GENEVA, 3rd June, 2016 (WAM) – The UAE Parliamentary Division has concluded its participation in the two-day long roundtable meeting, which was held in Geneva to discuss the issue of water in the Middle East.

It was opened by D. Pascal Allende, Chairperson of the Committee on Middle East Questions at the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), and Martin Chungong, Secretary-General of the IPU.

Dr. Mohammed Al Mahrazi, representative of the UAE Parliamentary Division, highlighted the efforts of the UAE in the field of water in terms of innovation and special research programmes for rain enhancement science, as well as national strategies for water conservation.

He added that the UAE has been making great efforts in this area since 2010, citing the national strategy for sustainable water resources and their management. The UAE official also referred to the national strategy for innovation that was announced in the 2015, and shed light on water as one of the seven key areas of focus of the strategy.

Al Mahrazi said that the measures being implemented by the UAE include the first mandatory building standards in the Middle East to guide water and energy consumption by more than 33 percent.

He explained that the United Nations defines water scarcity as a situation in which per capita receives less than 1,000 cubic metres per year, while the per capita share of natural water in the UAE is more than this ratio, thanks to water desalination.

Al Mahrazi said the UAE’s water consumption is among the highest in the world, but warned that the groundwater reserves in the country are being depleted at an accelerated pace.

To respond to these challenges, he continued, the Masdar Institute launched a pilot project for water desalination through a new concept that focusses on the interdependence and sustainability of both water and energy. “This programme aims to develop techniques that operate with renewable energy and great efficiency,” he added.

Al Mahrazi said that the Masdar Institute, since its establishment, has accomplished 100 innovations, most notably in the sectors of biofuels and renewable energy engineering, pointing out that 40 percent of these innovations were made during 2015 only. He noted that 55 Masdar innovations were registered in the United States, and added that Masdar signed research contracts worth $63 million in 2015 to support innovation.

The UAE official also referred to the efforts of the UAE Water Aid Foundation (Suqia), its projects and initiatives to provide clean and drinking water to the needy, as well as studies and research to support the efforts of water production from solar energy and funding of special projects pertaining to water technology to combat the drought.