Spain hosts Yemen’s heritage of natural resource management [Archives:2008/1164/Last Page]

June 16 2008

Yemen currently is displaying its heritage of natural resources management at Expo Zaragoza 2008 in Spain under the slogan “Water and Sustainable Development.” Beginning June 14 and going until September 14, the exhibition features the largest participation by international organizations, among them the United Nations and its affiliates and programs concerned with water.

Other international organizations participating in the exhibition include the World Bank, international centers concerned with water and sustainable development, world civic institutions and unions and the International Water Resources Association. Some 104 countries also are participating in the event.

“This will have a greatly positive effect on the exchange of experience, knowledge and skills regarding water issues,” states Yahya Ali Al-Eryani, general manager of the Water Resources Department at Yemen's Ministry of Water and Environment, as well as the Yemen Coordinator at the 2008 expo.

According to Al-Eryani, this exhibition is of great importance, as it affords an opportunity for Yemen to promote its civilized heritage of natural resources management, biodiversity, natural elements, islands and coasts and hot water sources, pointing out that such elements are factors for tourist, as well as scientific attractions for both individuals and organizations.

“This exhibition is one of the rarest opportunities – which Yemen must make use of – as well as care about demonstrating positive participation at such an international event,” Al-Eryani noted.

“Because it's being staged in Spain, this exhibition will be of great importance to Yemen, which needs to improve its image in Spain after it was stained by a terrorist attack targeting a group of Spanish tourists in Marib last July,” Al-Eryani explained.

According to various Yemeni government officials, Spain is the gateway to the European Union, in which it is a member. Pointing out that Spain annually attracts up to 50 million international tourists, they agree that Yemen should make use of this opportunity to repair its image, which was negatively affected by last summer's terrorist acts, in the Spanish community in particular and the European community in general.

Yemen's water shortage is due to be highlighted at the exhibition, which intends to discuss the problem at the international level and then suggest workable solutions.

Al-Eryani and other Water and Environment Ministry officials hold the view that this exhibition will create an opportunity for Yemen to learn about other countries' experiences and modern technology in water and environment, and then apply these experiences at the local level.

The expo will include video footage of Yemen's water and environment, as well as its conventional practices and traditions pertaining to water management. It also will brief participants about the current water situation in Yemen and other water-scarce countries worldwide, reviewing any measures such countries have taken thus far to manage their water resources and provide their citizens good water and sanitation services.

The Spanish government has paid close attention to the expo and promoted it worldwide, even designating a special diplomat in charge of promoting it.

The Spanish city of Zaragoza is planned as the permanent destination for the General Secretariat of International Water Decade (2005-2015) under the slogan, “Water is the Source of Life,” a U.N.-affiliated program.

The exhibition in Spanish media

Spanish media has been quoted as saying that a million guests are expected to visit the event.

From the outset, Expo Zaragoza 2008 has aimed to be more than just an attractive urban development project; it's a driving force for necessary urban, social and cultural change. International expositions have been and are valuable tools for progress in all areas with global sustainability problems regarding the environment, water, energy, health care, education, etc.

With a 150-year history, such world exhibitions throughout the years have always been a global non-commercial exhibition, creating a home for cross-cultural dialogue, international meetings and serious exchange of solutions to global dilemmas. In fact, this expo is considered the Olympics of economy, technology and research, with an ocean of national attractions in its pavilions.

Spanish media reports indicate that this event seeks to create a new type of themed exposition open to all cultures and points of view. It will be a venue for each participant to have an important role in reflecting, sharing experiences and contributing imaginative solutions based on the global theme of water.