Sustainable water and energy use take center stage at global symposium

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World leaders and experts to discuss solutions and best practices

Itaipu Binacional, 13 June – The first Global Symposium on Sustainable Water and Energy Solutions will convene on 13–15 June 2022, bringing together experts and innovators from governments, international organizations and businesses to share and explore best practices that address the sustainable use of water and energy.

The global symposium comes at a critical time with more than 733 million people still lacking access to electricity, and water stress affecting more than 2 billion. The interdependency of water and energy is set to intensify in the coming years, with significant implications for both energy and water security. Each resource faces rising demands and constraints in many regions because of the combined impacts of climate change, economic demand and a growing population. According to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) current policies scenario, by 2035, energy consumption is projected to increase by 50 per cent, which in turn will increase the energy sector’s water consumption by 85 per cent.

“We urgently need actionable sustainable solutions to unlock the water-energy nexus and ensure global water security. To make this happen, we have to work within the interlinkages of climate action, environmental protection and socioeconomic development, recognizing the impacts of one on the other,” stated Mr. Liu Zhenmin, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA).

Wide-ranging and innovative solutions

To advance solutions to these global challenges and promote water and energy sustainability, the symposium will bring together representatives of UN Member States, leaders and experts on water, energy, terrestrial ecosystems and climate change, other international organizations and representatives of the private sector.

The solutions to be showcased will draw upon a wide range of sectors and approaches, including technological innovations using energy for water and using water for energy. The symposium will also examine finance and investment, including public-private partnerships, institutional and decision-making frameworks, and policy options to manage trade-offs and maximize positive impacts. In addition, it will explore how water and energy solutions can generate co-benefits, such as how to make hydropower more sustainable, giving back to local communities, boosting local economies, or adapting to changing climates.

“For Itaipu, it is an honor to host an event that showcases best practices in water and energy, which are central issues in sustainable development. When these two elements are managed sustainably, communities and the environment benefit,” said Itaipu’s Brazilian Director-General, Anatalicio Risden Junior.

“Itaipu is the result of an international partnership. And we believe that the SDGs urge us — governments, companies, and organizations worldwide — to act cooperatively. Therefore, this Global Symposium is an opportunity to join efforts, by sharing knowledge and lessons learned on sustainable water and energy solutions,” added Itaipu’s Paraguayan Director-General, Manuel María Cáceres Cardozo.

A long-term collaboration on water and energy issues

The importance of water and energy is recognized by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which includes the Sustainable Development Goals 6 which ,calls for ensuring availability and the sustainable management of water and sanitation for all and SDG 7 which calls for ensuring universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services.

In 2018, UN DESA and Itaipu Binacional launched the Global Sustainable Water and Energy Solutions Network to mobilize and scale up multi-stakeholder action towards this goal. The first Global Symposium on Sustainable Water and Energy Solutions is a continued cooperation between these two entities in order to further strengthen capacity building for effective and sustainable water and energy solutions for all. It is expected that the outcomes of this Global Symposium will lay the groundwork for the development of the First World Report on the Status and Trends on Sustainable Water and Energy Solutions.

The Global Symposium is being convened by UN DESA, in collaboration with other UN organizations and members of the Sustainable Water and Energy Solutions Network. It is hosted by the company Itaipu Binacional at its headquarters on the Paraná River on the border of Brazil and Paraguay, where it runs the Itaipu hydroelectric power plant. 

About ITAIPU

Located on the Paraná River between Brazil and Paraguay, the Itaipu hydroelectric power plant is one of the world’s largest generators of renewable energy. The company’s projects in the areas of conservation of biodiversity and maintenance of ecosystem services and local cultures provide a strong example of joint efforts between two countries working together to achieve sustainable development and leadership on climate action.

About UN DESA

The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), part of the United Nations Secretariat, works on a wide range of economic, social and environmental issues, with the core mission of promoting sustainable development for all.

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