News10 November 2023
The 6th Cairo Water Week (CWW), held in Egypt from 29 October to 2 November 2023, coincided with a Dutch-Egyptian Expert-Level Water Panel meeting. As part of the long-standing bilateral cooperation on water between the Netherlands and Egypt, a Dutch delegation attended CWW. Rob Steijn, Supervisory Board Chairman of the Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP), joined the delegation and was part of the Panel.
After hosting the United Nations Conference of Parties on Climate Change (COP 27) in November 2022 at Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt is continuing the discussion around climate change adaptation and sustainability through the Cairo Water Week 2023. Recognised as the outstanding water event in Egypt and the Middle East, this year’s main theme was 'Action on Water Adaptation for Sustainability'.
Led by Meike van Ginneken, the Special Water Envoy for the Kingdom of the Netherlands, a Dutch delegation was present at the CWW to promote cooperation with Egyptian and other international partners, and explore opportunities for the Dutch water sector.
Many NWP members, including Deltares, Wageningen University and Research, and IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, held and participated in numerous sessions during the event. Deltares held a session on The International Panel on Deltas and Coastal Areas (IPDC) programme.
The Netherlands Commission for Environmental Assessment also played an active role at the CWW. All in all, the Dutch water sector presented itself in many ways and on many topics, with the aim of working with Egypt to help solve its water challenges.
Meike van Ginneken, the Special Water Envoy for the Kingdom of the Netherlands, at Cairo Water Week 2023.
Coinciding with CWW 2023, a Dutch-Egyptian Water Panel meeting was held on 29 October. This Panel plays an important role in the bilateral cooperation between the Netherlands and Egypt as it serves as a key platform for exchanging experiences and knowledge, boosting dialogue and a stronger partnership. The main goal of the Panel is to create a common understanding on how Egypt and the Netherlands can continue their bilateral and international cooperation on water.
The Panel meets at least once a year to discuss the progress of the partnership and to assess and implement future activities. Rob Steijn, NWP Supervisory Board Chairman, joined the recent Water Panel meeting. “Based on the many discussions held on a wide variety of water-related topics, it became clear that Egypt has good business opportunities for the Dutch water sector, particularly in the areas of desalination, water for food, and water reclamation. Integrated water resources management and coastal sand nourishment will also be future opportunities,” says Steijn.
The meeting was combined with a field visit to a nature-based initiative consisting of low dunes along the north coast to reduce damage caused by coastal flooding, and an active role in panel meetings at the Cairo Water Week. The latter included a high level panel on Fresh Water Management where Steijn shared information on freshwater management in the Netherlands.
In addition, both the Water Panel meeting and Cairo Water Week gave Steijn the opportunity to follow up on the findings of the ‘Challenges and opportunities in the water sector in Egypt’ report – a study conducted this year by NWP at the request of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Cairo. The report presents Egyptian and Dutch perspectives, opinions, and recommendations on Egypt’s water sector and acts as a guide for Dutch businesses that would like to understand what is happening in the untapped water market in Egypt.
Low dunes in the north coast of Egypt.
Egypt and the Netherlands have worked closely together on a range of water issues over the last 48 years. The Partners for Water Programme of the Government of the Netherlands strengthens bilateral water cooperation through an approach called the Delta countries approach. This water cooperation aims to increase water productivity and reduce vulnerability to the effects of climate change. In addition, both countries try to learn from each other’s water-related challenges.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), renewed in 2020, is the basis of this collaboration. It confirms, facilitates and promotes long-standing cooperation on urgent water issues focusing on three areas:
▪ integrated coastal zone management;
▪ water and agriculture; and
▪ water supply and sanitation.
For more information on the international collaboration between the Netherland and Egypt, and the opportunities for the Dutch water sector on the Egyptian market, contact NWP Project Manager, Sabrina Kraaijenbrink-Doetjes.