Egypt’s 2nd National Steering Committee (NSC) meeting was held in Cairo’s Center for Environment and Development for The Arab Region and Europe (CEDARE) which brought members together to share achievements, challenges, and guide future strategies on the 18th of December, 2019.
At the beginning of the meeting, Dr. Khaled AbuZeid CEDARE’s regional water resources director inaugurated the meeting by welcoming the National Steering Committee members. The head of IWMI MENA’s office in Cairo Dr. Amgad ElMahdi the International Water Management Institute’s (IWMI) head of MENA region also welcomed the members and thanked them for attending the meeting and for their contribution to the project.
Dr. Gihan Bayoumi the regional ReWater MENA project manager from IWMI, presented a brief introduction on the project including the project outputs and expected outcomes.
Ms. Bezaiet Dessalegn of ICARDA gave a presentation (included in Annex) on the progress of their contribution to the ReWater MENA project. The presentation focused on two main topics, the first is the national baseline assessment report where an overview on the contents of the report were presented and discussed along with information regarding the missing data and the difficulties to obtain such data. The second part of the presentation was about the site characterizations for the selected two sites in Kafr El-Sheikh and Luxor with information about the nearby wastewater treatment plants for each location and information regarding the targeted land. Ms. Dessalegn stressed on the importance of a cost-benefit analysis to be carried in order to be able to judge the project economically and investment packages were felt needed. For the sites, testing the national reuse code was thought needed for the research at the selected sites. It was agreed that the site reports were to be circulated to SC members.
Dr. Hussein Elatfy, the Secretary General of the Arab Water Council (AWC), presented an update on the AWC’s project activities. The main focus of the presentation was the Science-Policy dialogues that will be an awareness instrument to convey a message to the policy-makers regarding the project activities and objectives. The first dialogue is expected to take place by the end of the second quarter of 2020 back to back with the Arab Water Ministers Council meetings to be held 21-24 June, 2020. It was proposed to hold it one day before which is Saturday, June 20th, 2020.
Dr. Elatfy gave some information regarding the preparations, the vision of the dialogue, a tentative agenda contents, key-note speakers and the prospect attendees.
Eng. Maged Ibrahim gave a presentation (included in Annex) on CEDARE’s role and progress. CEDARE is contributing to the Egyptian component of Output 3 (National plans for expansion of wastewater treatment and reuse in 3 countries) of the ReWater MENA project.
Dr. Sayed Abdelhafez representing the Ministry of Agriculture made an intervention highlighting the importance of wastewater for agriculture and food security. He stressed the importance of the legal and institutional aspects for the success of reuse programs while also considering any associated risks. He also emphasized the need for all governmental related institutions to speak the same language when it comes to reuse, and to show the economic aspects of reuse and how reuse contributes to circular economy. He indicated also that reuse is one of the 2030 SDGs targets.
Dr. Rifaat Abdel Wahab, the head sector, research and development, of HCWW, concluded the meeting with a number of suggestions to work around challenges in Egypt to optimize ReWater MENA project and such obstacles included institutional entanglement, security issues, accessibility to information and political constraints.