Head of EU Delegation: Egypt is among the world's most water scarce countries
Ambassador Ivan Surkoš, Head of EU Delegation to Egypt Said in Kick off meeting of 1st Cairo Water Week:
Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, Good Evening
- I am particularly pleased to be here today in this launching event in which we are announcing the first ever Cairo Water Week (CWW) in October 2018.
- This event shall aim at promoting water awareness, fostering new thinking around the most pressing water-related challenges and taking actions towards integrated water resources management and conservation.
- In this regard, we would like to mark our full commitment and support to such inspiring initiative and dialogue platform. We are also glad to announce that we have agreed with the ministry of water resources to hold within the Cairo water week the first EU-EGYPT Water Cooperation day, on the 17th of October.
- Furthermore, we will actively support the Cairo Water Week activities by launching in that week a high-level multi-stakeholder platform that will hope will help to develop a more structured policy dialogue on key strategic issues, making use of best practices on implementation across water sector at national and EU levels.
- We are also interested in supporting in the future, in cooperation with the GoE, the continuation of series of events under the EU-EGYPT Water Talks initiative. This should also favour the creation of a conductive environment for the implementation of projects in the sector, along with International Financing Institutions, Arab Financial Institutions, and Private sector.
- Water scarcity is indeed a Global Challenge; this is particularly true in Egypt, which is among the world's most water-scarce countries. This compels us more to draw together a common approach in order to face the challenges posed by water resource management and more precisely, the related modes and frameworks of governance.
- The water sector is indeed, a top priority for the EU, this topic is – and will remain – one of our main pillars of intervention: investing in human capital while ensuring the presence of strong cautious public awareness alongside investment in infrastructure will go hand in hand.
- The EU Egypt cooperation in the water sector stretches over a wide portfolio of programmes covering 12 Egyptian Governorates and total direct Grant funds of nearly 425 Million EUR, leveraging funds of nearly 2.1 billion EUR in the sector. The estimated end users benefiting from these infrastructure projects reach up to 11.5 Million inhabitants. The estimated direct permanent jobs created are 15,000 and 400,000 short term Jobs during constructions.
- Let me also mention that we are now launching a more comprehensive and ambitious instrument called the External Investment Plan, a guarantee mechanism to be added to the existing blending mechanism. The guarantee, by reducing the risk associated with specific operations, will help to enhance the attractiveness of operations and increase the leverage factor, thereby increasing the impact of EU funds.
- · The EU will continue to support sustainable water management in Egypt through policy dialogue and development cooperation, in close partnership with all stakeholders in the sector. Promoting and protecting access to this fundamental resource means also promoting and protecting the rights and the security not only of the present, but also of the future generations.
- There are few resources we need more than water, and yet few that are quite so threatened. Therefore, we have to remember as well the role water has regarding global stability and climate change and our responsibility therein. This particularly true for Egypt, where every day there is an escalating need to ensure better-quality water while meeting the demands of an additional 2 million people every year.
Ladies and Gentlemen, We live in challenging times.
- Our generation has a responsibility – to ensure that our citizens have safe access to water and sanitation services and at the same time that we respond to the climate change challenges that we are faced with, while ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages.
- As cooperation increases resilience and stability by preventing conflicts and consolidating peace, the EU will continue to promote global accession to the UNECE Water Convention, and share with its partners its long experience in the sustainable management of shared water resources. Also, we at the EU are therefore proud to support the 3rd Mediterranean Water Forum and its conclusions falling under the Ministerial Declaration of the UfM Water Ministers.
- The European Union reaffirms its commitment to work with our partner countries, as Egypt, to assist them in fulfilling their obligations regarding access to safe drinking water, sanitation and food security. Water must be available, accessible, safe, acceptable, and affordable for all without discrimination, and the right to safe drinking water and sanitation is a human right, essential for the full enjoyment of life.
- Therefore, we are delighted to reaffirm today our support to the Cairo Water week and its activities, and shall work, hand in hand, with the Egyptian Government in the implementation of its activities and the realisation of its conclusions.
Let me conclude by thanking once again, the Ministry of Water and Irrigation and all parties involved in the preparation and launching of this event.
Thank you very much, I wish you an exciting Event and fruitful discussions.