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Regional Knowledge Program on Water

Status: Active
  • Lead Organization(s)

    Center for Mediterranean Integration


    Partner Organization(s)

    • Agence Française de Développement
    • Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
    • European Investment Bank
    • International Center for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM)
    • Plan Bleu
    • World Bank
    • Union for the Mediterranean
    • Global Water Partnership Mediterranean (GWP-Med)
    • United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
    • United Nations International Organization for Migration (IOM)
    • UNESCO World Water Assessment Program (UNESCO WWAP)
    • CEWAS Middle East
    • Revolve Media


    Regional Context

    The Mediterranean region is the most water scarce region in the world and one of the most vulnerable to climate change and extreme weather events, which are fuelling regional instability and migration. However, the region also has considerable potential for climate change mitigation and adaptation, which are a common concern for its future.


    Combating water scarcity and supporting climate change adaptation and mitigation in the Mediterranean region could be conducive to job creation and entrepreneurship, particularly among Mediterranean youth, with clear knock-on effects on regional instability deriving from unemployment, disenfranchisement and migration.


    Targeting youth through capacity-building and green entrepreneurship opportunities revolving around water is therefore a key means to leverage untapped youth potential in the region with positive socio-economic and environmental outcomes.



    Objectives, 2018-2019


    • Enhanced water security through better informed public and foresighted governance and management.


    • Prevent water scarcity and support adaptation to and mitigation of climate change in the Mediterranean.


    • Increased green entrepreneurship with a focus on water security and improved conditions for youth employment in the water sector.



    Ongoing and Completed Activities, 2018-2019


    • CMI coordination of 5 MedYWat working papers on water and migration in the Mediterranean written by MedYWat researchers with senior export mentoring (publication forthcoming). Please scroll down for more information on MedYWat. 



    • Med Water Youth Network facilitation and coordination: mid-term MedYWat Coordination at CIHEAM Bari (September 2018).



    • Quarterly CMI Water Hub multi-partner coordination meetings.


    Creation and Maintenance of the CMI-managed MedYWat Network


    The Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI) launched the Mediterranean Youth for Water (MedYWat) network in April 2017 through the annual CMI World Water day workshop series. MedYWat targets young Mediterranean water professionals (aged 18-35) who are determined to tackle water-related issues in the region by amplifying the voice of youth in the regional water agenda.


    Today, MedYWat’s is the only Mediterranean Youth water network involving young water researchers, entrepreneurs and activists from both rims of the Mediterranean to network, share knowledge, collaborate, engage in capacity-building and influence water policies in their countries of origin and the region.


    With CMI’s support, the network generates and shares knowledge leading to the preparation of each World Water day (Water and Migration 2019; Water and Nature-Based Solutions 2018; Treated Wastewater Reuse and the Circular Economy 2017) in collaboration with leading international senior water experts. The MedYWat network counts over 150 members, representing 15 nationalities from across the Mediterranean and composed of 75% female members.


    Regular Water Hub meetings are being held with the CMI Water Program partners since 2016 to set up a multi-partner regional agenda and ensure ongoing exchanges and joint programming between Water Hub partners (AFD, CIHEAM, GIZ, EIB, Plan Bleu and World Bank) and observers (Switch-Med, GWP-Med, World Water Council UfM, IOM, FAO, CEWAS Middle East and others).


    The hub thereby contributes to increased collaboration and integration on water issues in the water-scarce Mediterranean region, while taking into account best practices and experiences from around the world.



    Completed Activities, 2017-2018




    “How do we see our Water Future?” – Strategic planning in Tunisia


    The national workshop held in Tunis, Tunisia in December 2015 took place in an evolving governance context, with the finalization of the new Water Code and the reform of water users’ associations. Some of the country’s successful experiences in groundwater management showed a potential for replication in other regions of Tunisia. Furthermore, many of the situations and solutions discussed at the workshop are of interest for the whole MENA area and will be shared region-wide.



    “Water Demand Management for beginners” and advanced decision makers


    Following two synthesis papers in early 2015, a research paper and a technical report with case studies were released by AFD on the management of groundwater resources as common goods. The research paper will be an input to the forthcoming WDR 2017 “Governance and the Law”.



    “Dealing with Water Scarcity through Desalination, Non-Revenue Water Reduction and Public Private Partnerships” with the World Bank Water Global Practice and CMI Partners, 12-14 December 2016, Villa Valmer, Marseille


    This workshop gathered water desalination experts, government representatives, development agencies, international financial institutions and private actors to take stock of the potential of desalination for increasing water security in the Mediterranean, as well as the ways in which it can be coupled to renewable energy sources to increase its sustainability. Furthermore, the financial sustainability of desalination projects was discussed through presentations on several desalination and renewable energy Public Private Partnerships in the Mediterranean and other best practices from around the world.



