A Workshop on Water Accounts and Statistics for Mediterranean Countries was held in Beirut (March 2012)
In the framework of the European Union (EU) funded project “Towards a Shared Environmental Information System (SEIS) in the European Neighbourhood” (ENPI-SEIS project) implemented by the European Environment Agency (EEA), and the follow up on the implementation of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) project on building capacities in environment statistics, indicators and accounts (2007-2010), the EEA, UNSD and UN-ESCWA held a Workshop on Water Accounts and Statistics for Mediterranean Countries at the UN House in Beirut, Lebanon, 20-22 March 2012. Four Mediterranean countries (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine) attended the meeting, with four participants from each country representing the National Statistical Offices and the Ministry of Environment and Water.
The goals of the workshop were to explain how water accounts and statistics can be used for fact based policy making; to provide guidance to the participants through hands-on examples, on how to implement water accounts and statistics in their countries according to SEEA-Water and IRWS, as well as using the SEIS principles. Using available data provided by the countries, the workshop focused also on how to establish and/or strengthen the coordination mechanisms for the implementation of water accounts and statistics in the countries; and to identify the key steps in the preparation of a statistical program to complete water accounts and statistics.
At the end of the workshop, countries agreed on the importance of completing the water accounts in their countries due to its importance and set a work plan with a schedule for each country on how to complete the accounts. The last day of the workshop entailed a field visit to the water treatment plant in Lebanon that treats and disinfects potable water for Beirut. Participants and organizers were able to gain knowledge on the different steps of the water treatment process and have access to water related statistics.
A similar workshop for North African French speaking countries (Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania, Mauritius and Tunisia) will be organised with the UNSD and the Office for North Africa of UNECA, in Rabat, 11-13 September 2012.