UNESCWA co-organized "The Fourth Middle East and North Africa Renewable Energy Conference- MENAREC4" in cooperation with the Syrian Ministry of Electricity, the United Nations Environment Programme - Regional Office for Western Asia, and with the support of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. The conference was held in Damascus & Palmyra, Syria from 21 to 24 June 2007.
The main theme of the conference was "The Way Forward for Renewable Energy (RE) Development &Technology Transfer, EU-MENA Cooperation". The conference covered topics on Renewable Energy (RE) resources; potential and prospects in the MENA Region, State-of-the-Art of (RE/EE) yechnologies, enhancing MENA-EUROPE RE cooperation Initiatives and technology transfer, policies, legislations, financing and awareness tools, and for promoting RE applications in the MENA Region.
Delegations and representatives from 38 countries, among them 19 national and international organizations, 15 ministers, 7 of them from Europe and MENA countries, participated in the Conference, including the former chancellor of the German Federal Republic, Mr. Gerhard Schroder.
Dr. Atef Kubrusi, Acting Executive Secretary, delivered ESCWA opening speech. He focused on the energy situation in the MENA region, which is characterized by the tremendous availability of conventional resources of energy (Oil & Gas), as well as, Renewable Energy resources (Wind and Solar), and at the same time, the region suffers from water scarcity, where RE applications can minimize this problem by using solar water desalination systems for providing potable water.
Dr. Kubrusi also stressed on ESCWA's efforts in promoting RE technology applications among its member countries, either by studies or capacity building programmes and regional workshops.
Within the framework of the conference, UNESCWA/SDPD organized a "Round Table Discussion on Renewable Energy (R.E.) Technology Transfer to MENA Countries" that was held on 22 June 2007 between Industry Experts from Europe and the Arab countries. ESCWA presented the results of four national surveys from Egypt, Jordan, Yemen and Syria on the status of the Renewable Energy industries, the barriers and obstacles facing these industries in the MENA countries and the recommended actions for enhancing Renewable Energy Technology Transfer cooperation between European and MENA partners.
The participating ministers, delegations and representatives approved Damascus Declaration which focused on the need to diversify energy resources, to set national targets for RE deployment, to support the use of all forms of RE and the need to developed countries to scale up their technical & financial assistance to MENA countries for RE programs including technology transfer.