A snapshot of the closing session

After three intensive days of case study presentations, discussions and debates, are we any closer to an idea of what water in the green economy looks like? Here are some quotes from speakers in the closing session of the conference as they reflect on what has been learnt, key messages and what’s next…

“The green economy can only be achieved if it is supported by a green society. Green societies cannot be attained without a real paradigm shift, in the way the food-water-energy  nexus is addressed, and in how people relate to the natural environment…

We need to create a culture of cooperation that knows no boundaries, – not administrative, political or natural.~ Alexander Otte, UNESCO

“We cannot overestimate the importance of water for development, for the maintenance of peace and stability as well as for environmental sustainability. As we all know, peace, stability and the development of many countries sharing water resources entirely depends on good relations and cooperation. ~ Ambassador Sirodjidin Aslov, Permanent Mission of Tajikistan to the UN)

“We have been doing so many studies that show it pays to invest in water. But somewhere it is not working. In approaches to Rio we have to be creative …

In my UN-HABITAT capacity, I’d say that at the conference there has not been enough said about cities and urban planning …

The good thing about Rio is that human mankind are going to sit together again and think about our future.” ~ Bert Diphoorn, UN-HABITAT

“Change happens through people getting together like they have at this conference. Rio is about practice, it’s not about theory. It’s the involvement of all of you that is making sustainable development a reality at the local level. We will make sure that the outcomes will be included in the preparations for Rio.” ~ Kenza Robinson, UNDESA

“Key messages from the conference:

  • Water is the engine for the green economy, and we need to make sure it gets plugged in.
  • Water technology and innovation should be a centrepiece. We need to make sure the private sector and research community is appropriately engaged to make sure these innovations are put forward.
  • Economic instruments are a key element of the green economy platform.
  • Increasing efficiency is going to be a key underlying premise of the green economy. Not only for water supply systems and water resources management; we also have to think outside of the water box, e.g. we need greater efficiencies in food production, transport, and in energy production and usage.
  • Political commitment and enabling policies are critical. We would like to see the leaders at Rio put forward some concrete ideas for legislative changes.

~Zafar Adeel, UN-Water

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