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EghtesadOnline: The 11th virtual meeting of the Regional Centre for Urban Water Management governing board was held Sep 23 with 53 participants from 16 countries and 10 international organizations to discuss closer cooperation between member states.

During the session, “decisions were made on several projects, some of which will be completed by 2021,” Iranian Energy Minister and President of RCUWM Reza Ardakanian said.

“One project is about improving the water quality, which is a collaboration between the National Water and Wastewater Engineering Company and the Climate Service Center in Germany. Two other projects will be carried out in cooperation with a Swiss financial center,” IRNA quoted him as saying.

“Training courses for urban water technicians is another project planned by the United Nations Development Program and the Economic Cooperation Organization, which has a permanent secretariat in Tehran, in collaboration with the NWWEC,” the minister said.

A project to monitor drought in the region will be undertaken by Turkey and the World Meteorological Organization.

Ardakanian said a ‘Regional Unconventional Water Management Center’ will be established soon in one of the countries in the region.

The center will help pool and share knowledge from regional countries about unconventional water resources. Qatar has expressed interest in hosting the center.”

Unconventional water is different from groundwater and water in dams. Unconventional water resources are generated as a by-product of specialized processes such as desalination and need suitable pre-use treatment for farming.

At the virtual meeting, organized under the auspices of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, nine countries including Qatar, Iraq, Syria, the Republic of Azerbaijan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Oman and Iran attended at the ministerial level.

Countries such as Turkey and Armenia were represented by deputy ministers while senior officials from India, Egypt and Uzbekistan took part. Germany and Switzerland participated with international organizations involved in regional projects.

International bodies such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, World Meteorological Organization, Islamic Development Bank, Economic Cooperation Organization and other related organizations were also present.

The Regional Centre on Urban Water Management was established in 2002 in Tehran following an agreement between Iran and UNESCO. 

RCUWM contributes to water-related projects of UNESCO’s strategic program by capacity building, knowledge sharing and research at regional and international levels.

The centre’s main activities include holding training courses and capacity building programs on various topics, such as water scarcity adaptation and demand management, supporting joint research and technology transfer projects plus partnership and networking at regional and international levels.

The agreement between Iran and UNESCO regarding RCUWM has been extended for up to 2023.

Since establishment, RCUWM has signed MoUs with more than 10 international organizations, supported 12 joint research projects in the region, and held 50 educational events for more than 20,000 people.

RCUWM Urban Water virtual meeting