On 20 March 2014, UNU-IAS organized and hosted the Asia-Pacific Regional Symposium on the Water–Energy Nexus, together with the Integrated Research Systems for Sustainability Science (IR3S) of The University of Tokyo and the Ministry of the Environment of Japan (MOEJ). The symposium focused on the integrated management of water and energy to realize sustainable development in the region.
It brought together over 90 experts from UN organizations, governments, academic institutions, non-governmental and private sector organizations. Through presentations and interactive discussion, the participants called for water and energy access for all, emphasizing equity of access to and use of these resources in the ongoing discussion on the post-2015 development agenda and the sustainable development goals.
The symposium opened with a speech by Prof. Kazuhiko Takeuchi, UNU Senior Vice-Rector and IR3S Director, on the need to build a green economy in the context of rapidly growing demands and the interdependence of water and energy. Mr. Soichiro Seki, Director of the Global Environment Bureau, MOEJ, shared Japanese perspectives on the water–energy nexus and its importance in the post-earthquake context.
Three keynote speeches were followed by panel discussions. Prof. Reza Ardakanian, UNU-FLORES Director, focused on integrated approaches to address water–energy nexus issues in the context of climate change, exploring energy cogeneration, desalination, upgrading and retrofitting of resources. Prof. Taikan Oki of The University of Tokyo shared outcomes of research on the water–energy–food nexus in Japan, and emphasized the impacts of climate change on water and energy and potential countermeasures in reference to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Dr. Srikantha Herath, UNU-IAS Senior Academic Officer, considered water–energy situations in China and India in the context of global and regional issues, and described a multipurpose reservoir system in Sri Lanka.
The panel discussions began with brief presentations by Prof. Guangheng Ni from China, Mr. Paudel Krishna from Nepal and Prof. Chongrak Polprasert from Thailand. Prof. Ni explored the challenges of water and energy resources in China, introducing the relation of haze with water and energy. Mr. Krishna, Secretary of the Water and Energy Secretariat, presented an overview of water and energy situations in Nepal, noting the importance of effective interagency collaboration to address challenges on water and energy issues. Prof. Chongrak of Thammasat University described sanitation and wastewater challenges in developing countries, highlighting the potential of new technologies.
During the discussion session, participants addressed the decreasing interest in farming in developing countries, trans-boundary issues, and inter-agency collaboration. The symposium was closed by Prof. Takeuchi, who re-emphasized the importance of water and energy access for all, and the need for an integrated approach in addressing the water–energy nexus.
This symposium was held in conjunction with the official celebration of World Water Day 2014 in Tokyo, which was organized by UN-Water in collaboration with UNU and UNIDO.