MENA Region

The Middle East and North Africa is the most water-scarce region in the world. It is a global hotspot of unsustainable water use, especially of groundwater. In some countries, more than half of current water withdrawals exceed what is naturally available; 82% of wastewater is not recycled, presenting a massive opportunity to meet water demands; The region has the greatest expected economic losses for climate-related water scarcity; Despite its scarcity, the region has the world’s lowest water tariffs; Flood and drought risks are increasing and are likely to harm the poor disproportionately; Some 60% of surface water resources in the region are transboundary, and all countries share at least one aquifer, highlighting the importance of cooperative management of shared water resources.

Local water and sanitation service providers have a tremendous role to play in turning this situation around. In the MENA region, some operators have championed local solutions; Regional exchange of expertise and know-how will play a key role in facing the challenges of water scarcity and climate change impacts.

“Abu Dhabi Department of Energy supports GWOPA’s Secretariat in Regional Mapping Initiative in the MENA region, that includes a regional action plan of capacity building for utilities presented at WUF10.”


  • Building awareness on the potential of WOPs to address capacity gaps. WOPs are effectively executed and scaled up.
  • Coordinate a regional consultation process on utilities and water scarcity, which will result in an action plan to which various organizations will contribute. The action plan is presented at a donors’ round table at WUF 2020 for operationalization and funding.
  • The action plan is presented at a donors’ round table at WUF 2020 for operationalization and funding.
  • Build awareness about current good practice and needs in addressing water scarcity in the MENA region.

Description of actions

  • Activity 1 Documentation of WOPs good practice, WOP case studies
  • Activity 2 Organization of Expert Group Meetings (EGMs) on partnering processes and lessons learned from current GWOPA’s initiative in collaboration with regional partners
  • Activity 3 Organization of dedicated WOPs session during World Urban Forum WUF10
  • Activity 4 Support to the organization of the 4th Global WOPs Congress

Outcome note of 1st Expert Group Meeting