IUCN - New Implementation Phase for REWARD Programme

New Implementation Phase for REWARD Programme

27 November 2007 | News story

After a first preliminary phase of about one year in the West & Central Asia and North Africa region, REWARD will enter end of this year a new and challenging phase of innovation and development. The Regional Water Programme is actually funded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DGCS) with a contribution of 2.4 million Euros for 3 years.

 In the first phase first contacts have been made with potential Knowledge Nodes that will participate in a Regional Water Knowledge Network supported by IUCN. At the same time three demonstration projects in river basins and watersheds in Jordan, Egypt and Palestine have been identified. All three projects have gone through an inception phase to determine focus and scope for a 3 years project. The three projects will be implemented in cooperation with the Jordanian Ministry of Environment, the Center for Environment and Development for the Arab Region and Europe (CEDARE) in Egypt and the Centre for Continuing Education of Bir Zeit University in Palestine.

The objective of this project is influencing decision makers in the region to adopt systemic approaches for water resource management through those demonstration projects and the Network of Knowledge Nodes that is in the process of being developed. The regional network will foster capacity building, shared learning, networking and exchange of experience between the major actors in the water sector of the region. This will be given hands and feet by five demonstration projects in five different countries. Apart from the three selected projects two more still need to be identified.

In Palestine, the demonstration project will work on a simple model for watershed development planning, supported by a simple Decision Support System (DSS) that can be applied in the mountainous zones of the Middle East. This will be tested and applied in Mar Sanour, a closed watershed in Jenin Governorate. The project will give important emphasis to sustainable livelihoods, agricultural development and conjunctive use of ground and surface (run-off) water.

In Egypt, the demonstration project will work on developing a very practical DSS at the district level for the irrigation/ drainage system in the Nile Valley. Where links will be sought with national DSS, the project will much focus on cropping pattern forecasts and calibration of water availability and demand. At the same time farmer organizations are encouraged to participate in the design of such a district DSS to better adapt environmental cropping requirements to access to water.

In Jordan, the demonstration project will contribute to the ambitious and long-term Zarqa River Basin Restoration Programme undertaken under the leadership of the Ministry of Environment. Systemic approaches will link river pollution with underlying causes related to urban and industrial development and ground water management. The River Basin hosts 60% of Jordan’s population and most of the country’s industrial activities. The challenge is high and it is believed that only a well reflected systemic approach and dialogue and concerted action of all stakeholders can deliver long-term sustainable solutions.

"Water is scarce here and precious for all of us, so everybody and especially local people have to sit for the water negotiation table" said Mr Peter Laban, the new IUCN WAME Regional Water Programme Coordinator. Before joining the IUCN team, Peter has been working at CARE International, as a Regional Coordinator of EMPOWERS, a participatory stakeholder-led water planning and management programme in three countries of the Middle East, funded through the EC MEDA Water Programme. IUCN will build on the experience of the EMPOWERS Programme with stakeholder dialogues to develop the necessary packages for more systemic approaches to water resource planning and management and bring them to the attention of policy and decision-makers in the water sector.

The Regional Water Programme is building on IUCN global experience through the Water & Nature Initiative (WANI) which is a major supporter of this programme.

For more information, please contact Mr. Peter Laban, Regional Water Programme Coordinator at: peter.laban@iucn.org