The following article was taken from our Second Newsletter (pdf, 2.62 MB)

From left to right: Dr. Farajallah, Dr. Flörke, Dr. Mohtar, Dr. Dombrowski, Dr. El-Mahdi, Dr. Keulertz

Report by Prof. Andreas Thiel and Dr. Hussam Hussein, University of Kassel

Increasing pressures on water, energy and food security pose fundamental challenges to economic and human development in the Arab world. From 6th to 8th December 2018 a workshop on Water and Food Security in the Levant took place at the American University Beirut (AUB). It was organised by the Section of International Agricultural Policy and Environmental Governance at the University of Kassel in Germany in partnership with the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Science at AUB. The workshop brought together leading water and food security scientists from Germany, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt.

The program included a one-day fieldtrip to the AUB Farm in the Bekaa Valley and a public panel discussion on 6th December, opened by H.E. Dr. Georg Birgelen, German Ambassador to Lebanon who stressed the fundamental need of Water-Food-Energy-Security in the MENA region. The Ambassador emphasized on sustainable solutions to current pressures as they bear significant development potential and remain a priority of German-Lebanese cooperation.

Lack of political and governance solutions
The socio-economic implications of water scarcity for food production were central in the discussions in the panel and during the workshop. A focus was placed on the need of political and economic governance solutions in the region as well as regional specific issues such as extreme differences in water management between metropolitan and rural areas. Therefore integrated approaches are needed to meet specific local demands. Without adequate governance and political solutions insecurity will prevail.

Urgent problem based answers required
The workshop concluded with a Call for Abstracts on ‘Post-water economies: how to manage future political, economic and environmental transformations across water-scarce societies?’ which contributes a special issue in the Journal of International Water Resources Development in order to produce tangible solutions to this vital question. Moreover, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between AUB and University of Kassel to foster deeper cooperation in the future.

The workshop was funded by the DAAD Arab-German Transformation partnership. The Panel Discussion was funded through DAAD Research Marketing funds.