Core partners and core team of IUCN ROWA Regional Water Resources & Drylands Programme (REWARD) were involved in a strategic work meeting to define a strategy for the REWARD Programme. This meeting took place in Sharm El Sheikh during May 16-19, 2009. The meeting focused on incorporating new dimensions in the programme such as ecosystems, drylands, climate change, gender and livelihood security. The last day of the workshop focused on the organization of the Regional Water Knowledge Network of WESCANA Water Project (an integral part of the REWARD Programme).
The meeting focused on enhancing the REWARD/WESCANA systemic approaches through the integration of climate change and drylands in the REWARD strategy and demonstration projects. Furthermore, participants agreed on a common understanding for the roles of the Regional Water Knowledge Sub-Networks, which will be built up from institutions in different countries of the West and Central Asia & North Africa (WESANA) region.
The sub-networks are clustered around four thematic areas, which are management of ground/surface water resources in mountain watersheds, oases and the related ground water resources, water resources in large river systems, and ground/surface water resources in urban environments. In addition, five thematic Network Knowledge Centres in Palestine, Jordan, Egypt and Yemen have been identified to facilitate the sub-network process and provide it with technical knowledge.
Participants concluded the workshop with a number of important recommendations and outcomes related to the REWARD programme and its demonstration projects especially knowledge exchange, exploring additional funding sources, linking the drylands with the water resources management, exploring the impacts of climate change on water resources, activating the role of women in natural resource management and documenting lessons learned and success stories with special attention to the Arabic language.
Funded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DGCS), the WESCANA Project is an integral part of the long-term Regional Programme on Water Resources and Drylands (REWARD), one of IUCN ROWA’s five main programme areas for the coming ten years. There are two main components of the WESCANA Project: the Regional Water Knowledge Network and the Demonstration Country Projects in the West Asia and North Africa Region (WANA).