The weather in Istanbul is improving. Still cold and a little windy but more sun than early on in the week. The spirit is still high but towards the end of an intense week participants are starting to look a little drained.
Despite going towards the end of the Forum, yesterday’s and today’s session on transboundary waters brought up a lot of emotions and resulted in intense discussion. Acting as a co-chair of the introducing transboundary session on basin management and hydrosolidarity it almost felt as if I was caught in the cross-fire. Seemingly semantic questions on whether to use terms such as ‘international waters’ or ‘transboundary waters’, ‘sharing water’ or ‘sharing benefits’ were areas for passionate debate. The organizers of the transboundary theme of the week – UNESCO and INBO – certainly face a challenge in summarizing the key results and outcomes. One does not envy them.
Last night I also chaired a session organized by the Palestinian Water Authority in which an option for an inclusive (including all five riparians – Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory) Jordan Basin future may look that, over time, will put all parties better off in terms of water availability. While the concept is thought-provoking and received positive responses from various parts of the basin the idea may well be hostage to political developments. This event will be followed up at a seminar during the World Water Week in Stockholm in August.
Today I talked at a session organized by the Euphrates Tigris Initiative for Co-operation (ETIC) about so called ‘track two’ initiatives and presented the Transboundary Waters Opportunity (TWO) Analysis that SIWI has been developing with colleagues in Namibia (PRA) and South Africa (CSIR). The presentation gained a positive response and the conceptual framework of the TWO analysis will be utilized in by the ETIC network.
Tomorrow - the final day of the Forum – coincides with the UN World Water Day with the theme – Shared water – shared opportunities where SIWIs Executive Director Anders Berntell will take part.
The days here start early and have a tendency to end very late. I do not foresee that this day will be any different. I am quite happy that it is only one day left…..
by Anders Jägerskog, Project Director, SIWI