Our 11th Sharing Knowledge Conference in Jordan, 13-16 May 2017 led to several recommendations. Download the Pdf version of the Recommendations SKF 11 or read them here:
Infrastructure Investments in Jordan, MENA and Sub-saharan Africa
Public governance is critical. We call on the public sector to define a vision and to prioritize investments; agree on a sound technical, economic and legal framework; and ensure the public’s positive engagement through continuous monitoring of the project’s economic and social performance.
We support the multi-stakeholder approach of dialogue and decision-making in appraising risks as well as in attracting external expertise and investments as the best way to ensure long-term ownership, delivering the public utility and its related services.
We recognize that mixing different sources of public and private finance (foreign direct Investments, international financial institutions, sovereign wealth funds, banks, local investors) mitigates risks and helps to create a stable financial environment for the investments.
Energy Diversification in Jordan and the MENA region
We support Jordan’s strategic vision for nuclear power in view of Jordan’s lack of indigenous fuel options and the shortage of local electricity capacity.
Human resource development is crucial to operate a sustainable nuclear power industry, so we encourage Jordan and other developing countries to train local engineers and technicians to answer the needs of the industry and not to rely exclusively on foreign staff.
Among other options, we recognize that small modular reactors have interesting potential to help small economies and developing countries access nuclear power.
The MENA region has a huge potential for renewable energies and should ambition to be a leader in the field. We see the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN) and the Jordan Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Fund as examples that should inspire other MENA countries to create transparent agencies with clear policy objectives to support and finance the energy transition in the region.
We encourage MENA countries to transition towards a smart grid system in order to guarantee a more efficient management of the electrical grid.
Food Security and Agriculture
Agriculture in Sub-saharan Africa
Addressing undernourishment and food insecurity remain major challenges for many Sub-Saharan African countries. Low investments have prevented many sub-Saharan African farmers to transition from subsistence agriculture to a more productive agriculture. We thus encourage the diffusion of financial and technological tools to help African farmers in this process.
Investment in agriculture requires a robust legal framework for land ownership, and it is essential to assign economic value to subsistence agricultural work that is often performed by women.
Desert Agriculture in the southern Levant
The indigenous traditional knowledge of desert water harvesting can be dramatically improved, especially through reducing evaporative losses, reducing the need for water transportation from afar, with its associated social and environmental externalities.
Climate change is expected to further increase evaporative loss, especially in deserts and Mediterranean drylands, and scientists need to address evapotranspiration. Cultivation and grazing will need to adapt to climate change phenomena, with higher rates of soil erosion driven by more intense rainstorms being expected, separated by increasing gaps. It is likely that deserts will no longer be able to support communities that exclusively depend on the desert’s biological productivity, and alternative desert-related livelihoods, such as desert tourism and solar energy production should be developed.
Foreign aid will be needed for sustaining desert livelihoods facing climate change, as well as other mechanisms such as payment for ecosystem services provided by desert people, and engaging desert communities in a global mechanism of land degradation neutrality.
The water sector in Jordan
Considering Jordan’s growing needs and very limited water resource, innovative solutions are necessary to better manage and increase the availability of water.
Jordan’s effort to treat and reuse waste water and tackle leakage and waste should be celebrated. We support the policy framework set by the Jordanian National Water Strategy plan 2016-2025 in identifying priorities for the sector and call for a transparent and thorough monitoring of the policy’s implantation especially on water management.
We fully support the active development of the Red Sea-Dead Sea Water Conveyance Project and call on all parties to seek more public support in order to guarantee the long-term success of the project. Following the previous water-sharing agreement between Jordan and Israel, we congratulate Israel and the Palestinian Authority on the signing of a water-sharing agreement in the framework of the Red-Dead project and hope this will encourage public awareness and support.
Water Crisis in Gaza
The shortage of drinking water in Gaza is among the most serious challenges facing the already very affected territory and could cause a tragic humanitarian crisis if not addressed immediately.
We recognize that the current crisis is a political one before being a technical one and call on all parties to cooperate on this pressing issue.
We encourage all parties to consider immediate solutions to address the crisis such as increasing Israel’s water exports to Gaza by an additional 10 to 20 MCM/year, and improving the domestic water distribution network, since almost 40% of the water is lost due to leakage.
Education and public awareness of water-saving measures has proven crucial to address water shortage, carries minor costs and should thus be set as a clear policy priority.
We also recognize the need for more durable solutions to the current crisis and support the need for infrastructure development such as waste-water treatment and desalination plants. While we support a holistic approach to address together the different interlinked crises faced by Gaza, the use of pre-assembled, off-shore or small-scale plants and of solar-powered plants should be considered in face of the current energy crisis and the limitation on the imports of dual-use goods into Gaza.
Regional cooperation and training in the MENA
The Sharing Knowledge Foundation reiterates its support for SESAME and congratulates SESAME on its successful launch in May 2017.
We call on all actors involved in the SESAME project to continue their financial and technical support in order to help SESAME acquire more beamlines and operate, maintain and upgrade the existing instruments and infrastructures. In particular, we urge CERN to continue its valuable technical and advisory support to SESAME.
People-to-people initiatives addressing local and regional challenges are important trust-building measures to mitigate the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Regional training and a learning environment that promotes an integrated regional vision is a first important step to ensure more regional cooperation. We thus support the work of the Arava institute in training Palestinians, Israelis and Jordanians to address the challenges of their shared environment.
We also call for an increase in Arava’s student body to reach more students from the region and for an eventual scaling-up of this unique educational model.
ECOPeace Middle East
We also wish to support the work of ECOpeace Middle East, a joint Jordanian-Israeli-Palestinian NGO that promotes regional cooperation for the protection of their shared environment.
Science for Peace
We call on the scientific equipment industry to support the production of low-cost scientific instruments, which are essential to foster a scientific culture and scientific training in many developing countries.
We reiterate our support to Palestinian science via important forums such as the Palestinian Advanced Physics School and the SKF scholarship programme for physics students at CERN.
We encourage the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority (PA) to visit CERN, and call on the PA and the Palestinian diaspora to contribute to the funding of Palestinian students coming to CERN (PhD and technical students) who are currently only supported by CERN and SKF.
We note the under-representation of women in Palestinian students applying for research and training programmes at CERN and request all actors involved to address this important issue.
We also call on Palestinian universities to open more PhD programmes and positions in physics and other scientific fields.
PDF version of the recommendations: Recommendations SKF 11