International Symposium on Sustainable Water Management in Arid and Semiarid Regions

Initiative number: 94D - 19
Initiative duration: 1 year
Dates: May 1, 1994 to April 30, 1995


Israel Eliashiv (PD), Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations, 800 Second Avenue, New York NY 10017

Final Report Abstract

Symposium participants included program directors of water and waste water facilities, irrigation districts, tourism departments and other governmental activities related to water functions from Africa, Mexico, China, Japan, Turkey and Thailand; representing a total of 30 nations. The symposium was sponsored by the Government of Japan, The United Nations Development Programme, and the International Arid Lands Consortium.

Mr. Shimon Peres opened the symposium with an address stressing the fundamental importance of water in arid and semi-arid lands world wide to peace and prosperity. He placed particular emphasis on the relationship of water and land management in the Middle East to peace and the ability to move beyond the economic and political barriers that discourage peace at this time in the region.

The ensuing program included three days of presentations, including two round table discussions, by Israeli and U.S. scientists on irrigation with fresh and saline water, appropriate irrigation technology, rainfed agriculture, use of sewage effluents, groundwater protection and management, and legal aspects of water management. The purpose of the symposium was to deliberate the topics listed, identify relevant issues and develop recommendations and strategies in three general areas:

  1. Policy and strategy for integrated management of land and water resources,
  2. Research and development for improving water use efficiency, and
  3. National capacity building for integrated management of land and water resources.

Working groups were formed to develop the recommendations and strategies as a capstone activity following the presentation of papers and discussion of issues during the previous days of the symposium.

At the beginning of the conference each participant was asked to list and prioritize the five most important water issues in their country. A list of priorities was compiled and distributed to the participants.

Follow-on actions include the publication of a proceedings. Suggested actions include the formation of a steering committee to define and suggest continuing actions to maintain the momentum established by the symposium and the development and the compilation and publication of a global directory of current water development initiatives to serve as an information resource to guide future planning and prioritization of suggested programs.


Support for this initiative came from the USDA Forest Service and the USDA Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service.