United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Mr. Liu Zhenmin Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs - Launching Ceremony Global Network Sustainable Water and Energy Solutions

Distinguished partners,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am honored to be with you today as we launch the Global Network on “Sustainable Water and Energy Solutions”.

At the beginning of this year, UN DESA and Itaipu Binational joined efforts in a partnership to promote water and energy sustainability in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Why did we do this? We recognized the need to create a space to address the interlinkages between water and energy, and their contributions to the advancement of other Sustainable Development Goals, including SDG 13 on Climate Action.

Energy and water lie at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Today, 1 billion people have no access to electricity, and 2.8 billion are living in areas of high water stress.

The global demand for energy and water is projected to increase significantly over the coming decades. Energy consumption is expected to grow by 35% and water demand by 55%.

The impacts of climate change are aggravating these challenges.

Extreme weather events such as storms, floods and extreme temperatures are becoming the new norm. These will exacerbate the already stressed energy and water scenarios.

By the middle of this century – 2050 – more than half of the world’s population is expected to live in water-scarce conditions;

Global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion, and energy-intensive sectors such as cement production and other industrial processes, are projected to account for the bulk of total global greenhouse gas emissions.

Total annual greenhouse gas emissions, including from land-use change, reached a record high of 53.5 Gigatons in 2017.

This will have enormous impacts on human development and security, on economic growth, and on ecosystems.

The IPCC has predicted the next decade will be a critical window opportunity to prevent temperature rise. To put the challenges in perspective, global GHG emissions in 2030 need to be approximately 25 percent lower than in 2017, to put the world on a least-cost pathway to limiting global warming to 2°C, and need to be 55 per cent lower than in 2017 to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C.

It is against this backdrop that the UN Secretary-General will convene a Climate Summit in September 2019. Its aim will be to accelerate action on the implementation of the Paris Agreement and to urge countries to increase their ambitions for mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions.

The High-level Political Forum next year in 2019 will also address SDG 13 on climate change action. This will provide a unique opportunity for enhancing synergies between the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

An integrated approach to water and energy can be a powerful strategy to achieve the 2030 Agenda and combat climate change.

Water and energy are highly interlinked, but the linkages are often not recognized, or are neglected.

The same people who lack access to improved water and sanitation are also likely to lack access to electricity.

Water is essential for most energy production systems. In fact, 90% of global electricity generation have intense water requirements, while energy is essential to distribute, purify and recycle water.

Both resources are highly dependent on each other. Without integrated energy and water programs, many synergies that support sustainable development cannot be realized.

At the same time, adopting a truly integrated approach presents complex challenges and requires a different set of skills and knowledge.

For these reasons, we need strong partnerships – genuine, multi-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder partnerships that will scale up our efforts.

The Global Network on “Sustainable Water and Energy Solutions” aims to help bridge the gap. It will promote integrated approaches and provide a platform for all stakeholders to share knowledge and enhance capacities to support the implementation of SDG 6 and SDG 7 in a holistic manner.

I am grateful to the Steering Committee members of this initiative for their contributions to shape the vision of this partnership. I warmly welcome them as founding members to the Global Network.

I count on your active leadership and hope many more partners will join.

Together, we can bring about the transformative change needed to fulfil the Paris climate goals and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals to deliver prosperity and security for billions of people.

Thank you.