Dakar, Senegal, 22 March 2022 – Encouraging more science-based decisions will be critical in addressing the challenges of water security in Member Countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Top experts from the water sector stated this during a session jointly organized by the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), and the League of Arab States during the 9th World Water Forum taking place in Senegal from 21-26 March 2022. The theme of the panel discussion was “Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation for Water Security in OIC Member Countries.”
Speaking during the session, Dr. Daouda Ndiaye, Lead Climate Adaptation Specialist at IsDB, stated that climate finance will contribute greatly to addressing challenges in the water sector because the two are linked. He told participants during the session that IsDB is engaged in capacity building to support the implementation of national adaptation plans in countries like Benin, Burkina Faso, and Mali.
Ambassador Shahira Wahbi from the League of Arab States, and panelists during the side event stated that water security is a serious challenge as 50% of Arab countries are water-stressed and the population of Arab countries has reached 390 million people. Elsewhere in her remarks, she urged for embracing science-based decision making.
Among the challenges identified during the panel discussion was the heavy reliance on the desalination of water, especially in the GCC Countries stated by Dr. Tarek Muhammed Soliman of Naif Arab University for Security-Sciences, Kingdom of Saudi Saudi Arabia. He proposed that more innovative solutions are needed to ensure water security in GCC Countries.
Dr. Debjyoty Mukherjee from the African Development Bank called for the development of manuals that will guide countries on how to improve water security, while Dr. Monica Altaminaro from NOW Partners dwelt on the important role of the private sector in bridging the financing gap in water and sanitation. In the words of Dr. Khalil Ammar from the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture, institutions should work together to seek sustainable water solutions.
In his concluding remarks, Dr. Fouad Al Ayni from ISESCO stated that the ideas presented during the panel discussion will be useful in coming up with a roadmap on how to ensure water security in OIC Countries.