Cairo, October 31, 2023 – The Islamic Organization for Food Security (IOFS) and Inter-Islamic Network on Water Resources Development and Management (INWRDAM) jointly hosted a side event during Cairo Water Week, titled "Supporting Policies and Innovations for Integrated Water Management in the OIC Member States". The roundtable aimed to address the most pressing water management challenges faced by the OIC Member States and discuss viable solutions through policy, technological innovations, and sustainable initiatives.The moderators of the round table were represented by Dr. Ismail Abdelhamid, Advisor of Programs and Projects Department (IOFS) and Mr. Timothy T. Hanlon, Programs Director (INWRDAM).
The event began with the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) Director General, Dr. Tarifa Al Zaabi’s speech emphasizing the significance of adopting innovative strategies in water management policies.
In Session I, the challenges related to water resources in OIC Member Countries, as well as Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries (SESRIC)activities were presented by Mr. Muzamil Edema. Participants delved into Jordan's forward-thinking water harvesting practices and policy dialoguessupported by INWRDAM. Moreover, comprehensive strategies from Jordan were shared by Mr. Thair Mukhammad Al-Momani, Secretary General Assistant for Technical Assistance of theMinistry of Water and Irrigation of Jordan, The session also touched upon the harmonization of policies across the Arab Region from the perspective of the Centre for Environment and Development for the Arab Region and Europe (CEDARE) approach and concluded with an insightful open discussion on policy integration and sharing best practices with participation of Dr. Mohsen Alarabawy, Water Policy Expert River Basin Management Specialist, Nile Basin Initiative (NBI).
Session II spotlighted technological innovations aimed at achieving optimal water use. The discussions ranged from introducing eco-friendly solutions and regional agricultural techniques highlighted by INWRDAM to exploring revolutionary solutions for preserving the scarce water resources in the MENA region presented by Dr. Khalil Ammar, Principal Scientist in Hydrology/Hydrogeology (ICBA). The transformative role of remote sensing in agricultural water management was also highlighted by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), as well as a Spatial Management System of Irrigation Facilities” was presented by NODA BilişimTeknolojileri Ltd. Şti. (Türkiye). The session wrapped up with a conversation on the future of water efficiency through technological innovations.
Session started with a presentation on modernization of irrigation management and possible investment opportunities in Egypt by Dr. Emad Mahmoud, a Head of Central Department of Water Resources and Water Use of the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation of Egypt. The session also showcased sustainable initiatives in agricultural water management by FAO NENA Region, which were highlighted by Ms. Heba Al Hariry and Dr. Mohamed AlHamdi. Attendees gained insights into strategic partnerships driving inclusive development amidst water scarcity. “Bridging Knowledge and Action: Technical Assistance in Shaping Sustainable Water Financing Solutions” was explored by presentation of the Dr. Youssef Brouziyne, a Head of MENA Office(IWMI). The session culminated in a discussion on international collaborations, challenges in grant procurement, and strategies for attracting investments.
The event ended with a recap of key takeaways and an open-floor discussion on immediate actions and recommendations for the OIC member States.Addressing water scarcity challenges, the emphasis was placed on the significance of sustainable agricultural water management. The adoption of technological advancements, including AI-driven irrigation and remote sensing, was highlighted as crucial for enhancing water efficiency. Furthermore, the importance of capacity building, particularly training local professionals, was underscored to ensure the effective and sustainable implementation of water management technologies. The need for increased intersectoral collaborations spanning agriculture, energy, and technology sectors was emphasized. The unique strengths of the OIC community, from diverse cultures to abundant natural resources, were recognized as potential leverage points for attracting international investments. Finally, international support was urged to focus on fostering long-term impacts, emphasizing local capacity building and sustainability of projects.