The United Arab Emirates, Jordan and the Netherlands are working together to spotlight water, energy and food security during Expo 2020 Dubai, the first World Expo hosted in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region, running from Oct. 1-March 31, 2022.
The trilateral endeavor will culminate in a high-level Water, Energy and Food Summit, to be held during Expo 2020 on Jan. 19-20, 2022 (tbc), coinciding with Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), which will combine policy-making with practical solutions for water, energy and food challenges.
Water, energy and food are the most vital resources for human existence and essential to sustainable development. Climate change threatens the availability of these interlinked resources, while rising global populations and increasing urbanization add further pressures. To be able to feed a projected population of almost 10 billion in 2050, the effective management of our scarce natural resources is an existential challenge that we must tackle collectively.
H.E. Hala Zawati (pictured right), minister of Energy & Mineral Resources of Jordan says, “The inter-dependency between the energy and water sectors has significant implications for the optimized use of energy and water to meet the requirements of the agriculture sector in a more efficient ways and eventually to move toward a sustainable development of the countries especially at the Water-Energy-Food Nexus.”
H.E. Sigrid Kaag (pictured left), minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands says, “Access to water, energy and food for all, both regional and worldwide, demands close collaboration between governments, businesses and knowledge institutions to develop sustainable solutions. Cross-border research will contribute to national and regional policy planning to secure water, energy and food for future generations.”
“Jordan, the UAE and the Netherlands share many water, energy and food security challenges, so working together and sharing our knowledge and experiences in all three areas will enable us to draw on our collective expertise to deliver the best possible results,” says H.E. Mariam Almheiri, UAE minister of state for Food Security. “The high-level ‘Water, Energy and Food Summit’ is an essential component of Expo 2020 and will enable our respective countries to create a roadmap for pooling our resources and combining synergies to deliver more sustainable systems, not just for our three nations, but for the wider global community.”
The collaboration will leverage Expo 2020’s role as a global convener to spotlight the complex issues surrounding these three essential resources and highlight the need for collective action, including an integrated resource management approach, if we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
The Water, Energy and Food Summit will be the first initiative to focus on the regional and national policy steps needed to address these challenges in an integrated manner. Partnerships between governments, corporations, knowledge institutions and communities are essential as we effectively, efficiently and sustainably ensure that these scarce resources are accessible for today and tomorrow.
H.E. Reem Al Hashimy (pictured left), UAE minister of state for International Cooperation, Director General of Expo 2020 Dubai and chair of the National Committee on the Sustainable Development Goals, says, “The UAE is a living innovation lab for food production technologies in arid climates, and Expo 2020 Dubai—an unparalleled global gathering dedicated to delivering solutions to our most pressing challenges—presents the UAE, the Netherlands and Jordan with a timely opportunity to work together on developing and implementing innovative solutions that we can share with the world.”
She continues, “This trilateral partnership also exemplifies our commitment to cross-border collaboration and our belief that through collective action, we can achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, resulting in a cleaner, safer and healthier future for all by 2030.”
Youth is, and will continue to be, at the heart of how these intrinsic global challenges are managed, and will be at the forefront of all activities undertaken as part of this trilateral agreement.
In the lead-up to the January 2022 Summit, interactive youth roadshows in each of the three countries will explore challenges around water, energy and food security, the results of which will then be presented to world leaders during the event. In addition, youth ambassadors will be declared within the Summit program.
To bolster the discussions during the conference, the Kingdom of the Netherlands will initiate a research collaboration involving academic and research institutions from the three countries. It will be led and coordinated by a Dutch consortium consisting of Wageningen University & Research, Deltares and the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), who will develop three system dynamic models at a regional, national and urban level, together with researchers from the National Agriculture Research Center in Jordan and the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture in the UAE, among others. The output of the modeling and analysis will be presented during the summit through interactive policy simulations and discussions.
The announcement of the trilateral agreement and summit comes the week after Expo Talks: Water an event exploring how this finite life-sustaining resource—the lifeblood of our civilizations, economies and communities—can be preserved for future generations. It was the final in a series of 10 thematic talks that have brought together influential policymakers, thought-leaders, Expo participants and the public to help shape the thought-provoking content and conversations taking place during Expo 2020.
In 1851 the Crystal Palace was the centerpiece of London’s Great Exhibition—the first World Expo. It celebrated the man-made industrial wonders of a rapidly changing world. Architecture, contents and a theme, “Industry of All Nations,” were combined to create a big idea of nations meeting nations in shared technological and commercial progress. In more recent years, participants in World Expos, including governments, international organizations and companies, have gathered to find solutions to universal challenges and to promote their achievements, products, ideas, innovations, their national brand and their nations as destinations for tourism, trade and investment. World Expos are held under the auspices of the Bureau International des Expositions, the intergovernmental organization responsible for overseeing and regulating international exhibitions (“Expos”) and for fostering their core values of Education, Innovation and Cooperation. Today, four types of expos are organized under the BIE’s auspices: World Expos, Specialized Expos, Horticultural Expos and the Triennale di Milano. For more info, visit www.expo2020dubai.com or bie-paris.org or on social media @Expo2020Dubai