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Digging Deeper: How to address groundwater challenges in the Middle East and North Africa?

Event details
    When Mar 23, 2022
    from 17:00 to 18:30
    Where virtual
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    Virtual Event

    Online, 23.03.2022


    Bonn Water Network



    This year's theme for World Water Day is “Groundwater - making the invisible visible”. Although not directly observable with our eyes, groundwater represents the largest share of our global freshwater resources. Especially in many arid and semi-arid areas, where the potential for surface water use has already been exhausted, groundwater has become of strategic importance for domestic use, industry and, above all, irrigated agriculture. In the MENA region, one of the driest regions in the world, the often unregulated extraction of groundwater has led to an alarming depletion of aquifers. In addition, industrial waste and agricultural residues are increasingly entering and polluting groundwater. Inadequate legislation or weak enforcement of existing regulations, as well as insufficient knowledge about extraction and groundwater quality are part of the problem and directly linked to questions of control over and access to groundwater resources. As access to water means access to power; limited availability of and access to fresh water resources in the region mostly affects already marginalised groups and can contribute to power struggles.

    This webinar brings together renowned experts in groundwater in the Middle East and North Africa to present their insights on related challenges in the region from different disciplinary perspectives and geographical contexts. The presentations will also address ways forward for ecologically sustainable but also socially inclusive and politically feasible groundwater governance in MENA. After the inputs of the panelists, we will be happy to open the debate for a joint reflection on these challenges.



    Welcome note

    • Annabelle Houdret, Speaker, Bonn Water Network, and senior researcher at the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)


    State, markets, or communities in groundwater governance: Any clue what could work?

    • François Molle, Research Director, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD)


    Legal approaches towards transboundary groundwater governance

    • Raya Marina Stephan, Water law expert, Consultant/Deputy Editor in Chief Water International, International Water Resources Association


    The complexity of groundwater governance in Jordan

    • Ines Dombrowsky, Head of Program Environmental Governance, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)


    Opportunities and risks of technical solutions for sustainable groundwater management in Morocco

    • Birgit Kemmerling, Senior Researcher, Bonn International Centre for Conflict Studies


    Q&A, Discussion

    Closing Remarks

    *The Bonn Water Network consists of eleven renowned institutions with longstanding experience on water and related issues: the member institutions Bonn International Centre for Conflict Studies (BICC); Bonn University with its Institute of Geography (GIUB) holding the UNESCO Chair in Human Water Systems, the Center for Development Research (ZEF) and the Institute for Hygiene and Public Health (IHPH); the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE); the IUCN Environmental Law Centre; and three Bonn-based UN institutions: the United Nations Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), the Secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the Global Water Operators Partnerships Alliance (UN-Habitat/GWOPA). In addition, Berlin- based Water Integrity Network (WIN) and the International Centre for Water Resources and Global Change (ICGWRC) based in Koblenz are partners of the BWN.


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