Key role of Nexus approach highlighted at the 1st Mediterranean Green Week

At the 1st Mediterranean Green Week, co-organised by the Union for the Mediterranean and the OECD in Istanbul, the key role of the WEFE Nexus approach in tackling major Mediterranean challenges was highlighted, especially through partnerships such as the joint efforts under the GEF UNEP/MAP MedProgramme in promoting environmental security and building resilience against climate change.

The 1st Mediterranean Green Week: Towards a Greener and More Resilient Mediterranean, co- organised by the Union for the Mediterranean and the OECD took place in Istanbul, Turkey between 14-16 May 2024. Approximately 150 participants including country officials, representatives of the private sector and members of the academia gathered to discuss how to collaboratively tackle the region’s interlinked climate, energy, and environmental crises.

On May15 a session was dedicated to the WEFE Nexus approach and the key role it can play for sustainable development in the Region. The adoption of an integrated and coordinated approach across the Water, Energy, Food and Ecosystems sectors in a source-to-sea continuum for the management of natural resources has been increasingly recognized to promote environmental security and build resilience against climate change.

Ms. Tatjana Hema: UNEP/MAP Coordinator: 

In the opening high-level segment, UNEP/MAP Coordinator Ms. Tatjana Hema noted the added value and prospects of the WEFE Nexus approach for supporting effective and synergistic management of natural resources, in the framework of the Barcelona Convention system and the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development (MSSD), as included in the recent COP23 Med Ministerial Declaration in Slovenia.


H.E. Dr. Walid Fayad- Minister of Energy and Water, Lebanon: 

H.E. Dr. Walid Fayad- Minister of Energy and Water, Lebanon referred to the challenges that Lebanon is facing, confirming the Ministry’s engagement “in the WEFE Nexus Policy Dialogue carried out in our country with the support of the Global Water Partnership-Mediterranean (GWP-Med) in the framework of GEF UNEP/MAP  MedProgramme.” He then went on to stress that “one of the key achievements that we are proud of and that we count on is the creation of the WEFE Inter-Ministerial Group that is led by our Ministry and facilitated by GWP-Med, with one specific target to develop a WEFE Nexus Plan that will identify common priorities and outline joint actions. Dr. Fayad emphasised the importance of collaboration and stated that  “together with our partners from around the Mediterranean, the Ministry is looking forward to quickly implementing the next stages of a WEFE Nexus using the Source-to-Sea Management approaches in Lebanon, a very important approach to have a bigger impact.”

The key role of the WEFE Nexus approach was also highlighted in the welcoming remarks of Mr. Almotaz Abadi, UfM Deputy Secretary General in charge of Water, Environment and Blue Economy, and of Mr. Patrick Wegerdt, DG Environment of the European Commission.

Professor Michael Scoullos, GWP-Med Chairperson: 

The keynote speech was given by Prof. Michael Scoullos, GWP-Med Chairperson, who underlined that Systems thinking should be applied in policy development and management, as an appropriate means to seek solutions. Professor Scoullos mentioned the need for collaboration in governance, policy development and planning among basic, coastal and marine areas so as to promote integrated management of the Water, Energy, Food and Ecosystems sectors across the source-to-sea continuum to enhance security and resilience.

Mr. Tassos Krommydas, Senior Programme Officer GWP-Med:

In the panel discussion that followed, Mr. Tassos Krommydas, Senior Programme Officer at GWP-Med presented the draft WEFE Nexus Strategy for the Mediterranean currently being developed, and highlighted the key dimension of the WEFE Nexus approach (in line with the “no harm principle”) for ensuring that activities or subsidies under each of the WEFE sectors do not lead to harm to any of the other sectors.

During the panel discussion:

-        Ms. Jamila El Mir, Senior advisor to H.E. Razan Al Mubarak presented “breakthrough initiatives” related to water, energy, land and ocean.

-        Mr. Jauad El Kharraz, Executive Director of the Regional Center for Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency, spoke from the energy perspective and outlined the role of the private sector.

-        Ms. Yosra Albakkar, Senior Manager, South Asia and MENA, Pathfinder International, provided insights on the role of civil society, local stakeholders and the gender perspective

-        Mr. Sukru Esin, Mediterranean Youth for Water Network presented experiences and opportunities for the role of youth in water management with cross-sectoral benefits.

-        Mr. Ali Rhouma, Project Officer, PRIMA Foundation, focused on the Food perspective and elaborated on the impact evaluation of WEFE Nexus.

Apart from the Nexus Session, the Med Green Week provided the platform for participants to discuss how to collectively tackle these major common challenges that the Region is facing in order to build a resilient Mediterranean. During the deliberations, the need for the engagement of local society, youth and women was also discussed in an effort to ensure that the proposed solutions are realistic, implementable and customised to local needs.