On 25 October 2013, ESCWA and the Rafik Hariri Foundation joined hands in organizing "Water, Food and Energy Nexus Conference" at the United Nations House in Beirut.
Speakers in the conference were Roula Majdalani, Director of the ESCWA Sustainable Development and Productivity Division (SDPD); Salwa Siniora Baassiri, Director-General of the Rafik Hariri Foundation; Nadim Khoury, Deputy Executive Secretary of ESCWA. The eventís keynote speaker was Dominic Waughray, Senior Director and Head of Environment and Sustainable Initiatives of the World Economic Forum. Participants in the conference comprised graduates of the Hariri Foundation who became regional and international experts in the field of Energy and Food.
Speakers tackled the status of the Arab region, where the disparity in the distribution of natural resources such as water, agricultural land and energy resources has marked the socio-economic development. Remarks focused on the need to support national and regional efforts to deepen the knowledge of the relationship between water, food and energy and meet the requirements of socio-economic and environmental developments in the Arab region.
As the year 2013 was designated the International Year for Water Cooperation it is yet further necessary to intensify efforts and cooperation among the various stakeholders in order to develop appropriate technologies to raise the efficiency of irrigation systems and water desalination techniques, as well as wastewater treatment and reuse. In the field of energy, special attention should be given to raising the efficiency of energy production and consumption and to promote directing efforts towards alternative and sustainable sources of energy.
The Water, Food and Energy Nexus Conference presented a platform to discuss an integrated approach to the nexus. The objective was to devise a set of initiatives to design policies and develop strategic plans for the management of resources towards sustainable development. Recent scientific studies have indicated that the world is witnessing increasing environmental deterioration; unpredictable climate changes; galloping population growth; and severe economic crises. Together, these factors carry a real threat to human safety, social security and political stability. They also cause unprecedented pressures on natural resources, mainly water, food and energy, which renders an innovative approach in handling and managing these resources necessary.
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