Water Research in the Middle East – multilateral funding announcement 2020

BMBF funding announcement: 'Richtlinie zur Förderung von Zuwendungen für Forschungs- und Entwicklungsvorhaben zum Thema „Wasserforschung im Nahen und Mittleren Osten“'

Almost all countries in the Middle East suffer from a rapidly increasing water shortage. They represent a group of countries that are most severely affected by water stress worldwide. The region's water supply is essentially based on the use of groundwater resources, many of which are not renewable and will be used up within decades at the current extraction rates. The level of competition for its use is already high, which leads to overuse of water resources, worsening living conditions and the loss of ecosystems. In addition, this region is particularly affected by global climate change. The increasing amount of wastewater due to population and economic growth meets with an inadequate wastewater infrastructure combined with unused potential for water reuse. As a result, the Middle East will need substantial investments and innovations in the water sector in the coming years. These must go hand in hand with an increase in water use efficiency, an improved water resource management and the implementation of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Against this background, the BMBF announced a related funding guideline in 2020. The aim was to make contributions to increasing water security in the Middle East – across national borders. To this end, the ministry funded multilateral research and development projects on innovative water technologies and efficient management approaches in the water sector.

This was a special opportunity for Israeli researchers, because the Israeli Ministry of Science and Techmology (MOST) provided funding for the cooperation projects through a corresponding call for proposals.

Detailed information on the Middle East Regional Water Research Cooperation Program (MEWAC) is available on the BMBF website and the FONA web portal.