The world’s water consumption is likely to surge over the next few decades, as rapidly growing populations, continuing industrialisation and the quickening pace of urbanisation place ever greater demands on water supplies. Climate change is also likely to affect water supplies, with both desertification and flooding posing real threats to water security. The Levant region is particularly vulnerable to these risks. Water shortages are already common across the region with some governments even forced to restrict supplies.
Water shortages are often claimed to have contributed to state instability, conflict and state failure as competition over resources increases.
Improvements in cross-regional and multi-sectoral partnerships, infrastructure, and research will help to foster more resilient water supplies in the region. The role of science and innovation in achieving this is crucial.
Science and innovation are increasingly recognised as engines of growth and development. This meeting addressed the potential of collaboration to drive water innovation in the Levant region, drawing on case studies from both the Levant and elsewhere to highlight opportunities offered by investment in R&D, innovative business strategies and original partnerships.
Participants discussed questions such as how research collaboration both across the region and internationally can propel scientific and technological advances in water in the Levant and beyond.
The meeting aimed at the following specific objectives:
- Provide a platform for scientists and actors working in water innovation to share ideas and best practice that could help to address water challenges in the Levant
- Facilitate scientific partnerships across Levant and wider MENA countries in order to address water challenges comprehensively
- Build strategic, cross-regional relationships through the networking opportunities of the meeting
- Contribute to building a culture of collaboration in the Levant, promoting cross regional co-operation on transboundary water issues and dialogue on wider water concerns
- Provide an opportunity to showcase the innovative trilateral research funded under the Science and Innovation Network Trilateral Water Programme