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UNGA Discusses Climate Change and Energy-Water Nexus in Post-2015 Context

UNGA16 May 2013: The UN General Assembly (UNGA) held a thematic debate, titled “Sustainable Development and Climate Change: Practical Solutions in the Energy-Water Nexus,” which brought together environment and development experts to discuss the linkages among climate change, energy supply and water availability in the context of the post-2015 development agenda.

The first half of the thematic debate consisted of an opening session, keynote addresses and “Views from the Frontline.” Speakers addressed several common themes, including: the importance of the post-2015 development agenda to challenge business-as-usual practices; the link among energy, water, and food; the importance of international cooperation; the impacts of climate change in both rich and poor countries; the need for a holistic instead of sectoral approach to managing natural resources; the importance of access to sustainable energy and appropriate water supply to achieve poverty reduction; the need to increase water and energy efficiency; and the role of low-carbon technologies.

Vuk Jeremić, UNGA President, noted that the path to sustainable development has four inter-related dimensions: technological, organizational, economic, and moral. He stressed the need for “a new global partnership in which no nation is left behind, and no country opts out.”

Speakers during these first sessions included: Wu Hongbo, Under Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs; Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of State, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Special Envoy for Energy and Climate Change; Jeffery Sachs, Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the Earth Institute at Columbia University; Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for the Environment; Izabella Teixeira, Minister of the Environment, Brazil; Beata Jaczewska, Deputy Minister of Environment, Poland; Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); Laurence Tubiana, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), Sciences Po, France; Craig Knowles, Chair of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, Australia; and Johan Rockström, Professor of the Stockholm Resilience Centre.

The second part of the thematic debate consisted of two interactive panels, discussing “Global Goals and Frameworks” and “Technological Advancements and Investment.” Several of the themes of the earlier sessions were reiterated, while attention also focused on: the importance of the principle of common but differentiated responsibility; the impact of droughts; the decarbonization of the economy; the business case for responsible resource use; the diversification of the energy base; challenges for utility companies in developing countries; and the use of a “water footprint.”

The thematic debate was co-organized by the UAE delegation to the UN. [UN Press Release] [UNGA President Statement] [UN Department of Public Information Summary of the Thematic Debate]