The MINARET First Regional Platform on Water, Energy and Food NEXUS was organized in Monastir, Tunisia from 13-15 February, 2018 under the patronage of the ministry of environment and local affairs, with more than 200 participants including the mayor of Monastir; Mr. Akram Sebri, the ambassador of Sweden in Tunisia and Libya; Mr. Fredric Floren, parliamentarians from Jordan and Tunisia, heads of five municipalities, representatives from the government and civil society organizations from Tunisia, Lebanon and Jordan, in addition to the participation of experts and representatives from regional and international organizations like GIZ and BORDA.
MINARET’s first regional platform was held under the theme “NETWORKING FOR THE FUTURE“, for the aim of presenting the project’s first year achievements, which included the results of assessmnets, surveys and consultations conducted to identify needs, assess policies, and collect data on energy consumption, water resources, food and gender mainstreaming in the target countries.
A workshop on “Applying the Water-Energy-Food NEXUS Approach in Urban Planning” took place as a back-to-back activity from 14-15 February 2018, conducted and supported by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) / Egypt Office. Participants discussed the current national policies and the needed solutions.
Participants of the event stressed the importance of regional cooperation to share experiences and face challenges related to water, energy and food in Jordan, Lebanon and Tunisia.
“This regional initiative is important for raising awareness at regional and local levels, particularly in the environmental sector to mitigate climate change impacts, and to cooperate with International organization to reduce cost of environmental degradation.” said Chokri Ben Hassan, Tunisian State Secretary to the Minister of Local Affairs and Environment.
Members of the Jordanian and Tunisian parliaments participating in the event agreed to move forward on the establishment of a joint Arab parliamentary committee for the water, energy and food NEXUS. The heads of parliaments from the three countries will be approached to take the initial approval on the establishment of this committee. The next step is to approach the Arab Parliament to establish a committee on NEXUS with clear authorities and action plan and to have it among its permanent committees.
Another accomplishment was made during this 3-days event; the mayors of five municipalities signed a regional cooperation agreement in the field of water, energy and food NEXUS, including the four municipalities in addition to the municipality of Ain Wa Zein in Lebanon.
It is worth mentioning that MINARET project is being implemented by the Royal Scientific Society / National Energy Research Center, Future Pioneers for Empowering Communities (FPEC) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The project is targeting the municipalities of Karak and Sahab in Jordan, Jdaidet Chouf in Lebanon and Monastir in Tunisia with generous funding from the Swedish International Development and Cooperation Agency (Sida), for the project’s implementation period until 2020.
The MENA Region Initiative as a Model of the NEXUS Approach to Renewable Energy Technologies (MINARET), is developed to address the unique sustainability challenges and opportunities of the MENA region by increasing local and regional capacities using the synergies between renewable energy technology and energy efficiency, water management and food security.
MINARET also works to develop municipalities’ role by creating a paradigm shift where municipalities grow from simply being service providers to becoming active sustainable development leaders. Municipalities can be transformed to become hubs for public services and solid economic entities, attracting investments based on partnership with the private sector, local communities and government agencies.
It also aims at strengthening institutional capacities of the relevant governmental authorities and stakeholders involved in the project, through promoting policy dialogues and implementing different capacity-building programs for sharing experiences between the targeted countries and various stakeholders, and enhancing the capacities of municipalities to build the municipality’s resilience to climate change.