Press Release

Board View

The Ministry of Environment to start commercial diplomacy to export infrastructure for seawater desalination and Artificial Intelligence-based water purification

▷ Environment Ministry signed an MOU on the cooperation in the field of water resources with UAE 

Sejong, January 17 - Environment Minister Han Wha-jin signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the cooperation in the field of water resources with the Minister of Energy and Infrastructure of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on January 15, 2023, in Abu Dhabi. The MOU includes strengthening the foundation for the water industry of the UAE, such as seawater desalination and smart water management, and joint response to climate change and water shortage. 

The MOU is the result of active cooperation between the two countries in water resources since the two countries signed an MOU at the director-general level in November 2015. After signing the MOU at the director-general level, the two countries held joint meetings five times to discuss ways of cooperation in the said field. This time, the signatories of the MOU were upgraded to the ministerial level. The partnership is also expanded to seawater desalination and artificial intelligence-based water purification.    


Particularly, the MOU is meaningful that it paved the way for Korean companies that have already been working in desalination in the UAE to have an export effect worth KRW two trillion. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is currently bidding for or undergoing a project for a total of about KRW 2 trillion worth of seawater desalination plants, including Shuweihat 4, Abu Dhabi, Hassyan Phase 1 (Dubai), and Hamriyah.

In addition, the UAE has potential demand for smart water management, including artificial intelligence-based water purification, because it can be suggested as an alternative to water scarcity caused by climate change. Smart water management is South Korea's area of strength, and there will be more opportunities for related companies to enter the UAE's market soon. 


Environment Minister Han Wha-jin had a luncheon meeting with the Korean companies who have already entered into the UAE's market to discuss how the environment ministry could assist them in increasing the export of water-related technology and industry. On the same day, the Minister met the Chairman of the Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC). Since the company is inviting bids for desalination plants, the Minister promoted South Korea's excellent water technology to the EWEC. The Minister visited the seawater desalination plant run by the EWEC to keep current with trends of the latest technology. She will utilize them to draw up measures to support green export. 

Environment Minister Han Wha-jin said, "During the South Korea-United Arab Emirates summit, the Korean government expressed our will to take the lead on the export front through economic diplomacy." She added, "I look forward to enhanced cooperation between the two countries in the water sector. The Ministry of Environment will support Korean companies so that they produce meaningful and tangible progress in the UAE."

Contact: Lee Sang-hoon, Deputy Director

Water Industry and International Cooperation Division / +82-(0)44-201-7634

Foreign Media Contact: Chun Minjo(Rachel)

+82-(0)44-201-6055 /