Topic outline

  • The Mediterranean pathway

    Within the Mediterranean Region, cooperation in the water sector is currently defined through the following frameworks:

    (i) Mediterranean countries that are Member States of the European Union or accession countries cooperate according to the parameters defined by the European Water Acquis.

    (ii) Countries in the Western Mediterranean cooperate through the 5+5 water agenda at a high political level.  Non-Conventional Water Resources (NCWR) are a priority within the 5+5 water agenda, and initiatives to support their mainstreaming, like the Western Mediterranean Water Academy, are planned.

    (iii) Countries in the Mediterranean (and the EU) cooperate through the Union for the Mediterranean’s Water Agenda according to a regional policy framework based on the nexus approach that addresses  a) the Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystem (WEFE) nexus; b) the Water Employment and Migration (WEM) nexus; c) Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) nexus; d) the Water and Climate Change Adaptation (WCCA) nexus, complemented by a regional financial strategy for identifying financing opportunities for the regional water sector. 

    This regional policy framework addresses the mainstreaming of NCWR in water management planning through transversal actions under each nexus.

    Whilst existing regional frameworks do address the main water management challenges of the Mediterranean Region, the top-down communication between these high-level policy frameworks and actions on the ground in the Mediterranean Member States is considerably argued. 


    A structure and a mechanism, to establish cross linkages between different initiatives, actions and activities undertaken in the Mediterranean are proposed. This will address silos and support a major cross-fertilisation, enabling a greater positive impact on the water sector and correlated dimensions at the regional level.

    The main action is related to the establishment of the necessary structures to link these high-level policy frameworks with the Communities of Practice - CoPs working in the water sector, and to spread the collaboration among CoPs. This horizontal expansion will enable a more solid bond with a higher level of decision-making for the future development of the Mediterranean Water Management Framework.

    This system will conceive a more effective process and will optimize the already existing framework, ultimately enabling a broader impact in the mainstreaming of NCWR while planning policies, since they will be more concretely directed towards the needs of the Med region.

    In this view, the facilitation of a bottom-up process is a prerequisite that leads to:

    a) easier        horizontal    relations/communication      among    same-role    insiders (technicians, directors, experts, etc.) across the MED countries;

    b) reinforcement of capacity building activities involving experts, stakeholders, and general public within Living Labs (LLs);

    c) set-up of a common place of discussion for the Mediterranean Community of Practice to create connections with high level EU decision makers, technology, and market experts within the current Regulatory Framework.

    This process also aims to break the prevailing tendency of “working in isolation” in the region, not only by encouraging the creation of CoPs and horizontal projects that link together all of those small projects (i.e., potential LLs) working separately on different NCWR challenges, but more importantly also by linking up horizontal initiatives across the funding programmes, (ENI CBC MED, PRIMA, etc.) to keep supporting increased experience sharing and policy development at a regional (Mediterranean) level, thus amplifying the impact of results achieved.  

    In addressing these complex interlinkages, the current regional Inter-Governmental policy frameworks should be supported through the establishment of a regional CoP working on specific water management issues – in alignment with the priorities of the regional policy framework.

    MEDWAYCAP is itself a validated model on how a horizontal CoP can be established and showcases its relevance in harmonizing policy and funded initiatives to strengthen the impact and the value of innovative integrated NCW management solutions (Figure 1). [K1]

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