For Immediate Release
RABAT, MOROCCO - The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Arab Network for Environment and Development (RAED) announced today a strategic partnership working to increase regional capacity and awareness in the Middle East and Northern African (MENA) region. Both organizations share a vision to promote awareness, build capacity, share best practices and develop joint approaches to address the critical water issues of the region.
USAID and RAED recognize the importance of positive change gained by exchange between civil society organizations, governments and the private sector. By connecting a regional network of 200 environmental and civil society organizations with a strategic partner network of experts - including water utilities, professional associations, donors and the private sector - the two groups can create sustainable solutions at the local, national and regional levels.
This dialogue is particularly relevant in the Middle East and North Africa as this region already faces a water crisis that affects its people, the environment and economy. In this arid region, supplies of renewable water are limited while demand is rapidly rising due to population growth, agricultural use, and increasing industrialization and urbanization. Climate change increases stress on an already scarce resource. Daily per capita water consumption is low throughout the region and the cost of supplying water continues to increase. In response, pressures on water operators to improve capacities are growing and a need for pro-active dialogue is crucial in finding a balanced approach that works for all.
To address these critical challenges, USAID and RAED are joining forces to advocate, educate and partner in water resource management and access to clean drinking water and sanitation. In doing so, each party brings unique and valuable assets to the table.
Implementing this partnership is USAID's Advancing the Blue Revolution Initiative (ABRI), a regional program which seeks to transform the culture and governance of water in the Middle East and Africa. This requires building awareness of the water crisis and promoting activities of multi-stakeholder networks. By increasing dialogue, mobilizing new financial and nonfinancial resources and building the capacity of strategic organizations, progressive initiatives can be sustained. USAID's contacts with international donors, water associations, water experts and regional institutions provide access to expertise and funding, making international best practices and methodologies available to the RAED network. Key ABRI strategic partners such as the International Water Association (IWA) and the Arab Countries Water Utilities Association (ACWUA) have already begun collaborating with RAED on the topic of climate change.
RAED provides ABRI access to over 200 civil society organizations, offering valuable perspectives to the regional dialogue. RAED is active in implementing the UN agenda especially in the area of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), specifically to help the poor achieve sustainable livelihoods. Under the umbrella of its network, RAED member organizations have collaborated in implementing projects including solid waste recycling, renewable energy, water conservation and protection of endangered species on both regional and national levels - all top priorities for the region's water utilities.
Today RAED and USAID officially launched our first jointly programmed national climate change workshop for the MENA region. This workshop, held in Rabat, Morocco from May 28-29, 2009, emphasizes the mutual objectives of our overall partnership.
Last updated: May 16, 2012