UN General Assembly Thematic Debate Sustainable Development and
Climate Change Practical Solutions in the Energy-Water Nexus
Date/Location: Thursday, May 16, 2013; 10:00-11:45; Trusteeship Council Chamber
Speaker: H.E. Mr. Vuk Jeremic (President of General Assembly); Mr. Wu Hongbo (Under-Secretary for Economic and Social Affairs); H.E. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber (Minister of State and Special Envoy for Energy and Climate Change of UAE); Prof. Jeffery Sachs (SDSN and The Earth Institute, Columbia University); Mr. Janez Potocnik (European Commissioner for Environment); H.E. Ms. Izabella Teixeira (Minister of Environment of Brazil); Ms. Beata Jaczewska (Deputy Minister of Environment of Poland)
Attended by: Marli Kasdan, Manuel Barrientos and Wayne Dean Doyle
Edited By: Wayne Dean Doyle
The outlook was bleak today the 67th Session met at the Trusteeship Council Chamber to discuss the linkages between energy and water sustainability. President Jeremic expressed his concern and views on sustainable development and how energy and water security are essential for future economic and social development. First speaker, Mr. Wu Hongbo, gave an address from the UN Secretary General expressing his concerns on the pressing need to develop policies to use water and energy resources more efficiently and to increase access to all. He also addressed the growing impacts that climate change has on water and energy resources and how rising sea levels and coastal erosion will continue to effect our water supplies and, in turn, energy infrastructure. Following the Secretary General’s statement, his excellency, Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber of the UAE, addressed how energy, water, and food are three key elements, inextricably linked to furthering growth and sustainable development. Today, there are still 783 million people without access to clean water and 1.3 billion lack electricity. The UAE itself relies heavily on food imports and lacks water availability and faces a similar situation to other countries in the Middle East, who’s economies rely on access to water, energy, and food. Desalination technology with renewable energy, and a more diverse energy mix combined with nuclear power is being developed in the UAE in order to broaden energy resources. Abroad, the UAE is funding renewable energy projects in developing countries. Next, Professor Sachs, addressed the rising CO2 levels which are a main cause of global climate change which directly effect access to food and water. Furthermore, energy usage is contributing to these increasing CO2 levels. Due to global climate change, there has been a recent increase in the intensity and number of draughts and floods, as well as other natural disasters. In order to combat this, Dr. Sachs, stated how the world needs to de-carbonize its energy system and look to other renewable sources of energy such as solar and wind power. Finally, the keynote speakers, Mr. Potocnik, Ms. Teixeira, and Ms. Jacaewska addressed the effects of a growing world population in combination with increasingly scarce resources on sustainable development. This lack of access to resources is one of the main reasons for poverty. However, poverty eradication and sustainable development can be realized through an integrated approach to managing resources in combination with policies that address water and energy security together. They also focused on the benefits that renewable forms of energy can bring to the global population.