2014 UN-Water Annual International Zaragoza Conference. Preparing for World Water Day 2014: Partnerships for improving water and energy access, efficiency and sustainability. 13-16 January 2014

Industry partnerships to ensure water and energy efficiency and sustainability

Panels' conveners: UNIDO and UNEP.
Date: 14 January 2014 Time:14:30-18:00:


Water-energy nexus issues have drawn increasing attention because the scarcity and environmental impact of those resources are compounding each other and the nexus, if managed well, could create multiple benefits and opportunities to save resources, sustain ecosystem services and contribute to sustainable development in general.

In recent years, industries have been engaged in improving water and energy efficiency and access. Industries are recognizing the need for partnership and coordination for the implementation of interventions and investments to be able to achieve the water and energy nexus targets. Such companies see the value of efficiencies in both monetary and societal terms. But still there is a long way to go.

There are many opportunities for industry (inside the water and energy boxes) for operating efficiently, profitably and sustainably. Because of its private management structure, industry has the flexibility to effect changes and improve efficiency in water and energy use within itself and its immediate sphere of influence. And for governments and regulators, outside-the-box opportunities exist to provide enabling environments and institutional frameworks. However, there are still a few challenges such as incentives needed to prepare audits, consideration of life cycle assessments, disclosure and transparency and implementation of technology improvements for fulfilling their own targeted responsibilities. Industries and other stakeholders need to take steps to identify and overcome the barriers that exist.

An increased level of collaboration and coordination would produce favourable outcomes of improving the efficiency and sustainability of water and energy use and finding win–win options for resource efficiency and environmental sustainability.


  • The session will provide a comprehensive overview of major and emerging trends from around the world, with examples of how some of the trend-related challenges have been addressed by the industry, their implications and further actions that can be taken by the different stakeholders.
  • This session will introduce experiences and lessons learnt from practices of water and energy and present various partnership cases to tackle the nexus issues between industry and other stakeholders.
  • The session will show on how to build national capacity to apply to industrial integrated approach in order to facilitate the transfer of environmentally sound technology.
  • The session aims to inform decision-makers, stakeholders and practitioners about the interlinkages, potential synergies and trade-offs, and to highlight the need for appropriate responses and regulatory frameworks that account for both water and energy priorities.

Questions to be addressed

  • What are the challenges and opportunities of partnerships on water and energy for industries?
  • What are the opportunities for the implementation of improved coordinated/integrated activities?
  • Lessons learnt from public and private partnerships in industries.


  • 14:30- 16:00: Panel 1: UNIDO Industry Partnerships
    Convened by UNIDO
    14:30-15:00: Overview of UNIDO-Industry Partnerships: Igor Volodin, Water Management Specialist, Technical Cooperation Division of UNIDO.
    15:00-15:30: Panel Discussion moderated by Igor Volodin
  • 15:30-16:00: Open discussion and conclusion
  • 16:30- 18:00: Panel 2: UNEP – Industry and other stakeholder partnerships
    Convened by UNEP
    16:30-17:00: Shaoyi Li, Head, Integrated Resources Management Unit, Sustainable Consumption and Production Branch, Division of Technology, Industry and Economics, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Overview of lessons learnt from industry partnerships on water and energy (including brief presentations by panelists)

    17:00-17:30: Panel Discussion moderated by Shaoyi Li
    Why do we need robust partnerships to address the water-energy nexus issues? What are the challenges and opportunities for partnerships to be effective and successful on the water-energy nexus? What are building blocks (key elements) for partnerships to plan and implement concerted actions? Concrete suggestions to forge and promote partnerships?
    • Iris Cheng, Climate and Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace. Coal’s water use. Case studies from South Africa and India highlighting the importance of partnerships for effective water planning and transparency in the energy sector which is crucial for effective energy and water nexus decision-making.
    • Alistair Wyness, Group Water Expert, BP. A BP-funded multi-disciplinary research programme investigating the effects of natural resource scarcities on patterns of energy supply and consumption.
    • Mr. Simon Howard, International Hydropower Association. The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol provides a globally-relevant, multi-stakeholder supported, assessment methodology, to continuously improve sustainability in the hydropower sector. It removes the need for individual criteria-setting at organization, sector, country and regional levels by providing an internationally-applicable language with which to assess hydropower.
    • Robert Schröder, Policy Officer, European Commission, DG Environment, Unit C.1 Protection of Water Resources. The European Innovation Partnership on Water is a project that identifies key barriers to innovation in the field of water and developed action plans to implement ways of removing these barriers through promoting Public Private Partnerships.
  • 17:30-18:00: Open discussion, conclusion and the way forward: Shaoyi Li and Josefina Maestu.