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Saudi water agency seeking global partnerships

Saudi water agency Global Water Organisation Reuters/SWCC
A desalination plant in Jubail, Saudi Arabia: The kingdom's new water agency aims to collaborate with like-minded organisations around the world
  • Global Water Organisation established
  • Climate collapse imperils water systems
  • Mena facing extremely high water stress

A Saudi government body set up this week to address global water challenges hopes to collaborate with other organisations across the world to meet its goals, the kingdom’s environment minister said on Friday. 

“The vision for this initiative is not just about creating a research and policy platform,” said Abdul Rahman Al Fadhli, Saudi Arabia’s minister of environment, water and agriculture. 

“We aim to ensure that every international voice contributes to shaping the dialogue and decision-making process in water resource management.”

Saudi Arabia established the Global Water Organisation, a government agency to tackle water issues regionally and globally, including water scarcity, quality and access.  

The new Saudi water agency will now start collaborating with partners across the world and roll out “critical” projects to improve sustainable water management, he added. 

It aims to prioritise knowledge exchange on global water issues, and support communities most in need, for example the less developed Global South. 

Demand for fresh water is forecast to increase by up 25 percent by 2050 as the world population ticks up to 9.8 billion, the World Resources Institute said in August.

The entire population of the Middle East and North Africa face “extremely high water stress by 2050”, according to the WRI’s Aquaduct Water Risk Atlas. 

The impacts of climate change – drought, floods and pollution – “can further destabilise economic and geopolitical stability, food and energy security and environmental sustainability,” making the need for such work more acute, said Al Fadhli. 

The Saudi Arabian government said it has invested more than $6 billion of development funding to water and sanitation projects across four continents to date.