UFM: Ngo, Rio+20 could herald common deal on water

Minister meeting expected in 2012 or 2013 to launch plan

24 May, 18:01

(ANSAmed) - BRUSSELS, MAY 24 - The forthcoming UN conference on sustainable development, known as Rio+20, could "unfreeze" a common strategy among countries in the Union for the Mediterranean (UFM), which has been stalled since April 2010, according to Michael Scoullos, the chair of the non-profit network Global Water Partnership in the Mediterranean area, who has been speaking in Brussels during "Green Week".

"Water strategy is agreed with all countries and is the basis for a series of investments in the region," explained Scoullos, who added that the failure of 2010 was not caused only by mutual vetos between Israelis and Palestinians, but also by "other countries, who do not want multilateral agreements".

The Global Water Partnership believes that the priority for the Mediterranean is "further to promote the multilateral instruments that we have: the UFM and the Barcelona Convention," Scoullos continued. "It is not only a question of having greater resources, but of political commitment".

In the corridors of power, meanwhile, the UFM's ministerial meeting on water is expected to take place in 2012 and 2013, with the launch of an action and investment plan due to co-incide with the event. Despite the political instability in the region, collaboration with civil society, local authorities and industries "is continuing even in countries affected by the Arab Spring," Scoullos remarked.

There are a number of action areas for the future, including investment for water purification, desalination plants, the fight against pollution, waste management, areas to dump waste from ships, shared monitoring, information and the raising of awareness. "All of these things can be put forward time and again, but we need to go beyond these suggestions and this rhetoric and implement them," Scoullos insisted. (ANSAmed).

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