Water and the future of the Middle East Mediterranean

The Yarmuk river, between Syria and Jordan (Heather Elaydi)
The Yarmuk river, between Syria and Jordan (Heather Elaydi)

Institutional Communication Service

21 August 2018

The international media report every day on the crises in the Mediterranean and in the Middle East, from the Arab Springs that occurred at the beginning of the decade to the war in Syria and the migrations towards Europe. Among the many issues that are inherent to this complex situation, there one that concerns all: the supply of water.

Water is an asset that unites us on this planet, which is also called the "blue planet". Our total dependence on its limited availability and quality means that this resource is invaluable. While some predict conflicts over its supply, others see adequate availability of and access to water as a basis for intensifying dialogue and cooperation, which are prerequisites for more peaceful societies.

The theme of water is very dear to the Swiss Agency for Cooperation and Development (SDC) of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, which promotes the Blue Peace initiative and has been committed for many years to promoting a positive approach to water-related challenges. The DSC has launched and supports the Blue Peace project, a global movement highlighting initiatives on water, peace, security and cooperation, bringing together the many activities undertaken by different entities (universities, cultural organisations, political authorities, diplomatic forces, civil society and private enterprises) at different levels (from local to global). Water will be one of the many topics to be addressed at the first Middle East Mediterranean Summer Summit. To underscore the relevance of the topic, on the evening of Saturday, August 25, there will also be a public performance of the Blue Peace Orchestra, a heterogeneous ensemble of classical, jazz and world music artists, which will play the "Symphony for Water and Peace", in the court of the City Hall in Lugano.

The MEM Summer Summit, devised by Università della Svizzera italiana (USI) with the joint support of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and of the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, has the ambition to encourage a realistic and constructive narrative of the Middle East Mediterranean (MEM), addressing the situation in an innovative and tangible way. From August 16 to 26, Lugano will welcome 150 young “change makers” from over 30 countries of the Middle East Mediterranean and Europe, political authorities, managers, entrepreneurs and intellectuals, to discuss and propose solutions aiming at developing an open dialogue and growth in the region.


Further information at: www.mem-summersummit.ch

Interview of Ambassador Pio Wennubst, Assistant Director General at the DSC