One year ago in April 2019, the 1st Mesopotamian Water Forum was held in Sulaymaniyah, in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. More than 180 water activists from the Mesopotamia region and other countries gathered for 3 days of workshops and discussions on dams, pollution, democratic water management, and released a declaration (Press Here). A landmark event for water activists in the region. A year later, the world is in the grip of the Covid19 crisis, and the countries of the Tigris-Euphrates are all under lockdown. As the virus continues to penetrate the region, the human and political consequences could be high. It remains to be seen what will be the impact on water provision, water infrastructure. Since the crisis is transnational, we believe international solidarity and debate is important. Confined to our homes, this is therefore an opportunity to connect digitally, and convene the first virtual assembly of the Mesopotamian Water Forum.
1. Who is invited to this virtual assembly?
Water movements and civil society organizations from Mesopotamia – in particular those who attended the first 1st Mesopotamian Water Forum held in Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan Region of Iraq in April 2019. Other water activists from Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran – the four states of the Tigris-Euphrates basin – are encouraged to take part.
2. When and how will it be organized?
The date of the assembly is Saturday 16 – Sunday 17 May 2020. Due to Ramadan we propose for the event to last 2 hours each day, starting from 3pm – 5pm Iraq time.
An online group for video call will be opened for the Mesopotamian Water Forum. Movements and activists will be invited to join the group.
Communication will be in English only, intepretation can be provided by other participants. Documents and transcriptions related to the assembly will be shared in different languages (English, Arabic, Kurdish (Sorani), Persian and Turkish).
3. Proposed agenda for the Virtual Assembly
Day 1: Saturday 16 May
Introduction to the goals of the virtual assembly. Updates on corona virus from movements in the region. What is the impact of the crisis situation on water provision and water infrastructure? What is the impact of the crisis on activism and advocacy?
Updates on the water situation in the region, in particular dams, pollution and climate change.
Day 2: Sunday 17 May
Feedback on the first edition of the Mesopotamian Water Forum from 2019. What lessons can be learned and how can we work towards the second edition which is aimed to be organized in 2021?
Is the 2019 declaration still valid, does it require any modifications?
4. Smaller sub-regional Virtual Assemblies
Since the main Virtual Assembly will be held in English, and in order for activists to discuss and prepare on a local level, we invite participating activists from the region to organize sub-regional virtual assemblies using local languages, preferably prior to the main assembly, but also possible afterwards. We suggest to discuss and prepare the topics on the agenda for the main Virtual Assembly.
In case it is not possible for a sub-regional Virtual Assembly to take place prior to the regional assembly, we still suggest and support such an event after the Mesopotamian Water Forum – Virtual Assembly.
To participate, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org