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Folder Towards a National Water Information System in Syria, 20 December 2010

Technical Workshop jointly organised by COFWS (Centre of Water and Arab Water Security Studies - Arab League) and EMWIS on 20th December 2010 back to back to the regional workshop on the Arab database on shared water resources (20-21/12/2010).

With the support of the European Commission, EMWIS is organising national workshops in Mediterranean Countries in the framework of the project entitled “Towards a Mediterranean Water Information Mechanism compatible with the Water Information System for Europe (WISE)”. This project is providing tools and guidelines to help countries in setting up their national data system on water in a harmonised way, enabling them to easily report data when necessary and taking the benefits of lessons learned from other Euro-Mediterranean countries.

In a broader context, this activity is also part of the approach initiated to respond to the needs expressed by the Ministers in charge of water of the Union for the Mediterranean to make available data, information and statistics on water, based on internationally agreed definitions and methods, structured within information systems, in particular National systems.

Following the mandate given by the Water General Directors of the Euromed countries, EMWIS has carried out feasibility studies of National Water Information Systems in late 2005 as well as a complementary research on a Mediterranean Water Observation Mechanism (2007-2008). These studies also serve as input for this activity.

A National Water Information System –NWIS- is information system shared between various public authorities, each one managing a subset of data according to its competences and duty. In such system the exchange of data is secured and the level of access is defined by each data owner. In a broader picture a NWIS must be considered as a node of a Shared Environmental information System under development in Europe and to be extended to all the neighborhood countries.

The objectives of the workshop are to:

  • Present the concepts of a National Water Information System harmonised at the Mediterranean level
  • Promote the use of a standardise catalogue of water data sources (so called geo-catalogue or metadata catalogue, see Mediterranean prototype at:
  • Promote voluntary reporting on issue of common interest for the Mediterranean area
  • Review current status of water information systems within the main agencies acting in the water sector
  • Discuss the steps necessary to set-up a National Water Information System -NWIS
    • Overview of data availability and needs as well as data owners/provider
    • Data sharing / dissemination practices and legal framework

As a result of this workshop a concept note for the development of a NWIS in Syria could be prepared.

Brief reminder on EMWIS:

The Euro-Mediterranean Information System on know-how in the Water sector has been initiated in November 1996 by the Marseilles Euro-Mediterranean Conference on Local Water Management. Today, it is the only operational tool for co-operation between the 37 Euro-Mediterranean countries in the water sector. It aims to: Facilitate access to the information existing on know-how in the water sector; develop the sharing of useful information; Prepare common outputs and promote the necessary co-operation programmes. The System is based on a decentralised approach where each country has a National Focal Point (the Minsitry of Irrigation for Syria) that should manage a national water information web portal.

Syria joined EMWIS since its launch in 1999.

PDF Preliminary agenda Download
PDF Participants list Download
PDF Brief on EMWIS Download
PDF Discussions guidance Download
URL Workshop on Regional shared water resources database in the Arab Region, Damascus, Syria. (20-21/12/2010)
URL Regional Workshop on the launch of an Arab Water Data Bank for shared waters, Damascus (Syria), 12-13/01/2010
4th Mediterranean Water Forum


The National Water Information System Workshop took place at the Dedeman Hotel in Damascus (Syria) on 20 December 2010. The meeting was attended by 40 participants, representing: the COFWS (Centre of Water and Arab Water Security Studies - Arab League), EMWIS and ADASA Sistemas (Spain), as well as: The Ministry of Irrigation, Ministry of Local Administration, The Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform, the Ministry of Housing and Construction, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of State for Environment Affairs, the Ministry of Transportation, the Arab Center for the Study of Arid Zones and Dry Lands (ACSAD), Platinum Company, Environment Protection Association, The National Institute for Agricultural Research, and also observers from other Arab countries: Ministry of Water & Irrigation (Jordan), Electricity & Water Authority (Bahrain), Embassy of Tunisia in Damascus, Ministry of water resources (Algeria), Ministry of Water resources (Iraq), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Iraq), The Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources (Oman), The General popular committee for services (Libya), the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), and the United Nations University, Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH); and finally other experts and journalists from Jordan & Syria.

This seminar was organized back to back to the Workshop on Regional shared water resources database in the Arab Region (20-21/12/2010).

The seminar was briefly introduced by Eric MINO, coordinator of EMWIS Technical Unit, giving an overview of the objectives of the seminar, then Jauad EL KHARRAZ, information manager of EMWIS Technical Unit explained the main points to be discussed regarding the state of the art of water information/data in Syria and among the different ministries and water institutions in Syria, and more specifically: the main data responsibility/availability/needs for the water sector in Syria, the water data flows between Syrian institutions, the status of information systems in national agencies and finally the legal basis for data exchange and public information.

Then, the representatives of the Syrian institutions (aforementioned Syrian water actors) took the floor to talk about each point among the aforementioned ones. 

Posted by jauad at 25 Dec 2010 10:49:02

Two new BGR projects in Syria and Lebanon.

Posted by jauad at 25 Dec 2010 11:56:54