Cairo Water Week 2023: The Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation and UNDP Egypt hosts Roundtable Discussion on Water Reclamation and Desalination Technologies

November 2, 2023


Cairo, Egypt - October 31, 2023 – As part of Cairo Water Week, the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Egypt convened ajoint expert roundtable meeting. aimed at expediting efforts to address pressing global issues of freshwater scarcity and climate change adaptation through innovative water reclamation and desalination technologies.

The meeting brought together ministers, senior government officials from countries with substantial experience in desalination, international and regional organizations, private sector leading on desalination for irrigation, and high-level international experts.

H.E. Prof. Dr. Hani Sewilam, Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation in Egypt and President of the African Ministers' Council on Water underscored the global temperature rise and its detrimental impact on the world's water sector, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa region, home to 14 out of the 17 most water-scarce countries.

He added that “In Egypt, our limited water resources, coupled with a growing population, have pushed per capita water availability dangerously close to the scarcity threshold. To bridge this gap, we've initiated major projects to recycle agricultural wastewater and increased agricultural product imports." The Minister explained that “This underscores the significance of water desalination in food production, especially as agriculture remains the largest water consumer, aligning with the shift towards intensified food production with the same unit of water.”

UNDP Director of the Regional Bureau for Arab States, Abdallah Al Dardari, stressed that “Embracing water reclamation and desalination technologies not only guarantees water security but also empowers efficient irrigation practices, offering a sustainable lifeline for agriculture in the face of evolving environmental challenges.” Mr. Al Dardari, encouraged “Commercialization of these technologies [which] would enable poor farmers around the world to access unconventional water resources.” 

“The need for desalination technologies has never been more important to achieve the targets of the Paris Agreement in Egypt, Arab States and globally. A successful outcome at Cairo Water Week will set a precedent for future water and climate adaptation conferences and pathway forward,” he underscored. Egypt's 'AWARE' initiative, launched during COP27 last year includes a workstream that focuses on affordable, eco-friendly drinking water and wastewater management. This includes innovations like water reclamation and desalination for climate adaptation. To make these solutions accessible, it is imperative to reduce the cost of its technologies, making it suitable for irrigation, thus addressing global water and food challenges.

The expert roundtable discussion was a step towards alleviating negative social and environmental impacts while ensuring that cost-effective water reclamation and desalination technologies can be a reality for those most in need.

For further information or media inquiries, please contact Noran Saied, UNDP Communications Coordinator at