UNU-FLORES attended the Budapest Water Summit to promote the nexus of water, soil and waste among the water community. The Director of UNU-FLORES took part in a special evening session on the High-Level Panel on the “Water – Energy – Food Nexus”. UNU-FLORES was also represented with a booth at the Water and Sanitation Expo, where the Dresden-based institute presented its work and also displayed information about the UN Water Decade Programme on Capacity Development (UNW-DPC) hosted by UNU and the Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS).
Through the participation of the Director of UNU-FLORES in a special evening session, the work of UNU-FLORES and the nexus of water, soil and waste were introduced to a high-level panel and audience, consisting of around 150 to 170 key members of the international water community. Key points put forward, such as the need of developing a nexus mindset both in science and in practice, and the need for institutional capacity development, were acknowledged and repeatedly supported by other panelists. The panel was moderated by Fritz Holzwarth, Deputy Director-General of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU).The Budapest Water Summit took place from 8-11 October 2013, in Budapest, Hungary. The Summit brought together participants representing governments, international organizations, civil society, academia and the private sector to discuss the development of water related goals for the post-2015 development agenda.
Over the course of the 90-minute panel, the participants raised a variety of issues regarding the nexus of water, energy and food:
- Paul Oquist Kelly, Minister and Private Secretary of National Policies, Nicaragua, stressed the importance of the nexus of water, energy and food to Nicaragua’s policy on both micro and macro levels.
- Roberto Lenton, Director of the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute of the University of Nebraska, USA, pointed out that the nexus is important as it looks at synergies, and gave the example of rising energy prices posing an incentive for efficient water use.
- Avinash Tyagi, Secretary General of the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID), mentioned that a drop of water should not only be considered in terms of its quality and quantity, but also with regards to the energy it contains and/or requires. He pointed out that water use efficiency should be the most important aspect of a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on water.
- Mohamed Ait-Kadi, Chair of the Technical Committee of the Global Water Partnership (GWP), stressed that “The nexus is not an option, it is a necessity” in a world of scarce resources.
- Mohammed Ibrahim Al Saud, Deputy Minister for Water Affairs at the Ministry of Water and Electricity of Saudi Arabia, presented examples from Saudi Arabia that illustrated the close linkages between water, food and energy in his country.
- Richard Lawford of the Morgan State University, USA, stressed the contribution of science to the nexus approach, and the need for science to become more integrated and develop networks and systems that span different disciplines.
- Reza Ardakanian, Founding Director of UNU-FLORES, stressed the importance of education in developing a nexus mindset and the raising of public awareness. He also highlighted that the nexus should be employed on the resources level, as done by UNU-FLORES for water, soil and waste.
- Alexander Verbeeck from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands pointed out that the right data needs to be available in order to effectively employ the nexus. He put forth the idea of having separate SDGs for food, water and energy, but to think in the nexus mode while working on these individual goals.
A booth at the Water Sanitation Expo was also organized by UNU-FLORES. The booth enabled UNU-FLORES to present the institute to all participants of the Summit (approximately 1,200 to 1,500) between October 9 and 11. The booth was well visited over the three days, and contacts were established with representatives of member states, research institutions, NGOs and the private sector. As the only UNU entity at the Summit, the stand was also used to present the work of UNU in general to the visitors and also materials of UNW-DPC.
The Budapest Water Summit Statement is available here:http://www.budapestwatersummit.hu/data/images/Budapest_Water_Summit_Statement___Final___11_October_2013.pdf