• Sweden edition
 
Water shortages to force Middle East cooperation

Water shortages to force Middle East cooperation

Published: 11 Feb 2011 08:40 GMT+01:00
Updated: 11 Feb 2011 11:13 GMT+01:00

The report by Indian think tank Strategic Foresight Group supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) highlighted huge depletion of major rivers such as the Jordan and Yarmouk in the past half a century, the punctual depletion of the Euphrates by drought and the shrinkage of the Dead Sea to a small lake by 2050.

"We provided support to the study that took place over the last one and a half years. The report has now been finalised and launched yesterday," Helen Rask, head of the Middle East and North Africa regional division at Sida, told The Local on Friday.

"We have a regional cooperative strategy that the Swedish government has adopted. The decision was made during the last cooperation strategy period in August 2010. From 2006 to 2010, one of the major sectors to work with in the Middle East and North Africa was transboundary water management," she explained.

Sida is supporting initiatives that will eventually lead to effective management of transboundary water issues in the region, according to Rask. Current strategies involve exploring more sustainable uses of water resources while taking into account climate change.

Sida's efforts concentrate on two subregions, the Jordan and the Tigris, and it is also involved in the Nile River. According to Rask, the total budget of the water study was about 4 million kronor, ($615,000), of which Sida financed half.

At the launch of the report in Geneva on Thursday, Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rez called for closer cooperation between Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, the Palestinians and Israel on managing increasingly scarce water resources, arguing that water could also be used to forge a "blue peace."

"The report comes to an alarming conclusion; five of the seven countries are experiencing a structural shortage and debit of most of the big rivers has declined by 50 to 90 percent between 1960," she told journalists.

"In the future the main geopolitical resource in the Middle East will be water more than oil," she added, warning that it was closely tied to peace efforts.

However, the report also acknowledged the difference between the countries, with upstream Turkey in a position to "influence prospects of peace" despite the collapse of 1980s plan to pipe water to Israel and Gulf states.

Downstream territories such as Israel, Jordan and Palestinian territories were in the worst position, with mounting clean water deficits of up to 500 to 700 million cubic metres each. The report also argued that technical solutions such as desalination or wastewater recycling in Israel would ultimately have limited scope.

"Purely unilateral solutions will mainly work for a decade or so but Israel will have to look for external sources and regional cooperation beyond 2020 to ensure its water security," it said.

Swiss diplomats said they had already started to lobby the seven governments for a joint water cooperation council expanding on an nascent Turkish, Iraqi, Jordanian and Syrian effort, as well as other steps, even if they admitted that it would be challenging.

The report was prepared with support from the governments of Sweden and Switzerland and input received from almost 100 leaders and experts from the Middle East, including heads of state, cabinet ministers, heads of water authorities, members of parliament, diplomats and prominent scholars.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

09:21 February 11, 2011 by calebian22
No doubt cooperative measures will soon be forthcoming in this peaceful and open minded region of the world.
09:29 February 11, 2011 by loudasthunder
Being that Water is a valuble commodity, perhaps Sweden can work out some sort of trade agreement: Fossil Fuel in exchange for Water. Sweden has an unlimited supply of Water, they have an unlimited supply of Oil, problem solved.

Or... How about having them move here and... Never mind, already doing that : )
11:22 February 11, 2011 by warriorwithin
Time for middle eastern ppl to realize the ill effects of breeding beyond environ-economic feasibility. egypt,tunisia are already facing the heat of a demographic dividend and non industrialization. South Asis is also likely to face water crisies.
12:12 February 11, 2011 by Swedesmith
@loud: like the way you think.
18:24 February 11, 2011 by Puge Henis
Looks like one "Muslim brothers" thirst is not enough for another Muslim to band together to help.

Quick someone draw another cartoon so they can be united once again!
23:27 February 11, 2011 by maxbrando
I hope they all slit each other's throats over their desire for water.
15:50 February 12, 2011 by Puge Henis
One wonders where's all that brotherly love they keep talking about.

Its fine to complain about how Muslims are (supposedly) treated in the great Satan (America) but not so fine when they have to give a Muslim closer to them a glass of water.

I guess we infidels will just never understand.
Today's headlines
Sport
Sweden's star striker Zlatan 'recovering well'
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is Sweden's top scorer in history. PHOTO: TT/Maja Suslin

Sweden's star striker Zlatan 'recovering well'

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is recovering well from the nagging heel problem that has stopped him playing for Sweden during its Euro 2016 qualifying campaign. READ  

International
Swedish sisters create viral Syria stir
A shot from the video on YouTube.

