El-Atfy, Secretary General of the Arab Water Council and former Minister of Water Resources of the Egypt Irrigation stated that the training/rehabilitation courses and raising the capacities of young people are among the pillars and objectives of the Arab Water Council, pointing out to the organization of many courses for the youth as an advanced step towards serious scientific discussion on opportunities for cooperation and investment in water, to address common challenges and threats posed by climate change to water security.

In addition, the campaign seeks to develop the media discourse to ensure its success in raising public awareness about the dangers of water misuse and waste in non-useful aspects. It also aims at updating the database and information of all those dealing with water issues in order to raise the awareness of their communities by providing accurate and responsible reports on the importance of cross-border cooperation, especially as it is expected that the population of the Nile Basin countries will increase to one billion by 2050, putting great pressure on the water available now. We must also deal seriously with the negative impacts of the phenomenon of "climate change" in various countries of the world in general and in Africa in particular.

He pointed out that climate change has caused negative impacts on the Nile basin that would affect the daily lives of peoples, warning that half of the Nile Basin countries are threatened to will live below the water poverty threshold by 2030.

The Council has announced an international award for researchers and innovators in the water and related issues in Arab and Islamic countries.

Dr. Mahmoud Abu- Zeid, President of the Arab Water Council, indicated that the award aims at encouraging innovation, creativity and research in the field of water security, water use efficiency and productivity, water development and use of new technologies to face challenges of water scarcity and impacts of climate change in the Islamic world.

Dr. Abu- Zeid also stated that the value of the award will be determined at the next General Assembly of the Arab Water Council and will be awarded biannually. The topics and contestants’ conditions of the Award will be determined according to the priorities and interests of Islamic countries.

As part of fostering further cooperation between The Arab Water council (AWC) and the Institute of Water Management (IWMI). A Memorandum of Understanding was recently signed by AWC president, H.E. Dr. Mahmoud Abu Zeid and IWMI Director General, Ms. Claudia Sadoff.

The signing ceremony of the MoU between AWC and IWMI took place on the 14th of October 2018 at AWC premises in Cairo, among the presence of AWC staff and the press.

During the ceremony speeches were delivered by H.E. Dr. Mahmoud Abu Zeid, AWC President; Ms. Claudia Sadoff, IWMI Director General; Dr. Amgad Elmahdi,IWMI Head of MENA Region; Prof. Walid A. Abderrahman, AWC Vice President; Dr Mohamed Raouf A. DARWISH, AWC Treasurer; Dr. Hussein El-Atfy, AWC Secretary General; Prof. Khaled Abu Zaid, AWC Technical Director and Eng. Heba Al-Hariry, AWC Deputy Technical Director.

With the signing of this MoU, AWC and IWMI launch a regular, wide-ranging cooperation in various water related areas including Water Resources Management, Water productivity, and Water accounting...etc.

Under this MOU, a research agenda and policy scenarios of interest will be conducted to assess the development of necessary evidence-based research and enhance the transfer of technologies towards achieving the SDGs in the MENA region. Additionally, partnerships will be established for co-organizing conferences, training workshops and capacity development activities in water and agriculture-related topics to enhance knowledge dissemination and awareness raising.

The Arab Water Council becomes part of the technical team for the preparation of LAS regional report on “Sustainable Development in Conflict-Affected Settings”

The Arab Water Council was honored to attend LAS preliminary meeting and to become part of their technical team for the development of LAS regional report on “Sustainable Development in Conflict-Affected Settings”. The meeting was held at LAS headquarter on September 20, 2018 and was attended by H.E. Dr. Mahmoud Abu-Zeid - President of the Arab Water Council, H.E Dr. Hussein El-Atfy - Secretary General of the Arab Water Council, Eng. Heba Al-Hariry - Deputy Technical Director and a group of experts and representatives from different regional and international organizations (World Food Programme, Arab Women Organization, International Organization for Migration, UN-Habitat and others...).

The report –to be prepared by LAS sustainable development committee- will focus on the essential role that sustainable development plays in bringing peace and social stability and in achieving future wellbeing in the Arab region.

In light of the widespread conflict and terrorism in the region and fleeing of refugees, peace and stability have become a break point for achieving progress. According to the UN final report for the Millennium Development Goals “Conflict Remains the Greatest Threat to Human Development”. This points out the importance of addressing vulnerability and conflict, particularly knowing that 50% of fragile countries comprise 43% of the population living in extreme poverty, and that by 2030, this number would rise to 62%.

The proposed report will include several sections that conceptualize fragility, conflict and instability and their interrelation with the degradation of natural resources and climate change impacts.

During the report preparation process, a participatory approach will be followed through roundtable discussions and policy dialogues to ensure exchange of views among all stakeholders in selected countries and neighbouring host countries, hoping to create new partnerships in the Arab region to promote peace and development.