    CMI launched the “Mediterranean Water Heroes” contest (in collaboration with the World Bank and Wamda), which offered young water researchers, entrepreneurs and activists from around the Mediterranean the opportunity to showcase their innovative work on wastewater and the circular economy during the “Youth Innovating with Wastewater for a Sustainable Mediterranean” workshop in March 2017.


    Winners of the contest were invited to present their work at the World Water Day event and received sponsored registration to Stockholm World Water Week (August 2017) to represent the Med Water Youth Network.




    This youth-focused workshop gathered Mediterranean youth and technical experts working in the wastewater field to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing treated wastewater reuse in the region.


    It stimulated inter-generational and regional knowledge exchange on treated wastewater reuse through plenary presentations, team activities and collective brainstorming sessions ranging from the technical to the economic opportunities and social impacts of wastewater reuse, and resulted in the launch of the MedYWat (Mediterranean Youth for Water) Network.



    • Water Utilities and Fragility, 16-18 May 2017, organized by the World Bank Water Global Practice and CMI, Villa Valmer, Marseille 


    Water and Sanitation services are essential humanitarian needs during both peace and instability situations. Utilities and service providers should therefore be well prepared for crisis situations with improved institutional capacity, training and systems. This workshop exchanged knowledge and experiences to improve their readiness to meet crisis challenges and maintain service provision to their populations.

    Its objective was to understand utilities’ needs during crises, share lessons, drive innovation, and influence policy to better meet the needs of refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and host community needs. 



    Main Results and Achievements to Date


    • Multi-partner coordination and outreach: The CMI-managed Water Hub (members AFD, CIHEAM, EIB, GIZ, GWP-Med, Plan Bleu, Union for the Mediterranean, World Bank Water GP) intensified its collaboration efforts over the past phase, engaging in multi-partner events and knowledge sharing while increasingly reaching out to regional youth.


    • Program Support: CMI partnered with AFD and Plan Bleu on the “Water Demand Management” program 2014-2018, which develops an economic approach to WDM and promotes the use of economic concepts and tools to facilitate communication amongst stakeholders and policy-making in the Mediterranean.


    • Networks and Communities of Practice: The CMI-managed Mediterranean Water for Youth (MedYWat) network, launched through the « Youth Innovating with Wastewater for a Sustainable Mediterranean » workshop March 2017, gathers 180 young water researchers, entrepreneurs/activists from around the Mediterranean. It connects young water practitioners to engage in knowledge- and innovation-sharing projects, to build capacity and give Youth more voice on the regional water agenda.


    • Youth Inclusion/capacity building: In line with the CMI’s overarching youth theme, the Water program has been the most youth-focused of CMI’s programs, with annual targeted youth workshops for World Water Day in 2017, 2018 and 2019, all preceded by a CMI “Mediterranean Water Heroes” contest to select young contest winners, participants, and thereby strengthen the CMI-led MedYWat network. CMI’s support to key MedYWat members’ participation in high-level regional and global events as speakers increases MedYWat’s visibility, strengthens awareness of regional water scarcity challenges and presents youth-based solutions.


    • Strengthening employment and entrepreneurship among young water professions: With the support of CMI’s technical partners, MedYWat members gained access to traineeship opportunities and accessing competitive entrepreneurship trainings to support capacity-building. Professional connections through the network facilitated members to access job opportunities in the water sector.


    • Regional Partnerships: MeyWat developing new regional/national partnerships including the Central Asian Youth Water network (CayWAT) as well as national chapters Portuguese and Spanish Young Water professional network among network members to support MedYWat’s activities but also the members’ respective organizations/employers.


    • Regional Learning: CMI hosted several partners’ events, notably on Desalination and PPPs (World Bank, 2016), Water Utilities and Fragility (World Bank, 2017) and Water Demand Management (AFD, 2015-2017) and Economic Instruments for Water Demand Management (AFD and World Bank, 2018).


    • Knowledge and Analysis: CMI intensified its in-house research and knowledge production on water-related themes, notably on treated wastewater reuse in the Mediterranean in 2018, nature-based solutions for water and water and migration. CMI initiated youth led working papers on Water and Migration which where mentored by Senior researchers. CMI shared knowledge and built capacity on transboundary water regimes, groundwater governance and nature-based solutions as an opportunity for green jobs for Mediterranean youth through targeted events and online activities.


    • Quality Review:  A benchmarking survey of the MedYWat network is undertaken on annual basis. Internal surveys and consultations with the Water Hub and MedYWat were performed to identify partners’ and beneficiaries’ needs.



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    From The Library