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… Continue reading


The Green Economy and… Andre Dzikus

“Adequate water and sanitation in cities is essential if cites are to be sustainable and engines of economic growth and social development”

Andre Dzikus is Chief of the Water and Sanitation Section II Water, Sanitation and Infrastructure Branch of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT).

Why is ‘water in the green economy’ an important theme for UN-Habitat?

Despite an overall increase in the numbers of people who have gained access to water and sanitation, the numbers of urban dwellers without access to these basic services has been increasing. The lack of these services severely constrains the economic and social potential of cities and basically, cities cannot thrive if these services remain poor or inadequate. Continue reading

The Green Economy and … Zafar Adeel

 “Countries adopting water as a human right would have significant consequences for the green economy”

Dr. Zafar Adeel is Director at the Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH) of the United Nations University in Hamilton, Canada and is the Chair of UN-Water. We ask him about what the water community need to do differently in the green economy and what role the UN-Water has in shaping the Rio+20 agenda.

Why is water important to the green economy?
Firstly, economic growth and the security of many things we rely on, such as food and energy, are very closely tied to water and how it’s used. It is argued that without accounting for water you actually cannot even have a green economy. Secondly, to achieve a greener society, its relationship with water has to change. You have to account for how much water is consumed in day-to-day consumables. For example, it is argued that you should eat less beef because it requires a thousand times more water than something like corn. So from this perspective, behavioural change in how we relate to water is essential if we want to transition into a greener economy and society. Continue reading

The Green Economy and… Caridad Canales

“The financial crisis we are facing today gives us space to think about ways to eradicate poverty and manage our resources better”

Caridad Canales is Economic Affairs Officer at the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)

What does the green economy mean to you?
For me, it means really thinking about the future generation. Personally, I think the green economy is a new opportunity to achieve development in a way that is inclusive and environmentally sustainable. The financial crisis we are facing today gives us space to think about ways to eradicate poverty and manage our resources better. I hope the green economy concept doesn’t only remain in the textbooks. We need to make real transitions on the ground. The challenges we are facing are serious and we cannot allow ourselves to miss this chance that we have now. Continue reading

The Green Economy and… Mohamed Al-Hamdi

“Let’s not forget that poor countries in many cases suffer the consequences of actions taken by rich countries”

Mohamed Al-Hamdi is First Economic Affairs Officer in the Water Resources Section of the Sustainable Development and Productivity Division of ESCWA.

Which change is essential for the transition to a green economy, especially in the ESCWA region?
The ESCWA region, like other regions of the world, will need to make many changes in order to move towards a green economy. The most important change in my opinion is the change of the frame of mind. In other words, decision makers need to be convinced of the benefits, not only to the environment, but also to the long term economic development of their countries. Having said that, the ESCWA region has some particular characteristics that distinguishes it from other regions of the world. The ESCWA region suffers from severe water scarcity, with most countries below the water poverty threshold of 1000 m3 per capita share of renewable water annually. With growing water demand from rapid population growth (a second feature of the region), sustainability of water resources, an element that has a direct impact on sustainable development, is threatened. In fact, many countries of the region are already mining fossil groundwater and abstracting renewable groundwater at unsustainable rates. In this regard, management of water resources in accordance to the principles of IWRM is no longer an option for the region; it is a necessity. Continue reading

We ask… Kristin Schumann about her input and expectations for today´s Market Place at the conference

Kristin Schumann is Water Specialist at the International Hydropower Association (IHA)

Which case will you be presenting at the Market Place?

I will present the hydropower sustainability assessment protocol. This is a set of tools for assessing the sustainability of hydropower projects. Over the past few decades, there have been concerns around the environmental, social, technical and economic sustainability of hydropower projects. The protocol is a response to the need to improve sustainability in hydropower. It provides not only a set of tools, but a system for incentivising improved sustainability performance and building capacity for sustainable hydropower.  This protocol can contribute to a greener economy because it promotes sustainable hydropower. It enables existing and future projects to be more sustainable and to contribute to local development. Continue reading

The Green Economy and … Eunkyung Park

“Developing countries can profit from the new green economy paradigm by refusing to follow the ‘develop now and clean up later’ path”

Ms. Eunkyung Park is President of the Korea Water Forum and Governor and Bureau Member of the World Water Council.

Why is ‘water in the green economy’ an important theme?

During the nineties we talked mostly about energy matters, but now we are beginning to realise that we have to move to “water”, since water is a resource for economic development. The most pressing question for the 21st century is how we can use water in an efficient way. The economic crisis of 2008 really accelerated the concept of green economy and green growth. This was a historical change I think; a paradigm shift. In the current century we should focus on balancing. The green economy balances between the traditional idea of economic development and sustainability. Continue reading