World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Remarks on World Water Day

Remarks on World Water Day

Remarks
Catherine A. Novelli
Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment
Dean Acheson Auditorium
Washington, DC
March 21, 2014

________________________________________
Thank you very much, Kerri Ann. One thing that is probably not obvious from my resume, but from among the agreements that I got to negotiate when I was at USTR was the U.S.-Jordan Free Trade Agreement, which was the first free trade agreement to have in the body of the agreement an environment chapter. And it was a huge privilege to work on that agreement and to work with the Jordanians, who actually did a – their first ever public comment process about what should be in there. So even though I’m not completely as experienced as Kerri Ann, I love these issues and I hope that I can do everything I can in my capacity to push these things forward.

It is a real pleasure to be here today with Kerri Ann, with Dr. Holdren, and all of you to mark World Water Day. Today’s event would not be possible without the support of the U.S. Water Partnership, as Kerri Ann mentioned, and its members. The Partnership is entering its third year and now has 87 members from across the U.S. Government, business community, and civil society. Unfortunately, Secretary Kerry was unable to join us today. As you know, he is passionate about environmental issues, including water, climate change, and oceans, and I share that passion.

As Kerri Ann mentioned, I am the Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment. This role has the ability to look at the intersection of economics, energy, and environment. And water is one area where we see these intersections and tradeoffs quite clearly.

The international community created World Water Day in 1993 as a constant reminder of the fundamental and integrated nature of water. Unfortunately, too many of us still take water for granted. But there is hope. Coming from Apple, I have seen firsthand how technology can quickly change the world. So I’m especially pleased to be surrounded by such an esteemed group of innovators and technologists. I commend your efforts to roll up your sleeves, figure out, and mobilize solutions to one of today’s most complex challenges.

Consider this: By 2050, the OECD predicts that there will be nine and a half billion people on Earth, and that we will need 80 percent more energy, 55 percent more water, and 60 percent more food to meet our demand. As McKinsey reports, by 2030, if we continue business as usual, water demand could outstrip supply by 40 percent. This has the potential to put $3 trillion of the global domestic product, or 22 percent of the world’s economy, at risk.

At the heart of this high-stakes challenge is the water-energy-food nexus. To produce energy, we need water. Most people equate water and energy production with dams, but almost all methods we have of producing energy require some water or can have an impact on our water resources. In the United States, for instance, some 50 percent of our freshwater withdrawals go towards creating thermoelectric power. At the same time, getting people the water they need where they need it requires energy. If you’ve ever carried a gallon of water around or shoveled any snow this winter – and more is on the way, I understand – you know that water is heavy. If we are going to be serious about reducing our energy needs and about reducing greenhouse gas emissions, then we need to be smarter and more efficient about how we move, treat, and use our water resources. And we need to do all of this conscious of the impacts water can have not only on people but also on our environment.

Our forests, our wetlands, our oceans, and all of the biodiversity these systems support depend on water. We’ve all seen the pictures of the shrinking of Lake Chad and heard about the resulting conflicts between farmers, fishers, herders, and wildlife. We are concerned at the rapid and potentially unsustainable development of some of the world’s most important rivers, like the Mekong in South East Asia, a system on which more than 70 million people depend. Like Lake Chad and the Mekong River, much of the world’s water resources are shared among communities, between nations, and between regions. In fact, there are over 260 shared river basins.

As competition for these increasingly scarce freshwater resources increases, tensions will likely rise as well. Climate change will exacerbate these challenges and tensions. Our natural systems for storing water, glaciers and snowpack, are projected to decline in many water-scarce resource regions. Drought, coupled with increasing demands, will stress local communities and countries. Mitigating these tensions requires us to innovate and work together to sustainably manage these shared water resources.

For all these reasons, the United States is working to create a more water-secure world. Here in this room, we have the brain trust for solutions – scientists, entrepreneurs, businesses, NGOs, even a few diplomats, all with the same goal: to excite the world about American-developed innovative technologies for solving some of the world’s most pressing water challenges. We have colleagues from USTDA, Ex-Im Bank, OPIC, SBA, EPA, and the State Department here to discuss how they can support your efforts to market new technologies at home and abroad.

Sustainable economic growth means smart development that does not prejudice our future or the environment. It is a privilege to be here with all of you, working in partnership to that end. I am confident that together, we can change the current trajectory and preserve our future. Thank you. (Applause.)

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

West Papua: “Lest We Forget”

AS Anzac approaches and Australians and New Zealanders remember those who fought and lost their lives on Anzac Day, it is hoped we will also remember the unfree people of the Pacific region and in particular those who are still suffering from human ... More>>

Iran: 81 Executions In One Week

Coincident with mass executions in the prisons of Ghezel-Hessar, Karaj and other cities, the anti-human regime of mullahs sent 16 other prisoners to the gallows in Mashhad and Birjand (northeastern Iran). Twelve of them were hanged collectively ... More>>

Al-Shabaab: Four Unicef Staff Killed In Somalia

Four UNICEF staff members have been killed in an attack on their vehicle in Garowe, Somalia. Four other UNICEF colleagues are in a serious condition. The IED (improvised explosive device) attack occurred when the staff were travelling from their guest ... More>>

UN: Suicide Attack In Jalalabad Condemned

NEW YORK/KABUL/GENEVA (18April 2015) – “I strongly condemn the brutal suicide attack that coincided with my visit to Jalalabad today,” said United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonović during his visit to Afghanistan. ... More>>

Save The Children: STC Urges EU Leaders To Act To Prevent More Mass Drownings

Save the Children Urges EU Leaders to Act to Prevent More Mass Drownings at Sea. More>>

ALSO:

Japan: Independent Experts Slam Japan’s New Whaling Plan

Independent experts slam Japan’s new whaling plan and declare no more whales need to be killed for Antarctic research More>>

Gaza Strip: Attacks In The Border Areas

Following disengagement from the Gaza Strip in September 2005, Israel unilaterally and illegally established a so-called “buffer zone”, an area prohibited to Palestinians along the land and sea borders of the Gaza Strip. The precise area designated by ... More>>

Australian Government: Iraq Deployment: Joint Press Conference, Canberra

Back in March, the Government announced that we were preparing a force for a Building Partner Capacity training mission in Iraq. I can inform you that today the Cabinet has decided to deploy that force. The deployment will start tomorrow and we expect ... More>>

UNHRC: UN Committee Against Torture To Review New Zealand

UN Committee against torture to review New Zealand, Congo, Romania, Luxembourg, Spain, Serbia, Colombia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia More>>

UNHRC: Nigeria: One Year On, Call To Bring Back Abducted Children

Nigeria: One year on, UN and African experts call for decisive steps to bring back abducted children More>>

EU & US Let Iran Win Top Seat On UN Women’s Rights Board

EU & US Allowed Iran to Win Top Seat on UN Women’s Rights Board, Rights Group Says More>>

Peaceful Tree Planting Attacked By Zionist Settlers/soldiers

Peaceful tree planting attacked by zionist settlers and soldiers, two Palestinians hospitalised and a German activist arrested. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news