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The Middle East peace process and its bilateral track began with the Madrid Conference of October 1991. Subsequently, peace process partners agreed to establish a multilateral track, which began with an organizational meeting in Moscow in January 1992. The broad goal of the multilateral track is to focus on issues of common interest and importance throughout the region that can best be addressed on a regional basis. The multilateral track consists of five working groups: (1) Working Group on Water Resources, (2) Working Group on the Environment, (3) Working Group on Regional Economic Development, (4) Working Group on Refugees, and (5) Working Group on Arms Control and Regional Security.
 
Water problems in the Middle East are common because most of the area has semi-arid to arid climatic conditions. The Multilateral Working Group on Water Resources (MWGWR), for which the United States serves as Gavelholder and Japan and the European Union serve as co-organizers, established the following four broad agenda items to address some of the critical water issues.

 Enhancement of water data availability.
 Water management practices, including conservation.
 Enhancement of water supply.
 Concepts of regional water management and cooperation.

Since its inception, the MWGWR has been implementing a variety of projects under its four agenda items. Each project enjoys the technical and financial support of one or more of the MWGWR's extra-regional donor delegations. One of the projects established by the WGWR is the Public Awareness and Water Conservation Project, formed in 1996, which is being managed by the United States. The first activity completed by the regional participants in this project was the design and preparation of a video aimed at youth that highlights the importance of water issues from a regional perspective. This video is available for showing at youth-oriented events throughout the region.
 
The second major activity, known as WaterCare, was the preparation of a Student Resource Book, Teacher's Guide, and complementary Web Page focused on water conservation issues that are regional in concept, scope, and content. The materials were prepared jointly by Jordanian, Israeli, and Palestinian educational writers and are being written for students between 12 and 15 years old. They will be used as supplementary materials in the educational systems of each of the regional participants. The major topics addressed by the materials include water resources, water use, water pollution, water management for conservation, and water for the future, all from a regional perspective.


Maintained by: WaterCare Support Team 
An activity of the Multilateral Working Group on Water Resources