RE technologies can also strengthen energy security and diversify national energy mix by providing alternative sources that are less water intensive, availing modern energy services and reducing the dependence on fossil fuel, which contributes to the mitigation of greenhouse gases emissions. These benefits are significant for the Arab countries to meet their growing demand on water and energy and achieve their sustainable development plans.
The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), as part of its efforts to help member countries find an integrated approach to their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is implementing a United Nations Development Account project to develop the capacity of member States to examine and address the water and energy nexus.
To achieve this, ESCWA is using two parallel and complementary tracks. The first targets high-level officials in ministries for water and energy, who will be trained on how to incorporate the nexus in policies and strategies at national and regional levels by means of a regional policy toolkit. This is comprised of seven modules based on priorities identified during an intergovernmental consultative meeting in 2012.1 The seven priorities which were endorsed by the ESCWA Committees on Water Resources and on Energy are the following:
- Knowledge and awareness-raising;
- Increasing policy coherence;
- Examining the water and energy security nexus;
- Increasing efficiency;
- Informing technology choices;
- Promoting renewable energy;
- Addressing climate change and natural disasters.
The second track targets water and energy service providers by means of three technical interventions addressed through an operational toolkit made up of the following three modules:
- Resource efficiency: to improve efficiency during the production and consumption of water and energy resources and services;
- Technology transfer: for water and energy considerations when pursuing the transfer of new technologies regionally;
- Renewable energy: to assess costs and benefits related to applying renewable energy technologies in the region.
Each module will be discussed in one of three regional technical workshops, which will bring together participants doing similar work in different sectors.