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Second Mediterranean Water Heroes Contest on “Nature for Water: Nature-Based Solutions”

  • Starts: Nov 27, 2017
  • Ends: Jan 15, 2018
  • Location: Alexandria
  • By: CMI
  • The Context


    World Water Day in the Mediterranean


    Every year, World Water Day draws the world’s attention to key water challenges. World Water Day 2018 focuses on “Nature for Water ” by raising awareness on water and Nature-based Solutions (NbS) in the Mediterranean. NbS are defined as “… actions to protect, sustainably manage and restore natural or modified ecosystems, that address societal challenges and adaptively, while simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits” (IUCN, 2016)[1]. NbS can consist of:


    • Ecosystem restoration approaches
    • Ecosystem-based climate change adaptation and mitigation measures and disaster risk reduction
    • Infrastructure-related approaches: natural and green infrastructure
    • Integrated Water Resources Management and integrated coastal zone management
    • Ecosystem protection approaches


    These are some of the key questions underlying World Water Day 2018.


    • What NbS are most adapted to increasing Mediterranean water security in the context of climate change?
    • How can NbS help us to manage, consume, dispose of and reuse water more sustainably?
    • How do we implement NbS for water in practice and in policy?
    • What is the role of youth in applying and disseminating NbS for water?


    The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is the most water scarce region in the world, with 15 countries in the region suffering from extreme water scarcity (less than 500 m³/year of renewable water per capita per year).


    Numerous phenomena are further worsening water security in the region, notably climate change and environmental factors (soil erosion, deforestation, water pollution), population growth, increased urbanization, ongoing water mismanagement and faulty water service provision systems.


    Sharing innovative research and best practices on water use in all sectors – ranging from the everyday level to long-term projects, and spanning from urban integrated water resources management to agriculture – is needed to reverse this downward spiral, while developing and disseminating viable regional measures to bolster water security in the Mediterranean.


    The Center for Mediterranean Integration Mediterranean Water Heroes Contest


    The Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI) is a multi-partner platform where development agencies, Governments, local authorities and civil society from around the Mediterranean convene in order to exchange knowledge, discuss public policies, and identify the solutions needed to address key challenges facing the Mediterranean region. CMI’s overarching theme is youth.


    Youth has an important role to play in working towards regional water security and better water awareness.


    Young people are innovating on water in the entire Mediterranean, and their actions and ideas should be shared and replicated to create a more secure regional water future, especially in the Maghreb and the Mashreq. Moreover, youth are often keen to adopt and test new ideas and technologies.


    Finally, water also represents a valuable economic opportunity with the potential to create numerous green jobs that can further contribute to environmental, economic and social sustainability in the region.


    To support youth in acquiring more voice in the Mediterranean water agenda, CMI is launching the Second Mediterranean Water Heroes Contest, which invites young Mediterranean water researchers, entrepreneurs and activists the opportunity to convene and share their work at CMI’s 2018 World Water Day youth workshop (Alexandria, early March 2018).


    You can find more information on the first CMI World Water Day youth workshop on wastewater reuse in the Mediterranean here.


    The contest will also further expand the CMI-facilitated “Mediterranean Youth for Water Network” (MedYWat) by inviting contest applicants to join MedYWat and contribute to the network.


    MedYWat gathers young water professionals, activists and researchers from the around the Mediterranean to give more voice to youth in shaping and implementing the Mediterranean water agenda.



    [1] IUCN (2016) “Nature-based Solutions to address Global Societal Challenges” (Gland, IUCN). Access the full report here.


    Online Contest Rules


    Who is Eligible?


    • Young people aged 18-35.
    • Researchers, entrepreneurs and activists working on water challenges in the Mediterranean.
    • Regardless of their place of residence, applicants must be nationals from the following Mediterranean countries: Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Malta, Morocco, Montenegro, Palestinian Territories, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey.
    • Applicants may be working for public institutions, research institutes, start-ups and companies, NGOs, or as freelancers.
    • Both individual and team applications are welcome. Team applications must be indicated in the application form. The team composition must be clearly stated in the application and may not be modified once it has been submitted,  If your team is selected, you may choose one person to represent you at the event.


    Selection Criteria


    Submissions will be assessed by the contest jury based on the following criteria:

    • Regional relevance and scalability to other Mediterranean contexts
    • Youth and community involvement
    • Environmental, Social and Economic Impact
    • Innovative value
    • Prior involvement in Mediterranean youth and water networks
    • Overall quality of the application


    What ideas are eligible?


    Your application should be related to one of the following themes:

    • NbS for regional water security and resilience: how does your work contribute to regional water security and increase resilience to natural and human-made shocks?
    • NbS for water and climate change: how does your NbS work provide adequate climate change adaptation and mitigation measures?
    • NbS and the water-food-energy Nexus: how does your work support water-related NbS that contribute to more sustainable water, food and energy production, consumption and disposal cycles in the Mediterranean?
    • Youth activism and advocacy for water and NbS: how are you supporting the dissemination of water-related NbS and advocating for them in the Mediterranean?




    CMI jury members

    External jury members:

    • CMI Water Hub Representative
    • Swedish Institute Alexandria Representative
    • MedYWat Representative




    By applying, you automatically have the chance of being selected by the jury to participate in the CMI 2018 World Water Day workshop in Alexandria, Egypt (March 2018) with covered travel and accommodation.

    Among the contest applicants invited to attend the workshop, the jury will further select three contest winners who will receive the following prizes:

    • Short internship opportunity with one of CMI’s core partners (to be defined in collaboration with the partner and the winner)
    • Full coverage to the CMI 2018 World Water Day youth workshop
    • Key speaking role during the youth workshop
    • Showcasing of your work on the Center for Mediterranean Integration and partners’ websites


    How can you apply?


    Applications will be submitted through an online form on the CMI website in either English or Arabic. Only completed applications will be taken into consideration. Should you be experiencing difficulties in filling out the online form in English or Arabic, please get in touch with us at




    Monday 27th November 2017, 12:00 PM CET time: Official contest launch. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

    15th January 2018, 12:00 PM CET time: Close of the contest

    30th January 2018: Public announcement of the contest results


    Legal Aspects


    The above competition rules are binding throughout the entire duration of the “Mediterranean Water Heroes” World Water Day Youth Contest. Participating in the contest indicates that participants accept these rules and regulations and agree to abide by them. CMI reserves the right to disqualify any team and/or team member it believes are not abiding by the rules of the CMI World Water Day Contest.


    Contact :