Experts discuss tomorrow's global challenges

Experts discuss tomorrow's global challenges

First meeting of experts in December 2010 in Bonn

With the first meetings of two bodies of experts in Bonn, preparations have kicked off for the international conference on sustainable water, energy and food security. The Bonn conference is planned for 16-18 November 2011. A dialogue between experts from the fields of politics, business and civil society is to produce recommendations concerning the future distribution of scare water resources.

Population growth and climate change are increasing the pressures on water as a resource. Particularly large amounts of water are consumed in agriculture and in the production of energy. Indeed, we are already seeing the resulting water shortages in many regions of the world.

In order to come up with solutions to this global challenge, Germany's Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) are jointly organizing an international conference. Taking place in Bonn, from 16 to 18 November 2011, it will address sustainability issues in the closely related sectors of water, energy and food security. The results of this conference shall represent a major contribution by Germany to the next World Summit on Sustainable Development, scheduled for the end of 2012 in Rio de Janeiro. Moreover, the positions developed in Bonn will provide the foundation for advancing an independent process. Two expert committees are assisting in preparations for the Bonn conference: the German Advisory Group (Deuscher Beraterkreis) and the International Steering Committee (Internationaler Lenkungsausschuss). Each body met for the first time in December 2010.

The German Advisory Group

<<fotos/process/01/2011_01_first_dbk_meeting_280_b.jpg|article_l|*The first meeting of the German Advisory Group in Bonn (Photo: Johannes Rumohr)>>

The German Advisory Group consists of fourteen experts from the fields of science and research, civil society, business and the media. Throughout the run-up to the conference, it will be assisting the federal ministries in technical, political and institutional questions. The German Advisory Group had its first session in Bonn on December 8. Opening contributions by Professor Gernot Klepper (Kiel Institute for the World Economy, University of Kiel) and Professor Harald von Witzke (Humboldt University of Berlin) set the scene for a lively, controversial and productive discussion. It is already clear from the first meeting that the advisory process will focus on developing solutions for the interfaces between the three spheres of water, energy and food security. With a view to the situation in developing countries, the contribution to global poverty reduction efforts will be a key aspect of any recommendations.

The International Steering Committee

<<fotos/process/01/2011_01_first_isc_meeting_280_b.jpg|article_r|*The first meeting of the International Steering Committee in Bonn (Photo: Simon Siewert)>>

The International Steering Committee brings together thirty experts from the fields of politics, civil society and the private sector. Its role is to introduce into the advisory process international perspectives on the issue of water, energy and food security. The experts came together in Bonn for their first meeting on December 15 and 16, 2010. The two-day event was opened by Professor Dr. Klaus Töpfer, ex-Federal Environment Minister and former Director of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). The main topics concerned the advantages and disadvantages of the "green economy" for developing, newly industrializing and industrialized countries and the need to protect agricultural land in the context of rapid urbanisation worldwide.

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