Arab countries are among the most water scarce in the world, with nearly 362 million people in the region living in conditions that range from water scarcity to absolute scarcity. The freshwater scarcity situation in the region is aggravated by several factors, including dependency on shared water resources, occupation and conflict affecting people’s ability to access water and sanitation services, climate change, and high population growth. Addressing water issues is vital for Arab region to achieve SDG 6 and ground water security, so as to ensure that no one is left behind.
ESCWA is working with Governments and international partners to build the capacity of its member States to better monitor, assess and address water scarcity challenges in the region. ESCWA is supporting the efforts of the Arab Water Council to implement its Arab Strategy for Water Security in the Arab Region to Meet the Challenges and Future Needs for Sustainable Development (2010-2030). It is also advising the Arab Permanent Committee for Meteorology, the Council of Arab Ministers Responsible for the Environment, the Gulf Cooperation Council and member States.
ESCWA is supporting regional reporting on and monitoring of progress in achieving water-related SDGs by fostering integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary water cooperation and greater focus on groundwater resources.
ESCWA is also engaging in the development and delivery of capacity development programmes and resource material on integrated water resources management (IWRM) policies and practices for the Arab region, within the framework of the Arab Integrated Water Resources Management Network (AWARENET).