January 8, 2014
The 2014 UN-Water Annual International Zaragoza Conference takes place in Zaragoza, Spain next week
The January 13th to 16th conference is part of the road map for World Water Day 2014 focused on the nexus of water and energy.
UN-Water, the organizers of the conference note that water and energy (W&E) are closely interlinked and interdependent stressing that W&E inter-linkages have an important role in the post-2015 development agenda and the conceptualization of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
They note that there are indeed some main challenges, interconnections and opportunities for realizing synergies and benefits from joint responses on the water and energy nexus, including for the design of climate resilience and green economies. Partnerships amongst institutions, agencies and stakeholders can help in achieving some of these benefits, they note.
The Zaragoza Conference will reach beyond the “water for energy” and/or “energy for water” concept focusing on a more practical examination of how tools and partnerships help developing appropriate joint responses and the measures for managing trade-offs, identifying synergies, and maximizing co-benefits.
Discussions will center on how partnerships can help implement responses to achieve W&E efficiency, secured access and sustainability.
Michel Jarraud, the Chair of UN-Water says, “The water and energy nexus presents significant opportunities for both the water and energy sectors. Increasing collaboration and coordination in the development of policy responses for example can greatly help reduce inefficiencies and better manage trade-offs”.
Jarraud hopes that the Zaragoza Conference will bring decision- and policy-makers from both domains at the same table, help them recognize the interdependencies between water and energy and see the opportunities offered by increased collaboration and coordination.
Shaoyi Li, the Head of the Integrated Resource Management Unit, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) says “More and more people are realizing that the water and energy (W&E) nexus is critical to the environment, economic development and social progress. So far the debate has been on a general level: more energy could mean more water available; energy shortage exacerbates water scarcity.
I hope one outcome of this conference is to provide an in-depth knowledge and articulate the relationship and dynamic between these two key resources and find out best ways to manage and improve.”
Likewise, Annukka Lipponen , the Environmental Affairs Officer at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) says “The Zaragoza conference can be an excellent occasion to share experiences and identify opportunities for cooperation between actors from the water management/services and the energy sector. This is helpful for improving understanding and for learning from each other.”