Danilo Turk : Turkey in better position to coordinate Transboundary Water Cooperation


Stockholm – Mey Al Sayegh

Starting January 1, 2019, the Istanbul-based Turkish Water Institute (SUEN)will serve as a coordination office for a period of two years of  the Blue Peace Initiative, which was launched in 2009by the India-based think tank, Strategic Foresight Group (SFG) and supported by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

Blue Peace High Level group was chaired by HRH Prince Al Hassan Bin Talal, and built around transforming water from an instrument of conflict into one of cooperation between Turkey ,Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Syria and Iran(joined recently). In addition to organizing conferences and workshops, issuing reports and recommendations, it included learning journeys for Blue Peace community members to Transboundary Rivers like The Rhine, The Mekong, The Senegal and The Nile to inspire from successful regional cooperation experiences in shared basins.

It laid the soft infrastructure dialogue between Middle East countries who share transboundary water resources as SFG President Sundeep Waslekar stated, and its members aspire to adoption of its recommendations by decision makers in the six respective countries.

Swiss Ambassador to Sweden Christian Schoenenberger praised the effort of Blue peace community in trying to bridge technical experience with political sphere, and noted that expanding water diplomacy needs data base and political will that should be the homework of the region, and his country is ready to fund studies that promotes Trans boundary water infrastructure.

But now the time has come to transfer the management leadership from SFG to regional institutions as agreed upon in Zurich on 21-22 August, 2017 and announced during the latest meeting of Blue Peace held in Stockholm on August 29-30.

The new structure would include a Coordination Office, Thematic Activity Centers, Managing Committee and a Policy Advisory Committee. The nomination process for the Policy Advisory started up while  2 members from each country delegation was chosen for the managing committee during the two-day meeting held in the Swedish capital and was attended by senior regional and international officials and experts on water, journalists and academics.

The first key area of focus of this body will be “water use efficiency in agriculture” as agreed in the Planning meeting on Blue Peace in the Middle East in Istanbul in February 26-27, 2018.

And as 80% of water in the Middle East goes towards agriculture and it is essential for food security, therefore, any improvement in water for irrigation can lead to reduction in demand and reduction in conflict. Work can be done on issues such as changing cropping patterns, introducing more efficient irrigation techniques and recycling wastewater for agriculture.

Since the ownership of the problems and solutions belong to the countries in the region, so it is a natural decision to bring this process to which countries research institutions and policy making to take the lead”, Danilo Turk , former president of Slovenia stated.

He hoped that this new setting will allow comparing good practices and seeing where in the region things started to work well.

But would this step create any reluctance between regional countries  since SUEN, operates under the authority of the Turkish Ministry of Forest and Water Affairs?

Turkey is given the leadership now because it is in a better position in comparison to the other countries, Turk Said , adding that it is an upper riparian country, and has enjoyed peace for a long time and has the technical capacity and knowledge while Syria for instance is still in war , so the experience is on the side of Turkey”.

He stated :”I am not underestimating the current water problems between Iraq ,Syria, Turkey and Iran and I am aware that this cooperation has never been easy, the building of dams on Tigris and Euphrates rivers has caused problems in the past, but this platform will help in raising this question at high level”.

Turk who acts as the Chairman of Global High level Panel on Water and Peace clarifies that the report entitled ” A matter of survival”   issued by the panel does not suggest creating any additional institution body but what is needed strengthening quality of   networking and cooperation among the existing actors.

Turk recommended to start thinking about peace in Syria. He said “no war goes on forever, reconstruction obviously would be a difficult job and refugees who will return will need degree of normalcy, and normalcy cannot be established without water, and water arrangements cannot be established without  a degree of water cooperation between Syria and Iraq and Turkey”.

  • gplus
  • pinterest


Mey Al Sayegh

Mey AL Sayegh
Senior Correspondent and International news editor@ ALjoumhouria newspaper

I work as a senior international news editor and correspondent at Aljoumhouria newspaper (Lebanese Arabic daily). In my articles, I focus on international conflicts and development, diplomatic issues and conduct interviews with foreign ambassadors to Lebanon and senior officials.
At the technical level, I am qualified to use computer and research engines properly and I am active on social media as well.
My native language is Arabic and most of my articles are written in this language. I also write articles and analysis in English language for SFPA, SAC- Slovakia think- tank.
I believe that the expert in anything was once a beginner, that what I learned from my experience as a journalist since 2007.I realized that being passionate of my work and the high sense of responsibility are the key points in my success. I walked my way bearing in my mind that my articles (English &Arabic) should not be boring or written in a press release form; they should reflect a human sense.
In parallel, I developed a wide network of public relations and been very active in advocating voluntary for the causes I believe in, even though it was not part of my daily tasks at Aljoumhouria newspaper and Tatwir Center for Studies.
As a result, I have been invited to a large number of countries to cover different topics, ranging from international politics (Geneva 2 on Syria) to development issues, and appointed as a member of Media network for Blue peace in the Middle East.

A list of most important certificates i have got from United States Department of State(International visitor Leadership Program June 16- July 4 2014)
Media for development program (2012-2013)
Reporting the EU training (2013-2014)

Senior Correspondent
Aljoumhouria newspaper
January 2014 – Present (2 years 3 months)missions abroad
The Geneva II Conference on Syria coverage- for ALjoumhouruia newspaper (January - February 2014 )
The Reform process in Jordan coverage - exclusive invitation from His Royal Highness prince Alhassan Bin Talal.(February 2014)
1 honor or award
Senior international and diplomatic news editor
Aljoumhouria newspaper
January 2011 – Present (5 years 3 months)zalka
January 2011 to date
Head of International news department/ Aljoumhouria newspaper ( http://www.aljoumhouria.com/)
- News reporting, Feature writing, Investigative reporting,
Editing, Research and Fact- checking, Conducting interviews
- Covering international and regional conferences

April 25 - May 10 2012
-Conducted Training for editors @ Aljoumhouria website

December 2013 to date
Freelancer -Conducting researches and interviews / Tatwir Center for Studies – Beirut- Lebanon
http://tatwir.net/ ( Arabic – English)

June 2012 till June 2013
Freelancer writer at Slovakian media (Blizkyychod Media)
(articles covering middle east issues written in English(

June 2013 to date
Freelancer writer at think- tank SFPA, SAC- Slovakia (English language)

May 2007 –September 2009:
International news editor - Al-akhbar newspaper – Verdun
Lebanon (http://www.al-akhbar.com/)

- International visitor leadership program on Investigative Journalism /United States of State of Department(July 4 2014)

- Media neighborhood training – BBC /Reporting the European Union (May 2014)

- Multimedia and social network /Agence France-Press AFP, Canal France International (CFI), UNDP , Montpellier ,France(October 2013)

Member at Lebanese Editors Syndicate
- Investigative Reporters and Editors - IRE
( June 9, 2014 – June 2015)
- Blue peace Media Network

Workshops and conferences:
April 2011-till 2013
- Media for Development workshop /UNDP /AFP (Training sessions/ field visits / Sarajevo conference on civil war)

March 2013 to present:
- Blue peace conferences - Istanbul, Jordan, Geneva.
- Field trips :The Rhine river - Switzerland - September 2013/ Mekong river in Cambodia and Laos- November 2014/ Senegal river -August 2015

June 2013 / February 2014
- The 5th Wana Forum (The Uprooted) - Jordan.
- Reform process in Jordan.

November 2013
Coverage of Regional and Municipal elections and Green Economy in Denmark