Arab States are among the most water scarce in the world, with nearly 362 million people in the Arab region living in conditions that range from water scarcity to absolute scarcity. The freshwater scarcity situation in the region is aggravated by several factors, such as dependency on shared water resources, occupation and conflict affecting people’s ability to access water and sanitation services, climate change impacts and extreme events, water pollution, non-revenue water losses from ageing water systems, intermittency, inefficient use of water and high population growth rates. Constructing a conceptual framework for moving towards achieving water security in the Arab region requires, first, putting people at the centre of water issues, and second, a solid understanding of the main systemic conditions that hamper its achievement. The systemic conditions vary in scale and severity, and their impacts affect water security at various levels and scales. This variance in scale requires a flexible approach, but one grounded in principles that transcend scales of analysis.
This report presents a conceptual framework for achieving water security in the Arab region. It considers the regional systemic conditions of water stress and scarcity, shared water and climate change that hinder the achievement of water security. This is done through a sustainable development lens, whereby water is central to the three dimensions of sustainable development, namely economic, social and environmental. This is combined with a human rightsbased approach to examine water security implications at all scales, including at the community and household level, so that water security in the Arab region is grounded in efforts to ensure that no one is left behind. It does so in view of an enabling environment, based on a set of means of implementation addressing systemic conditions at various scales.