• 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)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

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
Late summer sun set to hit Sweden

Late summer sun set to hit Sweden

Forecasters have predicted sunshine across Sweden this week, with a warm front moving in from Russia and temperatures of up to 25C. READ  

International police hunt
Swedish killer arrested after European hunt
Photo: Police

Swedish killer arrested after European hunt

UPDATED: Police arrested a man on Tuesday afternoon after he went missing from a psychiatric ward in western Sweden at the weekend. The man had been convicted of murdering a five-year-old schoolgirl in 2003. READ  

Music
The five best Swedish songs of the month
Swedish singer Tove Lo. Photot: TT

The five best Swedish songs of the month

The summer may be (almost) over but the music will keep on playing here at The Local. Our resident music guru Paul Connolly will be selecting his top new Swedish tracks for us in a new monthly feature. READ  

Hedgehog pet craze sweeps Sweden

Hedgehog pet craze sweeps Sweden

African pygmy hedgehogs are being bought by growing numbers of Swedes, as a trend for keeping exotic pets sweeps the country, the Department for Animal Welfare and Health tells The Local. READ  

Poisonous mushrooms cause stir in Sweden
The mushroom in this picture is not the same as the one from the story. Photo: Shutterstock

Poisonous mushrooms cause stir in Sweden

A person selling freshly-picked mushrooms in Gothenburg has come under fire after it turned out the delicacies were not only poisonous but also hallucinogenic. READ  

Pirate Bay founder case starts in confusion

Pirate Bay founder case starts in confusion

The largest hacking case in Danish history began in confusion on Tuesday, after lawyers representing Swedish Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm Warg accused the prosecution of "unreasonable" tactics. READ  

Swedfund joins H&M in Ethiopia expansion

Swedfund joins H&M in Ethiopia expansion

As H&M expands into Ethiopia, Sweden's state venture capital unit Swedfund has announced that it will back the clothing giant, in a move hoped to create more jobs for local women. READ  

Elections 2014
Social Democrats reveal election manifesto
Photo: TT

Social Democrats reveal election manifesto

UPDATED: Sweden's main opposition party the Social Democrats has revealed its election manifesto at a press conference at a high school in Stockholm, with a key focus on education and welfare benefits. READ  

Teen run over by train after 'shoplifting' chase

Teen run over by train after 'shoplifting' chase

A teenage boy is in a critical condition after he was hit by a passing metro train in Stockholm. The accident ground rail traffic to a halt, and has police suspecting attempted murder. READ  

Swimrun
Record win at Sweden's tough island race
Photo: Jakob Edholm/ÖTILLÖ14

Record win at Sweden's tough island race

Two Swedes crushed last year's course record at the Swimrun world championship in Stockholm's archipelago on Monday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
The five best Swedish songs of the month
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
National
Huge clear up underway after Skåne floods
Politics
Sweden's Alliance reveals full manifesto
Tech
Sweden's highest peak to lose title next year
Blog updates

02 September

America night (Blogweiser) »

" There was an event this weekend for the ‘Americans in Sweden’ Facebook group. I’m a member, and I brought my girls to the evening. The gathering was at a Boston-themed sportsbar in a mall. There were loads of screens, a bowling alley, a game room and a jumbotron. It was as good a place as any to..." READ »

 

25 August

Hit och dit, här och där (The Swedish Teacher) »

" Hej igen! A common challenge for Swedish language students are the location adverbs hit/här, dit/där, hem/hemma etc. Some of the location adverbs come in two versions. We should use one type of location adverb when we use a verb describes where we are, and we should use the other type of location adverb when we the verb..." READ »

 
 
 
Politics
How immigration became a key election issue
Society
Brit's life in Sweden becomes BBC radio show
Gallery
People-watching August 27
Gallery
Top ten false friends in Swedish
National
Roma advocate scoops Wallenberg prize
Society
Meet the man who made a Swedish store recall its high heels for kids
Business & Money
'How I came to run my own business in Sweden'
Politics
Expert explains why Sweden's election oozes uncertainty
National
City plays Schindler's List theme at Nazi rally
Society
For Stockholm Fashion Week, here's the A-Z of Swedish fashion
National
'Amnesiac' man avoids deportation for ten years
Gallery
Princess Estelle through the years
Business & Money
Swedish city all set for six-hour workday trial
Business & Money
Five golden rules for the Swedish job hunt
Sponsored Article
Graduates: Insure your income in Sweden with AEA
Gallery
People-watching August 22-24
National
Armed royal guards caught (very) drunk on the job
National
Sweden orders textbook on Roma discrimination
Gallery
Violent anti-Nazi demonstrations in Malmö
Society
A closer look at Sweden's five official minority languages
Sponsored Article
Find out what gives this Swedish school executive appeal
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Housing in Stockholm
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

757
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