Ralf Klingbeil

Senior Expert Water, Environment, Sustainable Development -BGR - Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources, Germany

Dr. Ralf Klingbeil is a senior expert for water, environment and sustainable development with extensive experience in environmental and water policy advice and management in the Middle East and Africa. Initially trained as a hydrogeologist, geophysicist and geoscientist, with more than 20 years of professional experience in university research, teaching, private consultancies, public institutions, advisory services for UN agencies and German federal ministries, worked as groundwater specialist and adviser for water and land resources management in Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

Keynote Speech Abstract

Groundwater Management and Protection in Times of Climate Change: Challenges and Opportunities in the MENA Region

Since many years the adequate management and protection of groundwater for future generations has been a challenge for many societies also in the countries of the MENA region. With the additional impacts of climate change on the hydrological systems, it becomes even more urgent to address the traditional challenges for sustainable water and groundwater use in the necessary holistic and systematic way. Too long unsustainable groundwater practices with short and long term over-drafting of aquifers or increasing pollution from point sources and areal infiltration of pollutants have affected the future development perspectives. Based on the experiences from the past a new paradigm for participative sustainable groundwater utilization has to develop to ensure a successful path into a sustainable future. This includes aspects of adaptation to and mitigation of climate change impacts and its relation to groundwater management.

The presentation intends to highlight some of the challenges and existing barriers to sustainable groundwater management. It discusses factors that influence groundwater availability and quality and develops some suggestions for innovative ways forward to overcome current barriers – including measures to address groundwater in the context of adaptation to and mitigation of climate change – based on activities from BGR and others internationally.