Blue Peace Middle East 2.0 (BPME 2.0)

In one of the most water-scarce regions of the world, transboundary cooperation is an imperative to overcome the multiple regionally shared challenges to water security, which is a major obstacle to prosperity and a potential cause for conflicts. Switzerland’s diplomatic initiative BPME 2.0 aims to provide support at multiple levels, to promote water cooperation across borders, sectors and generations to foster peace, stability and sustainable socio-economic development in the ME. 

Country/region Topic Period Budget
MENA Regional
Conflict & fragility
Water diplomacy and security
Conflict prevention
Water sector policy
01.01.2023 - 31.12.2026
CHF  8’100’000
Background The Middle East is one of the most water-scarce regions in the world with an annual per capita water availability in most countries below the internationally accepted threshold level of 1000 m3. At the same time, it has suffered from a number of conflicts. Over 70 % of the region's water resources are trans-boundary. Regionally shared are also challenges that put additional strain on the limited water resources, including climate change, migration and weak institutions. In this context, regional cooperation and management of shared resources is an imperative for stability and peacebuilding, as well as an opportunity for regional integration. The Blue Peace Middle East Initiative provides a unique platform to work together on solutions to the regional water crisis, including trust-buidling, policy dialogue, capacity building and action on the ground. Switzerland is currently the only regional actor in the water sector in ME and profits from its excellent reputation as honest broker as well as its broad setup on the ground, all of which makes Switzerland the trustworthy partner for this diplomatic initiative.
Objectives Populations in the Middle East benefit from equitably shared and effectively managed common water resources thanks to climate resilient and sustainable regional water management as a basis for socio-economic development and stability.
Target groups Primary target group are influential policy makers in the region that are capable of convincing leaders and governments of the importance of regional transboundary water management for sustainable development, prosperity and stability and peace. Secondary target groups include government employees in the water sector, as well as academics, civil society groups, entrepreneurs, media representatives and networks.
Indirect target group are the populations threatened by conflict or water scarcity, with a dire need for access to water and sanitation. 
Medium-term outcomes Outcome 1: Result-oriented transboundary Water Energy-Food-Environment (WEFE) dialogue and practical cooperation among Middle East states is taking place fostered by a regionally owned and recognized BPME-Regional Mechanism (a regional platform for stakeholders and policy makers to find solutions for common challenges with shared water resources).

Outcome 2: Greater (public) awareness of possible solutions to the region’s water, energy, food and environmental challenges based on a new WEFE narrative of shared benefits.

Outcome 3: Innovative approaches to WEFE challenges are developed, implemented and promoted.

Outcome 4: Regional policy and decision-makers and other relevant stakeholders possess the required awareness, information, and capacity to actively and timely act upon water conflict challenges and actively realize cooperation benefits.

Expected results:  

  • BPME-Regional Mechanism consolidated
  • BPME Youth fellowship program established 
  • New WEFE narrative of shared benefits promoted (incl. based on Water Footprint Study) 
  • WEFE Platform and WEFE Community of Practice established 
  • Baseline and WEFE studies completed/ongoing 
  • 100 stakeholders from BPME countries trained on Water Diplomacy 
  • Fundament for regional MSc/postgraduate on Water Diplomacy established 

Results from previous phases:   The Blue Peace Middle East BPME Initiative was launched as hydro-diplomatic initiative by Switzerland and other partners in 2011. BPME 2.0 is based on and a continuation of the achievements of the first decade which i.a. yielded the creation of a regionally owned Regional Mechanism (informal dialogue platform for policy and technical exchanges), a Water Diplomacy Center as well as multiple elements for changing the narrative around water management in the region (e.g. better and more objective information basis through baseline studies for e.g. the Yarmouk River and improved water accounting (e.g. Tigris River) as well as studies and trainings on water use efficiency; strengthening of social water entrepreneurs; and awareness raising through trained “water journalists” and support to events (e.g. Blue Peace Days at the Swiss Pavilion at Expo Dubai). 

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Project partners Contract partner
Foreign academic and research organisation
Other International Organization
Private sector
  • Other OI
  • Swiss Private Sector
  • Research Organisation of South East
  • Jordan University of Science and Technology Water Diplomacy Center; Inter-Islamic Network on Water Resources Development and Management (INWRDAM)

Coordination with other projects and actors Actors active on transboundary water / water diplomacy, including the League of Arab States / Arab Water Council, UN-ESCWA, World Bank; bilateral donors (NL, SE), as well as other Blue Peace elements and partners (e.g. Global Blue Peace, Blue Peace Central Asia, Blue Peace West Africa, the Geneva Water Hub).
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    8’100’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    1’599’315
Project phases Phase 1 01.01.2023 - 31.12.2026   (Current phase)