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UN DESA Begins a new Partnership to Explore Sustainable Water and Energy Solutions


Energy and water are closely interlinked and interdependent, with about 90 per cent of global power generation being water intensive, while about 8 per cent of the global energy generation is used for pumping, treating and transporting water to various consumers. Both energy and water are used in the production of crops, including those used to generate energy through bio-fuels.

Growing populations and economies place additional demands on water and energy, and several regions around the world are already experiencing significant water and energy shortages. Today, 1.1 billion people lack access to electricity, while water stress is affecting more than 2 billion people. By 2035, energy consumption will increase by 50 per cent, which in turn will increase the energy sector’s water consumption by 85 per cent.

These are some of the key factors in motivating UN DESA and ITAIPU binacional (Brazil-Paraguay) to form a partnership to find solutions to globally pressing energy and water challenges. The new partnership will work over an initial four-year period to promote water and energy sustainability and other Sustainable Development Goals in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

During the launching ceremony on 7 March 2018, Mr. Liu Zhenmin, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said “We are honored to have the opportunity to work with ITAIPU Bi-national, which is an inspiring example on how two countries could work together in a peaceful and harmonic manner to provide reliable and clean energy to all their citizens.”

The partnership aims to become a global sustainability network on SDG6 (Water) and SDG7 (Energy) interlinkages, with many members from all regions and constituencies, including governments, businesses, civil society and international organizations. The goal of this partnership is to provide a platform for all stakeholders to enhance capacities and signal their high-level commitment to support the implementation of these Goals in a holistic manner.

The Sustainable Water and Energy Solutions partnership will build capacities, dialogues and cooperation for addressing water and energy interlinkages for sustainable development. The partnership will also identify the key barriers and opportunities for integration, and work collaboratively to identify and drive key actions to address them. Such actions will include sharing good practices, developing capacity and promoting specific innovations through enhanced international cooperation.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes the centrality of energy and water resources to sustainable development, and the vital role that improved access to both water and energy play in advancing progress in other areas, including health, education and poverty eradication. An integrated approach to water-energy interlinkages can increase energy efficiency, decrease water pollution, reduce costs of energy and water delivery, increase access to services, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Find out more here.