Swedish sisters create viral Syria stir

Two sisters from Södertälje near Stockholm are celebrating getting more than 1.3 million hits on YouTube, with a video calling for peace in war-torn Syria. READ  

Pirate Bay
Pirate Bay founder gets three years in prison
A 2013 image of Svartholm Warg. Photo: TT

Pirate Bay founder gets three years in prison

Swedish "hactivist" Gottfrid Svartholm Warg has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for hacking crimes. READ  

Royal family
Princess Madeleine to make Nobel comeback
Princess Madeleine at a previous Nobel banquet. Photo: TT

Princess Madeleine to make Nobel comeback

Sweden's Princess Madeleine is scheduled to appear at the Nobel Festival in Stockholm in December, after taking time out from her royal duties to focus on looking after her daughter. READ  

Politics
'We knew that Israel would be critical'
Foreign Minister Margot Wallström (left), with Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. Photo: TT

'We knew that Israel would be critical'

Sweden's Foreign Minister has told The Local she respects Israel's decision to recall its ambassador after Sweden officially recognized the State of Palestine, and laughed off comments about IKEA furniture made by her Israeli counterpart. READ  

Analysis
'Store up your sunlight hours before winter'
Doctors say we should make the most of the autumn sunshine. Photo: Shutterstock

'Store up your sunlight hours before winter'

Spending time outdoors this autumn will help you survive a cold, dark Swedish winter. Baba Pendse, Head of Psychiatry at Lund University shares his top tips for battling the seasonal blues with The Local. READ  

Sports
Plot for shared Scandi Winter Olympic bid
Skiers hit the slopes in Åre, western Sweden. Photo: TT

Plot for shared Scandi Winter Olympic bid

Norwegian sports officials have said they want to co-host the winter Olympics with Sweden in 2026. But there has so far been no official response from Sweden. READ  

National
Anti-Israel graffiti 'not a race crime': Court
Photo: TT

Anti-Israel graffiti 'not a race crime': Court

A teenage boy who painted anti-Israel slogans and symbols on the Concert Hall in Gothenburg has been convicted for the damages he caused, but he walked free from racial agitation charges. READ  

Entertainment
A closer look at Sweden's rising stars
Swedish actresses Sandra Huldt and Julia Ragnarsson. Julia (right) has been nominated for a Rising Star award. Photo: TT

A closer look at Sweden's rising stars

Like to be ahead of the game when it comes to the next big thing on the silver screen? We find out more about the Swedish nominees for the Rising Star award to be presented at Stockholm's International Film Festival next week. READ  

Science
Swedish women in two-year sex pill study
Contraceptive pills have been linked to mood swings. Photo: Shutterstock

Swedish women in two-year sex pill study

Three hundred women from across Sweden are taking part in a study designed to demonstrate that modern contraceptive pills don't lead to decreased libido or mood swings. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
Stockholm's shocking take on Halloween
Sport
Top ten quotes from Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Gallery
People-watching: October 30th
National
Sweden remains fourth best for gender equality
Blog updates

31 October

Editor’s Blog, October 31st (The Local Sweden) »

"Hello readers, Welcome to our latest 60-second round-up of the week’s news. First, Sweden made headlines around the..." READ »

 

29 October

Scariest day (Blogweiser) »

"This is what’s frightening me on Halloween. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4OFZVCu8J0&list=UUJu5J7jG4uoYSjWbpFsJBuQ Follow my posts on FB. ..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Timeline: Julian Assange sex allegations
Sport
World Cup ski race on 'fake' Stockholm slope
Society
An Arctic tradition: hunting and handicraft
Society
Stockholm taxis offer free therapy sessions
National
The Local meets Health Minister Gabriel Wikström
Gallery
Property of the week: Österåker
Society
Homeless turtles get Stockholm police ride
National
Construction worker has 'Sweden's best beard'
National
Italian musician jazzes up Sweden's Lapland
Gallery
Zlatan's career in pictures
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching: October 25th and 26th
Lifestyle
'Swedes are funnier than they think'
National
Swedish town 'like Venice' after heavy rains
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st
Gallery
People-watching: October 22nd
Gallery
In Pictures: Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Lifestyle
Eight things to love about renting a Swedish apartment
National
Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden
National
Sub hunt: Day-by-day
National
Sub hunt: Stockholm islanders share their fears with The Local
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

970
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN