NEW YORK: The member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) underscored the importance of the initiatives aimed at reinforcing scientific and technological cooperation and exchange of expertise in water field and the unrestricted provision of water technologies for developing countries at preferential prices.
This was stated by Dr Mohammed bin Awadh al Hassan, Permanent Representative of the Sultanate of Oman to the United Nations, when he delivered a statement on behalf of the GCC countries at the UN 2023 Water Conference, held at UN Headquarters from March 22-24.
In his statement, the Permanent Representative of the Sultanate of Oman to the United Nations pointed that despite adverse environmental and climatic conditions suffered by the Gulf region which is classified among the most arid and water-stressed regions of the world, the region has made remarkable achievements in providing water in a sustainable manner to meet the needs of current and future generations, and keep pace with steady population growth rapid urbanisation and development. Such an achievement represents a source of pride and an evidence of attention accorded by the governments of the GCC countries for providing the basics of a dignified and safe life for their citizens.
He explained that 40 per cent of the production of potable water and water for agricultural and industrial purposes through desalination plants is in the Gulf region, confirming that the GCC countries have been able to achieve 100 per cent of the sustainable development and that all the population should have access to drinking water and sanitation services.
The Permanent Representative of the Sultanate of Oman to the United Nations spoke about several initiatives embraced by the GCC countries to strengthen environmental systems, meet the growing demand for water, achieve efficient water supply and recycling, reduce leakage rates in water networks, and increase societal awareness of the importance of water including about the water strategy of GCC countries. These include the GCC Water Interconnection Network Feasibility Study Project, the Saudi Green Initiative and the Green Middle East, the Middle East Water Desalination Centre, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology initiative to use solar energy for seawater desalination, the Masdar initiative for renewable energy for water desalination, and Qatar’s Kahramaa’s initiatives for sustainable development, and the Water Valorization and Inspired initiatives of the Kingdom of Bahrain.
The Permanent Representative called on governments and the private sector to invest in the water sector in a manner that enhances the national capabilities of countries, especially in the field of technical and vocational training, operation and maintenance, rehabilitation of stations, manufacturing of spare parts, and qualification of national labour. The goals, he said, are to conserve groundwater and strategic reserves, reuse of treated wastewater and to fully integrate treated water into comprehensive water resources management plans. — ONA