Regional Initiatives

Since 2011, regional Blue Peace initiatives have been established to strengthen a regional vision for water resource management and engage political leaders, media and the general public on issues relating to water cooperation.

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.

Blue Peace Middle East

Background

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 Initiative

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.

  • 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.

  • Increased media coverage on water cooperation more broadly and the new Blue Peace Middle East Initiative.

Visit the Blue Peace Middle East initiative site >