Energy and Water in the Limelight at World Water Week
Sep 10th, 2014 |
Over 3,000 politicians, business leaders, innovators, thought leaders and practitioners gathered in Stockholm last week for the 24th annual World Water Week. The Stockholm Statement on Water presented at the finale of the event, will feed into negotiations between UN member states on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The Statement emphasizes five themes essential to the Sustainable Development Goals for resilient societies; water for health, sustainable growth, agriculture, energy and for climate.
This year’s focus was on the links between energy and water, and importantly making water efficiency as big of a priority as energy efficiency as SIWI Director, Mr. Torgny Holmgren (pictured below) stated in the closing session. The subject of hydraulic fracturing for shale gas, commonly known as “fracking”, and its impact on freshwater was a hot topic at World Water Week. As was water stewardship, discussed at several sessions and side events. Water stewardship was a central theme of the annual multi-stakeholder event from the UN Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate, where updated guidance for corporate water disclosure was presented.
Another session was dedicated to improving the effectiveness of Water Stewardship Initiatives (WSI), highlighting emerging frameworks and tools which help ensure integrity in multi-stakeholder water stewardship initiatives. Further to this, a session on Collective Action in the Agricultural Supply Chain revealed current best partnership building practices for sustainable agriculture initiatives, and presented a convincing case for how corporate water stewardship can promote good practice and integrate existing water-related sustainable agriculture programs.
The concept of circular economy was another hot topic at this year’s World Water Week. Circular economy strives for zero waste, emphasizing the continuous reuse and recycling of raw materials to achieve a “closed loop”. Like water stewardship, circular economy emphasizes that efficiency measures alone will not provide us with the resources needed to meet future demands. Both, circular economy and water stewardship require businesses to look in detail throughout their supply chain to understand the opportunities for system-wide solutions.
Parallel to EWS activities was the newly launched Water Benefit Standard. The Standard aims to secure funding for water project with Water Benefit Certificates representing volume of water sustainably supplied, purified or conserved. Further to these quantitative savings, water use must also be linked to local stakeholder engagement and auditing to ensure the long-term positive socio-economic impact. Read more here about some of specific activities occurring under the Water Benefit Standard.
Still want to learn more? Feed into discussions at the Week, SIWI has released two reports presenting the case for closer links between water and energy “Energy and Water: The Vital Link for a Sustainable Future” and delving into the topic of fracking in “Shale Gas and Hydraulic Fracturing: Framing the Water Issue”.