In the session organized on “Ecosystems, Wetlands and Sustainable Development in the Arab Region” on March 22nd, 2018 at the 8th World Water Forum in Brasilia, CEDARE, joined speakers from Egypt, Iraq, the League of Arab States, RAED, and the Arab Water Council in sharing their experience and views on the topic. CEDARE Water Resources Director, Khaled AbuZeid, indicated that Wetlands and Ecosystems are gaining attention through the RAMSAR Convention, the Nature-Based Solutions 2018 World Water Development Report, indicators in the Arab State of the Water Report by CEDARE and AWC, SDG 15 and SDG 6.6 which has a 2020 Target which is earlier than other SDGs that have targets in 2030.
He said that Ecosystems services are several including livelihood support, fishing, water purification, tourism, migratory routes stops, navigational transport, bird watching, controlled hunting, and water supply. “Engineered wetlands provide low cost technologies for wastewater treatment”, he added and that there is a need for balancing the increasing water demand for human beings which are also important ecosystems’ species, with the environmental water demand of ecosystems. He mentioned that Groundwater-based ecosystems and wetlands that may be depending on fossil groundwater need to be given due attention when planning other development activities that may cause groundwater depletion. He indicated that Ecosystem quality and quantity restoration projects are needed and a swap of treated wastewater for freshwater use for other developmental activities may provide viable solutions. He highlighted that the transboundary dimension of ecosystems protections need to be given adequate attention and included in Environmental Impact Assessment of infrastructures on transboundary waters supporting downstream ecosystems.