The Third Workshop on "Transboundary Hydro-Governance and SDG 6"

The Water Diplomacy Center at the Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST) in collaboration with the University of East Angela of the United Kingdom organized an online workshop entitled “Transboundary Hydro-Governance and SDG 6” over a three-day program between 10-12 November 2020. The first and second trainings were organized around the same central theme on 9-10 February 2020 and 14-16 July 2020, respectively. Opened by the President of JUST, Prof. Saeb Khresat, the workshop discussed the topics integrated water resource management, technology, international water law, and negotiations practice and experience with the goal to enhance knowledge and to build the capacity of the participating water professionals. The workshop had a thematic focus on transboundary water governance and the global political commitment to Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6) which ensures the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

Emerging from a multi-disciplinary analysis of the "Yarmouk Future" project, Dr. Khreisat presented the role of the effective water diplomacy center which the project recommended and supported its establishment at JUST through the generous support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

Prof. Suhil Kiwan, the Director of the Water Diplomacy Center (WDC) and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at JUST, pointed out that the aspiration for the WDC is to become a regional center to promote and facilitate transboundary cooperation on water and related topics. The WDC shall serve to offer an information base that provides scientific knowledge and support for research and applied studies related to the water sector, with a focus on conducting training courses that raise knowledge and build capacity in terms of water management, international water law, and the science of negotiations.

Dr. Kiwan stressed the need to develop and support the WDC as the first of its kind in the Middle East to close the knowledge gap and enhance the capabilities of researchers in the field of methods of discussions, dialogues, and scientific knowledge of shared waters across borders. He stressed the need for such a center due to the lack of scientific information and experience in resolving water differences between countries involved in water resources.

The WDC aspires to help countries overcome differences and address water management problems, by networking experts, decision-makers, and local and international water institutions and providing them with the necessary knowledge, and to prepare a suitable environment that opens the door to constructive discussions and dialogues if they sit on the same table, and work to develop strategies to manage water demand, reduce waste and engineering solutions by supporting the use of applied research in the field of renewable energy in the water sector.

During the three-day online workshop, the panelists actively engaged lecturers on sessions relating to the 1997 UN Convention on the Law of the Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses, implementing IWRM towards achieving SDG6 in transboundary water basins, modern technology use in transboundary hydro-governance, water management around the MENA region, asymmetrical negotiating experiences in water negotiations, ways and methods of building negotiation skills and examples of cross-border water negotiations and agreements, for example in the Nile Basin. The course, provided by a group of professors and international experts, was attended by 70 participants from various local and national institutions, international organizations, university professors, and researchers from Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria, as well as Portugal, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
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