EUWI meets Dr. Emad Adly, from AOYE: Arab Office for Youth and Environment
At Stockholm Water Week 2009-08-20, EUWI meets Dr. Emad Adly,
from AOYE: Arab Office for Youth and Environment
Dr. Emad Adly, you are both the general coordinator of RAED (the Arab Network for Environment and Development), an Arabia-based non-governmental organisation (NGO), and the co-chair of the MIO (Mediterranean Information Office). What is AOYE, and how involved in the MED-EUWI is it?
AOYE is the Egyptian component of the MED-EU Water Initiative. It participates in the EUWI activities while presenting the civil society and the NGO’s viewpoints. It takes part in dialogues and workshops on the financing strategies for water and waste water systems.
Can you give us a practical example of AOYE’s involvement in water?
In Egypt from 1994 to 97, AOYE implemented one of the biggest projects on water conservation from the NGO point of view (the overall budget was about $6 million). The whole idea was to identify strategies and administer policies on issues related to drinking water while integrating Egyptian standards and capacity. Otherwise, those strategies would only remain ink on paper.
Hence, we have provided practical solution through the implementation of more than 200 demonstration projects on how to conserve potable water inside households, schools, places of worship, government buildings, etc.
All in all, we gained much experience in dealing with water from a variety of different perspectives: legislation, policy making, technology, the private sector, and the communities. Thanks to this well of past experience, we can find policy solutions that increase water and sanitation coverage while unburdening the people of the communities at the same time.
“EUWI helps us bring our information and knowledge to the national dialogue in Egypt, as well as on a regional level”
What are the main challenges to increasing water and sanitation coverage in the Mediterranean?
Achieving social and economic development remains a big challenge. For example, according to the UN definition, almost 99% of the Egyptian population enjoys access to drinking water. Yet, this in no way means it is available in people’s homes. Many still have to walk a distance to fetch it. And as for waste water, in rural areas, only around 30% enjoys waste water facilities. To meet the Millennium Development Goals, we must provide at least 50% of the 70% deprived ones, who are the poorest.
Since we want to provide a service to everyone without adding extra burden on the already poor people, we must find financial strategies that help managing water by demand, not by supply. We thus need to develop a financial mechanism that takes from those who can pay while at the same time covering the cost of the majority who can't. The issue is deciding upon an acceptable tariff for drinking water, and to market the tariff in a way that highlights the real value of water.
What is EUWI’s contribution to meet your challenges?
EUWI helps us bring our information and knowledge to the national dialogue platform in Egypt, and on a regional level as well. Since stakeholders are all taking part in discussions on financial strategies, we can share one another’s experiences. In particular, countries in the south can learn from each other; what we call 'south to south'. In Egypt for example, the existing technical knowledge could be possibly used in Morocco e.g. in the area of financial sustainability.
In the national dialogue, we are trying to use Egyptian knowledge to provide a fair and realistic financial strategy that is also sustainable in the medium to long term, so as to maximise benefits with a minimum of negative impact. Having access to water and sanitation is a basic human right. As NGOs and civil society representatives, it is our duty to provide the service to all members of society, making sure that the poor are not negatively affected by the financial strategy.