“Water security and climate change in the Western Mediterranean:
Fostering knowledge for practice“: the third ministerial conference of the Western Mediterranean Forum (Dialogue 5+5) on Water was convened under this title in Valencia on 10 March 2022.
The Vice President and Minister for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge of Spain, Teresa Ribera, chaired the ministerial meeting in Valencia, held under the 2021-2022 Spanish co-presidency of the Dialogue 5+5. the forum brought together ministers and other high-level authorities from countries of the northern and southern shores of the Mediterranean basin to strengthen cooperation on water security, in face of serious challenges posed by climate change in the region.
The meeting was attended by the Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation of Mauritania, Mohamed El Hassan Boukhreiss; the Algerian Minister for the Environment, Samia Moualfi; the Secretary of State of the Ministry for the Ecological Transition of Italy, Ilaria Fontana; the Secretary of State of the Ministry of Environment and Energy Transition of Portugal, Inês Costa; the CEO of The Energy and Water Agency of Malta, Manuel Sapiano; the General Director of Water Resources of the Tunisian Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries, Abderrahman Ouasli; the Deputy Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean, Álvaro Albacete; and the head of the Food Security Division of the Arab Maghreb Union, Faouzia Chakiri, among others.
During the conference, the critical importance of water security preservation under the recent challenges posed by climate change in the Western Mediterranean region was stressed, especially considering the cross-cutting role that water plays in food security, health, energy transition, socio-economic development, and the preservation of water ecosystems and their biodiversity. As pointed out by the Spanish Vice President, “articulating coordinated responses is essential to ensure a more sustainable, safe, and resilient future. Cooperating makes us less vulnerable”.
The meeting ended with the adoption of the Valencia Declaration. Ministers and representatives of member countries of the 5+5 Dialogue committed to increasing water security by implementing Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) at all levels, especially by fully integrating non-conventional resources and adapting water management to the challenges of climate change. They stressed the need to develop a Western Mediterranean Training and Capacity Building Programme on Water, as part of the Action Plan of the 5+5 Water Strategy for the Western Mediterranean (WSWM). The Technical Working Group of experts coordinated by the Mediterranean Network of Basin Organisations (MENBO) as Secretariat, was entrusted with the task of developing and implementing this programme with the aim to foster knowledge and knowledge sharing for the purpose of finding effective and practicable solutions to the challenges posed to water security in the Western Mediterranean.
Spanish Vice President Ribera concluded that “today it is more necessary than ever to continue working, through regional cooperation, to reinforce the development of capacities and the transfer of knowledge that ensure water security and adaptation to the impacts of climate change in the Western Mediterranean“.