The Conflict over Water Resources in the Middle East


IIFWP Austria - Vienna, November 29th 2005


The Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace in cooperation with the Austrian International Middle East Environment Protection Association (AIMEEPA) held a lecture on “The Conflict over Water in the Middle East” at its headquarter in Vienna November 29th 2005, which was the International Solidarity Day with the Alienable Rights of the Palestinian People.


The speakers were Mrs. Nally Haddad-Mück, President of (AIMEEPA), the Lebanese Journalist Mr. Hussein Aoun accredited in Austria and the United Nations and Dr. Marwan Hamalawi, a Palestinian Expert in hydrology.



Mrs. Nally Haddad-Mück explained the main goals of AIMEEPA in the various fields of environment protection and focused on the essential role of governmental and non governmental organizations and institutions in achieving clean environment in human life, as well as social and economical development and prosperity, in addition to the public awareness of the direct danger of pollution. She also emphasized the crucial role of clean environment in the advancement of nations, and said: “Protection and safety of the environment, management of water and water resources as well as combating pollution in the Middle East in general and the Arab World in particular are the most in common duties and responsibilities of all people of the two regions”.


Mr. Hussein Aoun gave an overview of the current situation of water and water resources in the Middle East and the Arab World. He focused on the historical continuous challenges as far as the instability, insecurity, and the conflict between the Arab Countries are concerned. He emphasized the importance of water in the life of all mankind and considered water resources as the main source of sustainable and comprehensive development.


Mr. Aoun gave horrible, local, regional and international facts and figures on the shortage of water in the Middle East and the Arab States and pointed out that nearly 13 out of 22 Arab States are suffering from water crisis. He quoted the United Nations specialized organizations like UNDP, FAO, UNESCO, that the allocation of water to a single person in the Arab World will be reduced from 3450 cubic meters in 1960 to 667 cubic meter in 2025, while the population due to the highest growth rate in the Middle East will reach 335 million in 2030, in comparison to 275 million in 2000.


He also pointed to warnings of many international experts and researchers that the Middle East and the Arab World are considered as two regions facing water scarcity, in addition to regional war on water in the future if a fair, lasting and comprehensive peaceful solution is not achieved, taking into account that water is considered to be at the heart of the basic religious beliefs of the majority of the people in the Middle East, Muslims, Christians and Jews. He noted that there are many regional initiatives and proposals to solve the shortage of water in the Middle East, but unfortunately they could not be implemented because of the current conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians.


Dr. Marwan Hamalawi focused on the crisis of water in the Palestinian territories and in the Arab World. He called for Arabic, regional and international cooperation to find practical and technical solution to the problem of water shortage in many regions in Asia and Africa through ambitious projects, based on connecting regions rich in water like Turkey, with regions poor in water like Arab Countries in the Gulf, in addition to water desalination projects. He emphasized the importance of a solution for the Palestinian problem first, because it is the essence of the crisis in the Middle East and the Arab-Israeli conflict.


At the end of the lecture, Mr. Peter Haider granted Mrs. Nally Haddad-Mück a certificate as an “Ambassador for Peace” in appreciation of her efforts in the fields of social, and environment protection.



After the lectures an Arabic buffet was organized for the guests by Ms. Eman Zadeh and Ms. Elham Abdin/Stoeffler.