Friday, 21 March 2014

World Water Day: UN stresses water and energy issues

TOKYO/VIENNA, 21 March 2014 – The deep-rooted relationship between water and energy was highlighted during celebrations in Tokyo marking the United Nations’ annual Opens external link in new windowWorld Water Day.

The UN predicts that by 2030, the global population will need 35 per cent more food, 40 per cent more water and 50 per cent more energy. Already today 768 million people lack access to improved water sources, 2.5 billion people have no improved sanitation and 1.3 billion people cannot access electricity.

The 2014 World Water Development Report (WWDR) is released on World Water Day as an authoritative status report on global freshwater resources. It highlights the need for policies and regulatory frameworks that recognize and integrate approaches to water and energy priorities.

The report notes that roughly 75 per cent of all industrial water withdrawals are used for energy production. Tariffs also illustrate this interdependence: if water is subsidized to sell below cost (as is often the case), energy producers — major water consumers — are less likely to conserve it.  Energy subsidies, in turn, drive up water usage.

The Report stresses the imperative of coordinating political governance and ensuring that water and energy prices reflect real costs and environmental impacts.

“Energy and water are at the top of the global development agenda,” said the Rector of United Nations University (UNU), David Malone, this year’s coordinator of World Water Day on behalf of UN-Water together with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

“Significant policy gaps exist in this nexus at present, and the UN plays an instrumental role in providing evidence and policy-relevant guidance. Through this day, we seek to inform decision-makers, stakeholders and practitioners about the interlinkages, potential synergies and trade-offs, and highlight the need for appropriate responses and regulatory frameworks that account for both water and energy priorities. From UNU’s perspective, it is essential that we stimulate more debate and interactive dialogue around possible solutions to our energy and water challenges.”

UNIDO Director General LI Yong emphasized the importance of water and energy for inclusive and sustainable industrial development.

“There is a strong call today for integrating the economic dimension, and the role of industry and manufacturing in particular, into the global post-2015 development priorities. Experience shows that environmentally sound interventions in manufacturing industries can be highly effective and can significantly reduce environmental degradation. I am convinced that inclusive and sustainable industrial development will be a key driver for the successful integration of the economic, social and environmental dimensions,” said LI.

The event in Tokyo was attended by His Imperial Highness, Crown Prince Naruhito, who delivered a keynote speech. The Deputy to the Director General of UNIDO, Taizo Nishikawa, delivered a speech on behalf of UNIDO.



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