Water and energy network aims to transform commitments into action

24 July 2019

Government and business leaders should redouble efforts to address climate change and deliver sustainable development, say the organisers of a new global water and energy network.

“It is time to transform commitments into concrete actions,” said José Alberto Alderete, Paraguayan General Director of Itaipu Binacional, co-convenor of the new Sustainable Water and Energy Solutions Partnership.

“Climate change challenges governments, businesses and civil society to work together to build a future of sustainable development for all.”    

Itaipu Binacional, whose hydropower plant is the world’s largest producer of renewable energy, has joined forces with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) to establish the Sustainable Water and Energy Solutions Partnership.

The partnership, which is supported by the International Hydropower Association (IHA), aims to lead global advocacy on the role of water and energy in achieving the SDGs, and to build the capacity of institutions by sharing knowledge about good practices.

In New York on 15 July 2019, the partnership convened a special event with the Government of Spain on ‘scaling up climate action through integrated water and energy solutions’ to coincide with the annual UN High-level Political Forum.

During the event, IHA Chief Executive Richard Taylor presented the outcomes of the World Hydropower Congress, which saw participating organisations commit to support the clean energy transition, manage climate risks and champion good practice in hydropower development.

Participants heard that almost 1 billion people globally still do not have access to electricity, while 2.1 billion are without safely managed water services.    

Mr Taylor, who sits on the partnership’s steering committee, said: “It is great to see the importance of Sustainable Water and Energy Solutions being taken to the highest levels. I believe this is fundamental for the realisation of most, if not all, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

Mr Alderete, who was joined in New York by his Brazilian counterpart, Joaquim Silva e Luna, renewed Itaipu Binacional's commitment to the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

“Water and energy are key elements of national agendas, where the private sector and governments need to work together in order to achieve the SDGs,” added Mr Alderete. “Itaipu Binacional is an example that a harmonious coexistence between the environment and technology is possible.”

Mr Silva e Luna said: “Itaipu´s great concern to deal in a sustainable manner with all the issues directly related to the company´s activities has much to contribute in the international agenda.”

Manuel Menéndez, Water General Director for Spain’s Ministry of Ecological Transition, highlighted the contribution of hydropower, especially pumped storage, to the energy transition. “Pumped storage is essential to achieve in Spain the target of 70 per cent renewables by 2030,” he said.

“Water and energy is life, water and energy is progress and is key for the transformation needed to fulfil all SDGs,” added Cristina Gallach, Spain’s High Commissioner for the 2030 Agenda.

This year’s United Nations High-level Political Forum, convened under the theme of ‘Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality’, sees governments undertake the first global review of SDG 13 on climate action.

To follow the activities of the Sustainable Water & Energy Solutions Partnership on Twitter visit: #WaterEnergySolutions

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