Ten Mediterranean countries sign an agreement to ensure water security in the face of climate change

Minister Teresa Ribera emphasizes the importance of progress in desalination and water reuse.

Spain and nine other Mediterranean arc countries will attend the World Water Forum in a week, pledging to advance in a water transition in which desalination and reuse ensure access to water in the face of a climate emergency. “Extreme droughts and floods in the Mediterranean region are one of the region’s greatest challenges, particularly in terms of water security,” said Teresa Ribera.

The Minister for Ecological Transition and Vice President of the Government recalled in Valencia that the most recent report of experts from the Mediterranean Expert Group on Climate Change and Environmental Change notes that the thermal warming experienced in this region yields “tremendous data.” In fact, it notes that the thermal warming in this region has been greater than that recorded elsewhere on the planet: 1.5oC since 1880, compared to 1.1oC for the entire Earth’s surface.

This already implies a worsening of desertification, salinization, and a decrease in runoff, all of which will have a huge impact on agriculture. A scenario that necessitates collaboration in the search for shared solutions, which must include implementing the circular economy with reclaimed water.

Over the last two days, the Palau de les Arts has hosted experts and public representatives from ten countries. France, Italy, Malta, and Portugal (north shore) joined Spain, as did Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, and Tunisia (south shore). Observers included members of the European Union, the Union for the Mediterranean, and the Union for the Arab Maghreb.

A positive message

In the same vein as the minister, Valencia’s mayor, Joan Ribó, issued a constructive message. “We still have time to adapt to a situation of changing rainfall patterns and rising temperatures, which will lead to a decrease in water availability and increased demands for the conservation of ecosystems under increasing stress,” he said.

Ribó emphasized measures such as the restoration and protection of hydrological cycles, the reduction of pressures from human activity and productive sectors, the prioritization of drinking water supplies to populations, access to sanitation and wastewater treatment, knowledge transfer, inter-administrative coordination and co-governance, and the promotion and strengthening of regional cooperation.

Ribera was joined at the forum by Mauritania’s Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Mohamed El Hassan Boukhreiss; Algeria’s Minister of Environment, Samia Moualfi; Italy’s Secretary of State for the Ministry of Ecological Transition, Ilaria Fontana; Portugal’s Secretary of State for the Ministry of Environment and Energy Transition, Inês Costa; and Malta’s CEO of the Energy and Water Agency, Manuel Sapiano. According to the Valencian consistory, also present were the director general of Water Resources of Tunisia’s Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources, and Fisheries, Abderrahman Ouasli; the assistant secretary general of the Union for the Mediterranean, lvaro Albacete; and the head of the Arab Maghreb Union’s Food Security Division, Faouzia Chakiri.

According to the local administration, the 5+5 Dialogue was established in October 1990 in Rome as a space for strengthened cooperation between the two Mediterranean shores, and it involved the launch of the Renewed Mediterranean Policy to seek common solutions to shared problems. The meeting in Valencia was called to address the common impacts of climate change on the Mediterranean, as well as the need to take action on the availability of water resources in the coming decades.

 

Article Author Gerluxe

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