The 1st Hamburg Water Forum for the EMA Region
In a very successful event, the Water Forum 2010 was launched on the 11th of March in the historic ambiance of the Chamber of Commerce in Hamburg. Under the patronage of the Federal Minister for Economy and Technology, Rainer Brüderle, it served as a platform to discuss new ways for an efficient and sustainable use of water in the EMA-Region and to lay the groundwork for future cooperation.
“Clean water is a fundamental right for everyone,” proclaimed Dr. Karl-Joachim Dreyer in his opening speech at the Water Forum, instantly making the link to the special character of Hamburg where water has been instrumental in shaping the historic and economic development as in no other German city. EMA-President, Prof. Dr. Horst H. Siedentopf, underlined this fact in his conclusion that the Water Forum would be “the beginning of a lasting partnership for the development of water and for the welfare of all parties concerned.”
“No Water – No Money – No Life"
Guest of honor and president of the Arab Water Council, His Excellency Prof. Dr. Mahmoud Abu-Zeid, pointed out, that the questions concerning the use of water were not only economic but illustrated the vital role of water as a basic resource of life with his statement “No Water – No Money – No Life".
The Near- and Middle East is the region with the greatest water shortage in the world, where the impact of climate change is causing more than average effects. Thus, the improvement of the management and use of local water resources is a great challenge for the countries of the EMA-region. Against this background, the key topics of the Water Forum were the sustainable use of water, in particular the conditioning of water, the use of grey water and the management of sewers.
Close cooperation as the key to global, sustainable solutions
Economic, scientific, social and political representatives presented their experiences in the framework of six different panels and expressed their views on the possibilities and problems of a sustainable water economy in the EMA-region. The participants discussed technical innovations and the political framework, as well as possibilities of financial investment and aid in the water sector. In this context, the experts stressed the progress which the region has made over the last few years. All of the 250 participants as well as the 10 exhibitors shared the opinion, that the problems of water scarcity and water distribution could only be overcome by close cooperation of all parties concerned seeing as in light of the steady growth of the world´s population, an exchange of knowledge and technology will be decisive. Concerning the question of the implementation of binding rules for the conditioning of water it was concluded that more debates will be necessary. However, the need for a Euro-Mediterranean knowledge transfer – especially in the field of rules for the conditioning of water – was explicitly affirmed.
The close of the conference was held in the solemn city hall of Hamburg, where the participants were greeted by the director of the Senate´s chancellery, Mr. Stefan Helms. In his speech Mr. Helms underlined the importance of the Water Forum for the city and expressed his wish for an ever closer relationship between Hamburg and the countries of the EMA-region. The culmination of the occasion was marked by the signing of a cooperation agreement between the EMA and the Arab Water Council, represented by Prof. Dr. Horst H. Siedentopf and His Excellency Prof. Dr. Mahmoud Abu-Zeid, respectively. Similarly, the breaks and conclusion of the day gave the participants of the event the opportunity to exchange contact details and discuss joint projects.
The following day gave all interested participants the opportunity to visit the largest facility for wastewater treatment in Germany, the Klärwerk Köhlbrandhöft followed by a concluding social gathering in a laid-back atmosphere in the evening.