Strengthening Capacities and Awareness on Communication and Cooperation linked to Water Security Challenges and Water Goals within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
The Workshop – which pulled together over 30 experts and water practitioners from relevant national water institutions – revolved around the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – in particular SDG6 on Water and Sanitation, Water Security and the Water, Energy and Food Nexus (WEF).
The Workshop was designed to accommodate a strong participatory approach; it used a dynamic methodology that interwove frontal lectures, group discussions and working group sessions to foster dialogue and cooperation among diverse actors who operate at different governance levels.
A stage-setting presentation introduced the centrality of water within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and provided crucial information about the sustainable development process post-2015. Specific attention was granted to SDG 6 (Ensure access to water and sanitation for all) and its cross-cutting nature, along with its inclusiveness. This session also allowed participants to better understand the collaborative nature of the SDGs and the importance of multi-level, inter-institutional and inter-institutional stakeholder engagement and dialogue to achieve the set SDG targets. The group discussion underscored the importance for Egypt to connect SDG 6 as much as possible to the other, interlinked SDGs, especially SDG 13 (Climate Action), SDG 11 (Sustainable cities and communities) and SDG 2 (Zero Hunger) in order to ensure the country’s economic, social and environmental sustainability up to 2030 and beyond.
The second session provided an overview of how Egypt, and other countries, are approaching the challenge of implementing, monitoring and reporting progress on water-related development and SDG 6 targets, in the context of promoting a transformational approach to SDG implementation that accelerates collaborative knowledge creation and collective action and shifts the political-economic-environmental vision of our future. A guest lecture by Dr. Pasquale Steduto from the FAO Regional Office for the Near East and North Africa introduced the aim and progress of the FAO-led Regional Project Implementing the 2030 Agenda for Water Efficiency/Productivity and Water Sustainability in NENA Countries. This project, as WATER SUM , is supported by the Swedish Government, and several opportunities to synergise actions and efforts across the initiatives were broached during the group discussion.
Participants then split into three small working groups to create a moment of dialogue between diverse stakeholders and to identify challenges and propose solutions and ideas to achieve the goals and targets set in SDG 6 as well as to fulfil the participatory approach advocated by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The leitmotiv of transformational approach through SDG implementation, explored in Session II, underpinned the group exercise. Outcomes and recommendations from the group exercise include:
- Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of the different actors who can contribute to achieving SDG6 targets.
- Support and synergize both large-scale and small-scale initiatives and projects at national and local levels that can contribute to addressing the interlinked challenges connected to water and climate change.
- Map available human and financial resources that can be exploited for SDG6 implementation, and plan accordingly based on this availability. The establishment of information centers and/or SDG units within the different Ministries could support and facilitate carrying out capacity building and awareness raising actions as well as updating the collecting data and sharing it among the other stakeholders.
- Design clear programmes, projects and initiatives to attract resources from national and/or international funding mechanisms. Explore public-private partnership opportunities that entail win-win solutions.
- Promote tailored awareness raising actions that target the general public as well as specific target groups (youth, water user associations, farmers) to empower them to act as agents of change and further the dissemination of key messages about SDG6. Extensive use of social media and audio-visual tools can further support spreading useful and important data and information about SDGs towards the wider public.
- Increasing population, lack of funding for water-related projects and the growing impact of climate change on stressed water resources were recognised as pressing challenges that Egypt needs to confront head-on to ensure a sustainable future for its citizens.
Day 2 of the workshop focused on Water Security and the Water, Energy and Food Nexus (WEF).
Session IV presented an integrated approach to water security that contributes to efforts to combat water scarcity, reduce the threat of conflict, halt environmental degradation and increase human wellbeing. Moreover, it underscored how water security is a keystone element in achieving the 2030 Agenda – not just for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 that focuses primarily on water security, but a number of targets embedded within other SDGs related to health, cities, consumption, marine resources, and terrestrial ecosystems.
The next session focused on the dynamics of the water, energy and food sectors in Egypt as drivers to develop effective strategies for the sustainable use of these resources. A lecture outlined the progressive integration between the National Water Resources Plan (NWRP 2017-2037), which will support the development and management of water resources in Egypt, and the nexus approach, whose application across Egypt’s water, energy and agriculture sectors can lead to significant opportunities for increasing overall resource-use efficiency and achieving more with less water. A working group session then explored further these topics.
A facilitated discussion introduced the topic of access to environmental information as a means to help achieving 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, SDGs and Water Security. Relevant international instruments and principles, such as the Aarhus Convention and SDG 16.10 (ensure public access to information), were presented and discussed.
During the closing session, the WATER SUM Team showcased the WATER POrT E-Practicum – a data-base-like online tool, including a collection of good practices on water scarcity and drought management that can offer valuable lessons and prospects of repeatability.