REC hosts Regional Kickoff Conference
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- List of Participants
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(RAR archive, 6.5 mB)
The WATER SUM Regional Kickoff Conference, which took place on June 12, 2015, at the REC's head office in Szentendre, Hungary, marked the closing of the project's inception phase while making way for the commencement of its implementation phase. Some 40 representatives, decision makers and professionals from Jordan, Tunisia and key international organisations active in water management in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region attended the event. The conference took place back to back with the project Steering Committee meeting, at which the WATER SUM team and the Steering Committee members jointly pored over the outcomes of the inception phase and honed the details of the planned activities that will constitute the backbone of the project’s implementation stage.
Marta Szigeti Bonifert, the REC's executive director, opened the conference by outlining REC efforts to translate experiences and lessons learned to the MENA region, while Anders Jagerskog, counsellor for regional development cooperation and water resources at the Embassy of Sweden in Amman (Jordan), announced the continuation of Swedish support to the MENA region. Radoje Lausevic, deputy executive director of the REC, presented an inception report that included comprehensive support documents, after which participants were invited to take an active part in discussions.
The discussions tracked the project's overall objective to strengthen the capacities of participating countries to manage water resources in a more efficient manner, mainly through the application of integrated water resources management approaches and enhanced water security management in the MENA region.
Ridha Gabouj, general director at the Ministry of Agriculture of Tunisia, and Ali Hayajneh, head of strategic planning at the Ministry of Water and Irrigation of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, supported current REC activities in the MENA region involving the translation of experiences and knowledge from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), particularly in the area of integrated water resources management and water and security.
The regional conference closed with a study visit to the Heviz thermal lake (a natural water treasure and UNESCO World Heritage Site nominee) as well as to the Kis-Balaton water protection system. The focus of the visit was on water resources protection programmes and strategy in Hungary.