Egypt’s Irrigation Minister Hani Sweilam asserted that the Cairo Water Week offers a chance for unifying international efforts to confront water challenges in light of climate change.
The event – held under the patronage of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi – is also an opportunity to enhance cooperation, exchange scientific and technical expertise, encourage innovative ideas for confronting water challenges and spread awareness about the issue.
Addressing the opening session on Sunday, he said the event organizes several activities to enhance social awareness about the issue.
He said the meeting comes at a time when the world is facing increasing challenges to meet water needs and ensure its sustainability, especially in light of bloating population and continued human development, which entails an increase in demand for water.
The issue is not limited to population growth and urbanization alone, but climate change worldwide affects the water sector in all countries, with many economic repercussion, he highlighted.
In 2021, 3.2 billion people around the world faced food insecurity, including 924 million people who experienced acute food insecurity, he noted.
He added that the World Meteorological Organization database unveiled that more than 110 million people in Africa in 2022 were directly affected by weather, climate, and water-related risks, resulting in economic damage exceeding $8 billion and 5,000 reported deaths, with 48% of them related to drought and 43% related to floods.
He highlighted the impact of wars on supplying people with the necessary needs for life, such as water, food, and electricity, as is the case in the Gaza Strip.
In addition to the ongoing aggression on the occupied Palestinian territories, which claimed the lives of more than 7,000 people in just three weeks, the deterioration of humanitarian conditions and the loss of basic needs for life make this number very likely to increase.
Choosing the topic of the Sixth Cairo Water Week, “Action on Water Adaptation for Sustainability,” builds on the outputs and recommendations of the Fifth Cairo Water Week last year, “Water at the Heart of Climate Action,” with an aim to mobilize international efforts to place the water file at the top of the global climate agenda.
Egypt is perhaps the best example of countries suffering from water and climate change challenges, therefore Egypt is deeply interested in these files, he said.
He noted that the recommendations of the event will be referred to the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), due to be held in November in the UAE.