Policy makers are increasingly focused on the water scarcity dilemma and the water-energy-food (WEF) nexus is gaining momentum. Indeed, the Arab region and particularly the Gulf countries are facing a rapid increase in the energy and water consumption due to the harsh climate conditions, high population growth and increase in industrial and agriculture activities. Due to the lack of surface water, water sources in these regions, are either underground fossil water reserves or desalinated sea water. Fossil reserves are depleting rapidly because of the overexploitation and desalination technologies (mainly thermal desalination) are associated with large emissions of CO2. Significant amounts of water are used for extracting and transforming energy as well as in agriculture for food production. Similarly, energy is used for extracting, collecting, pumping, transporting, treating and desalinating water. This interdependence implies that the management of energy, water and food production should be addressed simultaneously, to increase energy efficiency in the water and agriculture sectors and reduce the water footprint in the energy and agriculture sectors. Therefore suitable and efficient technologies and coherent policies should be identified and promoted either in regards to desalination technologies or the whole WEF system. In fact, implementing WEF nexus would contribute directly to the achievement of at least three SDGs: SDG2, SDG6 and SDG7. In this context, the EU GCC Clean Energy Technology Network and the Environmental Center for Arab Towns (ECAT), in association with the Middle East Desalination Research Center (MEDRC), the United Nations Regional Commission of Western Asia (UN ESCWA), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the UAE, are organising a series of online training seminars entitled “Water-Food-Energy nexus concept as a tool for achieving sustainable development goals“, which will take place in October 2020. The series of online workshops aim to achieve the following objectives:
- Build a common understanding of the WEF nexus as a key driver for climate change mitigation and sustainable development;
- Exchange information on the most appropriate and efficient technologies, including water/food for energy and energy for water/food systems including the role of technology innovation and smart technologies;
- Discuss the benefits, opportunities and challenges of adopting an integrated approach to address the WEF nexus within the context of the current institutional and policy frameworks;
- Provide training on the policy tools and options for promoting integrated strategies, plans and policies on the WEF nexus;
- Discuss opportunities of regional collaboration supporting the concrete implementation of the WEF nexus concept.
The second out of the four online traning seminars is entitled "Governance, Regulations and Integrated Approaches including Financial Mechanisms" and is scheduled to take place on Wednesday 21 October 2020 at 12.00 CET / 14.00 GST with a duration of 120 minutes. The second online training seminar will provide answers to the following questions:
- What are the barriers hampering the adoption of a cross-sectoral perspective for energy management?
- Which public policies (incentives, mechanisms such as taxes or subsidies and, administrative tools) could, and should be promoted in order to remove such barriers?
- What are the economic benefits for stakeholders and companies to adopt a cross-sectoral perspective to ensure energy security in the Arab region/GCC?
- Which issues should be addressed in order to improve energy governance and collaboration among stakeholders and between stakeholders and governments, in order to fully tap into the economic growth potentials of the Arab/GCC region?
- What is required Institutionally, Legislatively, Technically, Economically to implement the WEF Nexus in the Arab/GCC?
The coordination and scientific content of the online training seminars falls under Dr. Jauad El Kharraz, Head of Research MEDRC, Dr. Mustapha Taoumi, Clean Energy Key Expert, EU GCC Clean Energy Techology Network, Ms. Radia Sedaoui, Chief of the Energy Section (ES), Climate Change and Natural Resource Sustainability Cluster (CCNRSC), ESCWA, and Omar Saif, Regional Advisor on Water-Energy-Food Nexus (Gulf Region), Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Abu Dhabi, UAE.