General Assembly: Statement by Ambassador Berger on Sustainable Development and Climate Change

May 16, 2013

(Statement as delivered by Ambassador Berger at the General Assembly Thematic Debate on "Sustainable Development and Climate Change: practical Solutions in the Energy-Water-Nexus")

“Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

This thematic debate on the energy-water nexus is timely and very important. I congratulate the PGA for this initiative. Achieving sustainable energy and water security for all is at the heart of the 21st century challenges. The role of climate change in this regard can not be overemphasized, as it might contribute to increased scarcity of resources, potentially fueling conflicts and instability.

We all understand: Reliable energy supply is not possible without water. And: modern water management does not work without energy.  Energy and water policy are two sides of the same coin.

There is of course much more to consider: Not only water and energy are closely interlinked. Energy generation and agricultural production are competing for limited water resources. Allocating water for energy or for agriculture has major impacts on food and energy security. 

As the panelists have pointed out, demand for energy, for water, but also for food is on the rise.  Agricultural production accounts for more than 70% of the world´s water consumption. It is therefore even more important to analyse and find solutions for the interdependencies between water, energy, but also food security. A preparatory conference for Rio+20 in Bonn, Germany, in 2011 first highlighted these interlinkages.

In any future post 2015 development agenda we will have to carefully keep in mind these linkages. We can no longer look at these subjects in silos, but have to take a much more integrated approach. 

This is not an academic exercise, but a very practical issue:

- Agriculture policies based on increased water pumping for irrigation have to cope with limited energy generation capacities.

- Traditional energy production needs a lot water resources, which very often adds up to water scarcity and diminishes the water available for food production.

Therefore, the importance of interlinkages between these sectors should be given adequate attention in framing the post-2015 development agenda.

I would like to adress the following questions to the podium:

- What are your ideas on how to conceptualize these linkages we are discussing today in a system of development goals after 2015?

- As the title of today´s debate is putting the energy and water nexus in the context of sustainable development and climate change: Could you elaborate on the influence of  climate change in relation to the nexus approach ? Does climate change reinforce the need for a more integrated, i.e. nexus approach?

Thank you very much.”

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