AWP Partners and DFAT recently conducted a mission to Jordan on the topic of managing water scarcity that involved the first application of the recent AWP publication WaterGuide. WaterGuide, published in March 2017, was prepared by Huw Pohlner and Will Fargher of Aither for AWP at the request of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, as a part of AWP support provided to the World Bank/UN High-Level Panel on Water.
In April 2017, the Jordanian Minister of Water and Irrigation, HE Dr Hazim El-Naser, approached AWP to request Australian assistance to ‘define a set of potential activities, drawing inspiration from the WaterGuide, including a country diagnostic of challenges and opportunities for reform and pro-active management, identifying policy priorities and potential innovative approaches on water scarcity and drought management’. This was the first formal WaterGuide-related approach to the Australian Government since the publication of the report.
A delegation of Australians visited Amman, Jordan for a five-day scoping mission in August 2017. Will Fargher, Chris Arnott and Huw Pohlner (Aither), and Rob Vertessy (Global Change Advisory) were joined by Tony Slatyer (Special Adviser on Water to DFAT), Miles Armitage (Australia’s Ambassador to Jordan), and Ger Bergkamp (ARCOWA) on the mission. The Ministry of Water and Irrigation hosted the Australians and they met with a delegation of eleven Jordanians, including the Secretary Generals of the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, Jordan Valley Authority, and Water Authority of Jordan.
The aims of the mission were to:
- Discuss water scarcity and drought, with the aim of sharing experiences;
- Use WaterGuide to identify potential areas for collaboration between Australia and Jordan, reflecting on Jordan’s water policy and management priorities;
- Identify where Australian skills and experience can contribute to implementation of Jordan’s roadmap for improving water management; and
- Model an approach to collaboration, based on WaterGuide, that Australian and International partners can adopt to advance practical action under the UN High Level Panel on Water and beyond.
The mission culminated in a media release by the Jordanian and Australian Governments on 17 August the Jordan-Australia Water Reform Collaboration, to develop practical solutions to the challenge of water scarcity in Jordan. The media release highlights the role of WaterGuide as a template for engagement:
Jordanian Minister of Water and Irrigation Dr El-Naser noted, “WaterGuide provides our two countries with a starting point to develop a practical partnership. This WaterGuide Dialogue should allow us to demonstrate how high-level collaboration between water policymakers and experts can accelerate progress toward national water management goals”.
Priorities for collaboration between Jordan and Australia have been identified in relation to stakeholder engagement and participatory management; better understanding water supply and demand and risks to water availability; the allocation of water between uses; ensuring sustainable access to water; and enhancing system efficiency.