Water in the Middle East: Conflict or Cooperation?

This seminar, organised by CITpax and the Spanish Society for International Exhibitions (SEEI) in Madrid and Zaragoza, aimed to examine how water has been a source of conflict and how it can be transformed into a tool for peace in the Middle East. The seminar analysed a case that has been successfully resolved and a scenario including difficulties and complications, so that – given the participants’ broad political and technical experience – the seminar could become a venue where regional collaboration on hydrological issues could be re-examined, and innovative and imaginative proposals drawn up. Likewise, the seminar suggested that in its Mediterranean Neighbourhood Policy, the EU could play a very positive role to help reduce the shortage of water using different methods, including desalination, and efficient use of water, and to likewise encourage collaboration between regions in the Middle East.

In its Mediterranean Neighbourhood Policy, the EU could play a very positive role to help reduce the shortage of water.

The conference was attended by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Miguel Ángel Moratinos, Minister for the Environment and Rural and Sea Areas, Elena Espinosa, Secretary of State for Rural Areas and Water for the Ministry for the Environment and Rural and Sea Areas, Josep Puxeu, President of the International Green Cross and the International Foundation for Political and Socio-economic Studies, Mikhail Gorbachev, former German Minister for Foreign Affairs, Joschka Fischer, former Minister for Water and Irrigation and former negotiator for the Jordanian delegation in the Middle East peace process, Munther Haddadin, President of the State Society for International Exhibitions, Javier Conde, President of CITpax, Antonio Garrigues, and CITpax Vice-Presidents, Shlomo Ben-Ami, former Israeli Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Nabil Shaath, former Vice-Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority.

Likewise, other individuals who took part included the lead adviser for the Egyptian Ministry for Hydraulic Resources and Irrigation, Mohamed Naser Ezat and former Commissioners for Palestinian and Israeli water, Fadel Kawash and Shimon Tal, respectively, among many other important experts from the Middle East and Europe.

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CITpax and el Institut Europeu de la Mediterrània (IEMed) held a planning meeting in which IEMed was debriefed on the trip that Emilio Cassinello, Director General of CITpax, and John Bell, Director of the Middle East and Mediterranean Programme, made to the region in June 2010, and following which a report was produced. The debriefing was followed by a reflection on what the next steps ahead should be, in which several experts on water and energy participated. Following the discussion, it was agreed that Walter Mazzitti, adviser to the Italian Primer Minister and an expert on water, would...Read more