Details of the International Water Summit (IWS) were unveiled on day three of the World Future Energy Summit, which is being held this week in the UAE capital.
Under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the summit will provide a platform for scientists, researchers and practitioners to focus on supply and demand issues in areas such as the Mena region, which is experiencing rapid population growth and expansion of agriculture and industry, but contains only 1.4% of the world’s renewable fresh water.
UAE Minister of Environment and Water, Dr. Rashid Ahmed Bin-Fahad explained that a new focus on fresh water “represented a big step, affecting the worldwide position of the UAE, engaging them in world challenges.”
Running parallel to the annual WFES, for the foreseeable future, the IWS is an opportunity for governments and NGOs to come together as a ‘global network of professionals’ according to Glen Daigger, Chairman of the International Water Association.
Daigger added: “I will tell you that the water problems and the sanitation problems of the world can be solved. We know how to do it, we need to do it, though, more consistently and we need to build on that experience and that interaction with policymakers.”
Also present was Masdar CEO, Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jabar, who completed the trio of press conference panel members. Dr. Al Jabar took time to highlight the indivisible link between water and energy, explaining: “This is summit is in fact a very timely initiative to address and compliment initiatives already undertaken by the Abu Dhabi government.”
He added that the new annual gathering would lead toward a ‘comprehensive energy strategy’ that would address the energy mix Abu Dhabi is transitioning into, diversifying from solely oil and gas supplies.
The first International Water Summit will take place 15-17 January 2013, running alongside WFES.