Allocation of water resources for agriculture pilot projects - United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia
26-27 September 2022

Allocation of water resources for agriculture pilot projects

Water Allocation
  • Cairo, Egypt

ESCWA and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, in collaboration with the High-Level Joint Water-Agriculture Technical Committee, the technical arm of the Joint Water-Agriculture Ministerial Council of the League of Arab States, are organizing a technical workshop to prepare pilot projects in Egypt, Jordan, the State of Palestine and Tunisia for the application of the Guidelines for Improved Water Allocation for Agriculture.

These four countries officially expressed their interest in piloting technical applications of the guidelines. The pilot projects represent a significant improvement in water allocation and are expected to be impactful within a short period of time and to provide experiences and lessons in the field.

The workshop brings together the four project country teams, comprising representatives of the ministries of water and agriculture. They are reviewing and discussing a detailed methodological approach for developing improved water allocation plans in the pilot areas, identifying challenges and constraints specific to each participating country, and exploring solutions for coordinating with relevant stakeholders prior to and during project implementation. Preliminary action plans are being developed for each selected area.

Outcome document

  • Country teams to continue developing their water allocation plans for agriculture in the identified pilot areas after setting the action plans. Challenges were well identified, and good work has been done to illustrate and study the water problems
  • Country teams to make use of technical information and proposed tools to move forward in the preparation of the project concept note on improved water allocation in agriculture
  • Country teams to ensure coordination with relevant and identified stakeholders prior to and during the Project implementation
  • Country teams to present progress made during the fourth meeting of the High-Level Joint Committee for water and agriculture to be held on 18 Oct 2022 during the 2022 Cairo water week.
  • Regional organizations to continue providing support to Arab countries to improve water allocation in agriculture

Participants were briefed on the adopted Guidelines for Water Allocation for Agriculture, with information on methodology followed and definition of water allocation. The guidelines adopted on 27 January 2022, during the Second Meeting of Joint Ministerial Council for Water and Agriculture.

The four countries that expressed interest into voluntarily applying the guidelines (Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, and Palestine) presented challenges and constraints specific to each of those countries and briefed on progress made into applying the Guidelines on improved water allocation for agriculture in selected pilot areas.

This session was dedicated to building knowledge on the application of water accounting frameworks at country and local levels and the use of role-playing as an effective tool that supports the assessment of the pilot areas and facilitates collective planning and decision-making processes. These technical sessions enabling participants to explore solutions for coordinating with relevant stakeholders prior to and during the implementation phase of the project.

Participants were briefed on process to follow for moving Guidelines into Action, relying on understanding the trends in water use, using scientific and technical tools to understand and prioritize water allocation challenges and means to communicate and engage to wider group of stakeholders. Emphasis also placed on criteria for selecting pilot areas relying on its representation of water challenges facing the country, positive local ownership, and interest and data availability.

Preliminary action plans were developed for each selected area. These plans included:

  • description of area and challenges
  • proposed improvement in water allocation plans
  • proposed activities to be undertaken such as Stakeholder engagement, Improved water allocation preparation plan using the tools, improvements to the governance structure, improving scientific knowledge, building capacity and monitoring & reporting.
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