The workplan of the EU funded, Water and Environment Support project (WES), for the coming 12 months, was endorsed on December 14, 2021, during the online 3rd WES Steering Committee Meeting (SCM). During the meeting, the project’s achievements and challenges were thoroughly discussed, and the forthcoming plan of activities was presented.
This SCM brought together the WES Water and Environment Focal Points from the Partner Countries (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia), the European Commission, institutional partners, representatives of WES Demonstration projects, the Union for the Mediterranean and the Mediterranean Action Plan/UNEP.
Mr. Stefano Dotto, Head of Sector Connectivity, Climate and Environment, European Commission, Directorate General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR), in the opening of the meeting underlined the importance of EU projects such as WES: ‘WES guarantees regional cooperation and commitments building a consensus in addressing environmental problems, but most of all, it enhances a common culture for a sustainable and circular economy in the Mediterranean countries.’
Mr. Patrick Wegerdt, from the Contracting Authority- the European Commission, Directorate General for Environment (DG ENV), presented the current global and regional political contexts with emphasis on the great opportunities the European Green Deal presents, also for the Neighbourhood countries. Furthermore, the Union for Mediterranean (Ms Alessandra Sensi, Head of Environment and Blue Economy Sector and Mr Almotaz Abadi, Managing Director, UfM-Water) and the United Nations Environment Programme Mediterranean Action Plan (Mr Mohamad Kayyal, MED POL Programme Management Officer) also expressed how operational synergies with WES have resulted in cross-fertilization and consolidation of on-going priorities of their respective work programmes.
Professor Michael Scoullos, WES Team Leader, while presenting the WES activities stressed that during 2021, and despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the vast majority of WES activities were launched and are ongoing. A few have been already concluded while very few indeed are still under consideration. Many of the trainings, consultations and meetings, were successfully organized online. The participants, embracing better than expected the new virtual communication reality, were able to effectively follow the courses and be actively involved in sustainable management practices related to water and environment.
All of the WES Focal Points, as well as several members of the EU Delegations to the WES Partner Countries, took the floor during a dedicated session, providing valuable updates and contributions for the smooth implementation of the very intensive 2022 workplan of the project.
The WES workplan for 2022 was unanimously adopted by the Steering Committee Meeting.
The SCM was co-chaired by Mr. Frederic Fourtune, Programme Manager–DG NEAR B2-Regional Programmes Neighbourhood South in the Field of Environment, Water, Agriculture, who, as a newcomer to WES, expressed his appreciation of the efforts of everyone involved including the high level of commitment of all FPs and stakeholders taking part in this important project.
The EU funded Water and Environment Support project in the ENI Southern Neighbourhood region aims at protecting the environment and improving the management of scarce water resources in the Mediterranean. It tackles problems related to pollution prevention and water use efficiency. The project’s activities began in May 2019 and will end in May 2023, with a total budget of 7,9 million euros.