The Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, participated on Monday, 11 March 2019, in the 13th Gulf Water Conference in Kuwait, under the patronage of HH Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Prime Minister of the State of Kuwait, and in the presence of HE Dr. Hamid Al-Azmi, Minister of Education and Higher Education and HH representative, with the participation of senior officials, experts, and specialists of the GCC water entities.
In his speech at the opening session, The Secretary-General praised the efforts exerted by the GCC Water Science and Technology Association to meet the challenges related to water, and its constructive role as one of the civil society institutions active in spreading awareness on the rational use of water. He commended as well the GCC water entities efforts to ensure water security.
Dr. Al-Zayani stressed that the GCC states spare no effort in preserving and diversifying water resources, in accordance with the wise directives of their Majesties and Highnesses, the GCC leaders, calling for the need to integrate the GCC states in this vital field to save efforts and money, through major projects to provide water through desalination of seawater, meeting the requirements of urban development plans and projects, and growing population.
The Secretary-General added that the GCC has adopted a comprehensive long-term water strategy, approved by their Majesties and Highnesses, leaders of the GCC states, at the GCC Summit held in the Kingdom of Bahrain in December 2016, which included all areas of achieving water security and sustainability, present and future. The strategy also included initiatives and programs at the joint and national levels of action, as well as ways to adjust these plans to the water strategies of each GCC member state.
Dr. Al-Zayani also pointed out that the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques vision to enhance the GCC joint work stressed the importance of coordinating efforts, exchanging experiences, and proposing policies to preserve the GCC marine environment, deal with desertification and depletion of groundwater, And climate change. He referred in this regard to a number of proposals submitted by the GCC committee of water resources affiliated to the GCC Committee of Electrical and Water Cooperation to preserve and protect aquifers as strategic sources of drinking water, and develop a strategy for the sustainable management of groundwater resources.
The Secretary-General said that the issue of water is one of the outstanding international issues, to which the United Nations attaches great importance to, and has included in the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015 (Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation), stressing that water scarcity affects more than 40 percent of people around the world.
Dr. Al-Zayani stressed in his speech that the provision of clean, adequate and affordable water for human consumption is a shared national responsibility, shared by governments, individuals, private sectors, universities, research centers, media and civil society organizations to face all regional challenges related to water and its increase cost financially, economically and environmentally.
The Secretary-General also expressed his hope to find non-traditional solutions, support and encourage innovation at the levels of strategic planning, management and operation to save and maintain water. He pointed out the importance of self-reliance to enhance the industry and the development of desalination technology, and accurately monitoring water pollution causes. In addition to intensify the rationalize consumption awareness and education efforts through well-informed media campaigns.