Second meeting of the International Steering Committee in Bonn

Bonn2011 Preparations // Second Meeting of the International Steering Committee in Bonn

From 30 to 31 March, 40 high-ranking experts from the water, energy and food sectors took part in the second meeting of the International Steering Committee in preparation for the Bonn2011 Nexus Conference. In addition to a more detailed definition of the conference content, discussions focused on private industry's view of the connection between water, energy and food security.

Development requires sustainable growth, and growth requires water, energy and food security. In many places, the availability of water is increasingly becoming the limiting factor for development. The 40 international experts agreed on this point at the two-day preparatory meeting in Bonn. They were therefore of the opinion that one of the objectives of the Bonn2011 Nexus Conference should be to raise the awareness of decision-makers in the three sectors of the challenges and opportunities of the cross-sectoral management of water resources in order to maintain water, energy and food security.

The participants of the Bonn meeting were also in favour of establishing a framework within which actors and organisations working from local through to the international level can gain an increased understanding of the nexus complex. The challenge here would be to create political, social and financial incentives for behavioural changes among the various water users — from small farmers through to decision-makers in multinational corporations — that would contribute to water resources being used more sustainably on a cross-sectoral basis. It was also clear from the experts' remarks that, when defining the conference content in more detail, the emphasis should be placed on improving access to water, energy and food for people in developing countries.

One special feature of the International Steering Committee's second meeting was the contributions made by representatives from PepsiCo Inc., Siemens AG, Coca Cola Company, SWITCH (Managing Water for the City of the Future) and the World Economic Forum. Representing the private sector, which is responsible for much of the world's food production and for managing energy and water resources, they made an important contribution to the preparatory process in the form of brief presentations. In these presentations, they made it clear that the private sector is aware of the risk of water shortages, and is extremely interested in the sustainable management of water resources in relation to the three sectors. Moreover, the Bonn2011 Nexus Conference is a major opportunity to underline the potential of an intersectoral viewpoint on managing water resources, and to seek answers to the global water crisis in dialogue with the private sector.

The experts also considered possible formats and outcomes for the Bonn2011 Nexus Conference. They were in agreement that the conference should act as an innovative test bed for jointly drawing up sustainable nexus solutions. The Bonn2011 Nexus Conference sees itself as providing the impetus for a new awareness of a holistic approach to dealing with water resources and the cross-sectoral consequences of sectoral decisions. The aim is to involve all water users, including the environment, and to initiate a dialogue that extends beyond sector boundaries and also beyond the conference date in November 2011.

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