Blue Peace Middle East
The Middle East water sector faces a series of major challenges. Uncontrolled population growth, large-scale migration, rapid urbanisation, climate change, land-use changes and shifting economic realities all impact the region’s water resources and related services. All countries in the Middle East face severe water shortages.
From 1960 to 2010, river flows in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey have decreased between 50-90%. In many places, water withdrawals exceed availability, resulting in gradual water resource depletion and land degradation. Water use is often inefficient, particularly in the agricultural sector, which consumes 90% of the region’s water. Climate change is likely to place further pressure on these dwindling water resources, inevitably impacting the regional economy and potentially exacerbating political turmoil and triggering conflict.
The Blue Peace Middle East Initiative works to transform water from a source of crisis into a catalyst for socioeconomic development, cooperation and peace in the region. Combining policy with hands-on technical expertise, the initiative engages key stakeholders to help develop collaborative solutions for sustainable regional water management.
The Blue Peace Middle East Initiative has become the first regionally owned water cooperation mechanism in the modern history of the Middle East. It is led by collective leadership from Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iran, and, to an extent, Syria, and overseen by the Turkish Water Institute (SUEN) acting as the Initiative’s Coordination Office for a period of two years until the end of 2020.
The Blue Peace Middle East Initiative sets forth a new form of peace, based on a common vision of prosperity for the region’s population, as well as a more sustainable balance between nature and society.
Blue Peace Middle East focusses on four key challenges to sustainable water management in the region:
Improving the reliability of water resources data collection
Enhancing capacity building and confidence building
Developing dialogue among partner countries
Ensuring efficient water management
The Blue Peace Middle East initiative has resulted in:
Numerous formal agreements including the initial substantive focus for joint research and the establishment of the Coordination Office at the Turkish Water Institute (SUEN).
Check out the SDC Factsheet on the Regional Coordination Mechanism.
The publication of a vision document, Benefits of Cooperation in the Middle East, providing recommendations and outlining the capacity of water to support peace in the region.
Targeted action to support transboundary cooperation on the ground, among others the rehabilitation of a monitoring station between Iraq and Turkey, to support data-based joint decision-making.
Check out the corresponding SDC Factsheet.
Increased media coverage on water cooperation more broadly and the new Blue Peace Middle East Initiative, through the development of a Media Lab.
Check out the Water Stories page, and the corresponding SDC Factsheet.
Visit the Blue Peace Middle East initiative site > and the corresponding SDC Factsheet.
NewsCooperation centred on water, environment imperative for regional stability — experts (The Jordan Times, 2019) Will rivers of peace flow in the Middle East? (An-Nahar, 2018) Water wars won’t be won on a battlefield (The Hill, 2018) Turkey to lead regional countries in water cooperation (Hurriyet Daily News, 2018) Transboundary water a tool for peace in Middle East: Experts (Daily Sabah, 2017) Cooperation centred on water, environment imperative for regional stability — experts (The Jordan Times, 2017) Mediating Blue Peace in the Middle East (Global Geneva, 2017) Water as a force for peace (The Independent, 2017) Wars will not be fought over water – our thirst could pave the way to peace (The Guardian, 2017)