Under the patronage of H.E. Shaikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, Minister of Oil and Chairman of the National Oil and Gas Authority (NOGA) Project Implementation Committee, H.E. Mr. Nasser Sultan Al Suwaidi, CEO of NOGA, inaugurated the induction workshop for NOGA’s project with the Green Climate Fund, “to enhance climate resilience for the water sector in the Kingdom of Bahrain", on Tuesday, January 28, 2020 at the Wyndham Hotel Bahrain. In the presence of a number of undersecretaries, general managers of government, private institutions and oil companies and specialists in this environmental field.
This workshop was organized by NOGA in cooperation with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) to discuss a number of related topics, the most important of which is to build different models of climate change and its impact on the water sector, scrutinize water use, and enhance the utilization of rainwater. Also, to develop policies and measures to improve water efficiency in public buildings, and build an integrated database.
At the beginning of his speech, H.E. Mr. Nasser Al Suwaidi welcomed all the attendees, noting the importance of the role played by government and private institutions in promoting cooperation in order to implement a number of environmental projects that are in line with the strategy of the government's distinguished work program in this regard. Noting the importance of this project, which directly linked to sustainable development goals in the provision of water, sanitation, consumption, production and climate change, as well as indirect goals such as clean energy, low prices and gender equality.
H.E. Mr. Nasser said that the issue of climate change has become a vital issue associated with the oil industry, because of its impact on the policies of the response measures negatively affecting the oil industry. Noting that the Kingdom of Bahrain is one of the small island countries producing oil that is negatively affected by climate change due to the threat of flooding its low-lying coastline, which is located in most of its infrastructure, degradation of groundwater caused by the invasion of reservoirs by the sea, and an increase in the frequency of dust and dust storms and lack of rainfall, which emphasizes the importance of working seriously to preserve the climatic environment through Implementation of a number of environmentally friendly projects. Including NOGA's project in this regard, which came to reduce the negative environmental impacts and address many global challenges, where the project consists of 7 major initiatives aimed at enhancing climate resilience for the water sector in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
H.E. addressed the study prepared by NOGA in environmental affairs, where this study proved that climate change and specifically the low rate of groundwater mobilization, the creeping of groundwater, and the rise of thermal contributes to the reduction of fresh water supplies in the Kingdom of Bahrain by at least 50 to 100 million cubic meters from water annually in the short term. While water demand in the municipal, industrial and agricultural sectors is expected to rise by about 10 million cubic meters per year by 2030.
H.E. addressed the issue of water security, which is a major challenge for many countries, whether in cases of human disasters such as wars and others, or natural to cause climate change. Pointing out that the water of (ام الرضومة) in the Kingdom of Bahrain is one of the most important sources of water during the disasters being a protected (confined) layer. Adding that the oil sector plays a pivotal role in the refilling of this reservoir, but this role has been further strengthened and developed through the initiative of Tatweer Petroleum Company in 2011, which invested $166 million to improve water quality before injecting it into this layer. The oil sector has boosted Bahrain's stock in (ام الرضومة) by about half million barrels of water per day, equivalent to 80,000 cubic meters of water (equivalent to 29.2 million cubic meters per year) more than it produces from the (بو جرجور) plant (60,500).
On the other hand, Ayman Shasli, a member of the Board of Directors of the Fund and chairman of the Arab Climate Change Negotiating Group, also spoke about the importance of this project for the Kingdom of Bahrain and the region, highly appreciated that the Kingdom of Bahrain under the management of H.E. Shaikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, Minister of Oil, has received an approval and an authorization from the Board of Directors of the Green Fund to finance environmental projects in the Kingdom of Bahrain, which is considered one of the oil producing countries, opening the way for other countries to benefit from the financing of environmental projects. H.E. the Minister of Oil also confirmed that this project is currently the subject of attention and follow-up from all, hoping that the project will be implemented as planned.
On this occasion, Ms. Ataf Shahada commented, "UNEP reaffirms its commitment to strengthening capacities through the provision of technical assistance in the areas of policy and legislation development, scientific capabilities, and increasing public awareness of the impact of climate change, and the creation of investment opportunities. UNEP strives to have a positive and effective impact on human life in the Kingdom of Bahrain, and the West Asian region in an inclusive and transparent manner".
The Kingdom of Bahrain is the first country in the region to attract the 21st Meeting of the Green Climate Change Fund, which was established at the 16th Conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2010. Its secretariat is based in Songdo, Incheon City, west of Seoul, South Korea, where the Fund encourages a paradigm shift towards low-emission development paths capable of adapting to climate change. The Fund provides support to developing countries to reduce or reduce harmful emissions and to adapt to the effects of climate change; With it, projects and programmes proposed by developing countries are funded while ensuring that they are managed transparently, as the funds in this fund are in their entirety contributions from developed countries as well as contributions from a number of developing countries.