Members of Parliament from the Middle East, including Israel and Palestine, have declared that access to clean water should not be politicized and should not be used as a weapon in regional conflicts.
In a second roundtable, organized by the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s (IPU) Committee on Middle East Questions, MPs from Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Palestine and the United Arab Emirates have also agreed concrete measures to tackle the water crisis that threatens to further aggravate regional instability.
The areas earmarked for action include: mapping those communities most threatened by water scarcity, establishing a regional parliamentary network on water governance and supporting MPs’ on shaping equitable and sustainable legislation on water management.
The roundtable meeting, which took place from 6-7 July, was one of a series of events intended to bring together MPs from the Middle East with water management experts in a bid to help meet the challenge set out in Sustainable Development Goal 6, which calls for viable management of water and sanitation.
Experts from the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the development organization WaterLex and Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East (SESAME), a Jordan-based group that brings scientists together from across the region, worked with the MPs to identify technological solutions to water safety, availability, accessibility and affordability.
“The Middle East is one of the most water-stressed regions in the world. This is a major contributing factor to the conflicts here. Our aim is to use our joint expertise in technology and policymaking to help relieve a major source of tension and, hopefully, create an environment where peace-building can move ahead,” said Committee President Denise Pascal Allende.
The outcomes of this second round table will be presented to IPU Members at its October Assembly with clear steps for on-the-ground implementation.
“This round table is the latest effort by IPU to build trust and transform elements that can potentially cause or exacerbate conflict into reasons for co-existence,” said IPU Secretary General Martin Chungong. “The constructive non-political discussions between MPs and experts that occurred throughout this meeting show that regional solutions can be found to regional problems; and, most importantly, that, by uniting different experts and communities through the neutral lens of science, peace can move from an aspiration to concrete reality.”
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