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Princess Sumaya opens water diplomacy conference at French Senate

By JT - Jan 27,2020 - Last updated at Jan 27,2020

HRH Princess Sumaya participates in opening the Fifth Conference on Hydrodiplomacy and Climate Change for Peace at the French Senate, Palais du Luxembourg, Paris, this week (Photo courtesy of RSS)

AMMAN — Every person on the planet must be a stakeholder in the protection, management and use of global water resources, HRH Princess Sumaya said in her keynote address at the opening of the Fifth Conference on Hydrodiplomacy and Climate Change for Peace at the French Senate, Palais du Luxembourg, Paris this week. 

High-level participants, including government ministers and ambassadors from the Mediterranean region, took part in a variety of sessions on the governance of international basins, according to a statement from the Royal Scientific Society.

Princess Sumaya joined UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences Shamila Nair-Bedouelle and France’s Senator for French citizens living abroad Olivier Cadic to officially open the event, commenting that water shortage stands as one of humanity’s greatest challenges and there can be “no half-measures in how we address it”.

“Water is a shared concern in so many senses,” said the princess. “Globally, some 310 rivers or lakes and 592 groundwater bodies are shared between two or more countries. And as water is so vital to life, growth and the blossoming of civilisation, it is no surprise that those trans-boundary basins host more than half of our world’s population.”

Princess Sumaya added: “Today, we speak as a region, but we must be aware that at stake is our global future.”

The Middle East and North Africa is the world’s most water-scarce region. Currently, water demand surpasses the natural amount of water available by almost 20 per cent, she said.

“That disparity may only increase drastically and swiftly if we do not act appropriately to address it,” Princess Sumaya said.

The conference’s programme of sessions offered participants an opportunity to analyse the geopolitical situation of international basins, the impact of global changes and the appropriate governance mechanisms in order to reinforce the concepts of hydrodiplomacy, partnership and mediation with the aim of ensuring an equitable peace between riparian neighbours, according to the statement.

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