الدكتور محمود أبوزبد يتسلم وسام الوشاح الأكبر للشمس المشرقة من إمبراطور اليابان في نوفمبر 2010
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On the International Scale

Dr. Mahmoud Abu-Zeid has been chairing the Egyptian-Dutch Advisory Panel Program (APP) on Water Management for more than 20 years.  The APP mission is to study the problems related to water and offer advisory and consultation services to both the Governments of Egypt and the Netherlands.  He is member of the UN Secretary-General's Advisory Board (UNSGAB) on Water and Sanitation established in March 2004.  The Board is composed of a wide range of dignitaries and elite water specialists and is chaired by His Royal Highness the Prince of the Netherlands.  Within the UNSGAB activities, a strategy for improving water and wastewater management has been developed, the so-called Hashimoto strategy named after the first Chairman of the Board.  Worth-mentioning is that the UN agencies have adopted this strategy and have placed it on top of the agenda of the African country summit in its meeting held in Egypt in July 2008.

Dr. M. Abu-Zeid has contributed greatly to the establishment of the World Water Council (WWC) and has chaired the Council for nine successive years, well-deserving the post of Honorary President of the World Water Council for life.  During his mandate as WWC President, he launched a number of international programs of highest priority in the field of water.  One of those programs involved the quest for financial resources for implementing water projects in developing countries that was presented at the World Water Forum in the Netherlands in the year 2000.

Dr. M. Abu-Zeid is a Visiting Professor and tutor in several universities worldwide, including Bari University (Italy), Colorado and California Universities (USA).  He also participated as member of a UN team in the consultative studies on water for investigating the possibility of linking south to north China via a new canal, in addition to a study conducted for the Government of Yemen concerning the development of Wadi Abeen and several other studies related to on-farm drainage in Iraq and Syria.


On the Regional Scale

Dr. Mahmoud Abu-Zeid’s distinguished contributions on the regional scale are of no less importance than those on the national scale.  He led many of the Arab and African campaigns and played a key role in establishing the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) in 1999 under the umbrella of which all Nile Basin countries were united for the first time.  Since then, numerous studies were conducted to initiate joint projects for the optimum use of the River Nile resources in diverse fields.

In parallel, he was influential in the negotiations for developing the new Nile Water Agreement, 95% of which has already been terminated.  He proficiently chaired the series of the Nile 2002 conferences that assembled professionals and specialists from all Nile Basin countries to exchange views and experiences.

Dr. M. Abu-Zeid chaired as well the African Ministerial Council for Water Resources in the Nile Basin Countries for several years, and represented the group of North African countries in the Council.  He was twice offered recognition awards by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for his distinguished efforts in this field.

Dr. Mahmoud Abu-Zeid is the principal initiator of numerous fundamental works in the field of water use and management on the national, regional and international scales, which had major influence on agricultural and food production.


On the Arab Scale

Dr. Abu-Zeid prepared and led the Founding Committee for establishment of the Arab Water Council, which is the first assembly of Arab countries revolving around the issue of water.   He headed the Council’s meetings at the World Water Forum in Mexico in 2006 and has prepared for the Council’s participation in the World Water Forum held in Turkey in 2009.

Under the umbrella of the Arab Water Council, Dr. M. Abu-Zeid is taking the lead in setting an integrated water resources program for Arab countries with the aim of optimizing the use of those resources and maximizing the agricultural benefits obtained from them.

Dr. M. Abu-Zeid participated in chairing numerous regional conferences on water, and is participating as Board member in selecting winners for the Prince Sultan Ben Abdul Aziz International Award on Water, which is the greatest award in the water sector amounting to 2.5 million S.R.  In this concern, he developed a set of criteria for selection of the Scientific Innovation Award and the Specialty Award.

Dr. Abu-Zeid has been requested to participate in developing the water plans for Bahrain, Iraq, Syria, Sudan and other Arab water countries.

He also prepared the draft memorandum concerning Arab Water Security that was presented to the Arab League Council.


On the National Scale

He led the move towards on-farm water management in Egypt in 1977, a trend that was barely considered at that time despite the water losses in Egypt that exceeded 30%.  He also founded the modern school of multi-disciplinary approach in irrigation improvement projects, including pioneer work conducted by an integrated team of irrigation engineers, agronomists, sociologists and economists.  Under his leadership, the first National Water Management and Irrigation Improvement Project in Egypt was launched, implemented in an area of 400,000 feddans. Subsequently, he supervised the development and implementation of the second Irrigation Improvement Project covering an area of 500,000 feddans based on the concept of integrated water resources management.

Dr. Abu-Zeid was instrumental in introducing the doctrine of integrated management by large in Egypt.  This formed the basis of the Water Resources Strategy in 1998, which was translated under his supervision to Egypt’s National Water Resources Plan till the year 2017.  Such was the first integrated water plan in Egypt set in full participation between the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation and the Ministry of Housing, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation and Ministry of State for Environmental Affairs.

While implementing this policy, he adopted the principle of de-centralization and participation of Water Users’ Associations for the first time in Egypt, by virtue of which water boards on the farm level, as well as on the branch and main canal and groundwater levels were formed.  Moreover, Dr. Abu-Zeid took the lead towards achieving institutional reform in the water sector by establishing regional irrigation authorities with de-centralized activities.

Dr. M. Abu-Zeid also advocated the concept of virtual water to limit the exportation of the water-affiliate crops such as rice and sugarcane that consume about 25% of Egypt’s water resources.


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