UNECA Meeting Focuses on Nexus Approaches for Sustainable Development
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Countries welcomed the regional focus on working with data, promoting capacity building, and putting finance and partnerships in place.

They also proposed establishing communication platforms to share data, knowledge and experiences with joint implementation of water and energy targets, as well as incorporating other development concerns, such as poverty eradication (SDG 1), food security (SDG 2), gender equality (SDG 5), action on climate change (SDG 13), education (SDG 4) and health (SDG 3).

10 September 2018: The UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) convened a three-day workshop to discuss ways to address water and energy issues as a basis for sustainable development in the region. Participants affirmed water and energy as priorities and entry points for achieving the SDGs in the region, and welcomed the meeting’s focus on data and knowledge to enable evidence-based policies, capacity building, technology, financing and partnerships. The UN Office for Sustainable Development (UNOSD) underscored its commitment to support member States to align their national development plans with the SDGs.

UNECA, UNOSD, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP, or UN Environment), the UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and Ethiopia’s Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity jointly convened the meeting from 4-6 September 2018, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Around 100 practitioners from the water and energy sectors took part in the workshop, supported by specialists from UNEP, UN-Water, the Sustainable Energy for All initiative (SE4All), UN University (UNU), the World Bank, the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and other international institutions.

Linus Mofor, UNECA, drew attention to the impacts of climate change on water, energy and agriculture in the region. He noted the importance of working on nexus issues to enable member States to implement their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the framework of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Jong Soo Yoon, Head of UNOSD, highlighted the need to bridge the “knowledge gap” to implement the SDGs and the targets relating to water (SDG 6) and energy (SDG 7).

Jong Soo Yoon, Head of UNOSD, highlighted the need to bridge the “knowledge gap” to implement the SDGs and the targets relating to water (SDG 6) and energy (SDG 7). He pointed out the benefits of adopting integrated approaches to water and energy, such as increasing energy efficiency, decreasing water pollution, reducing the costs of energy and water services and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Ethiopia’s State Minister for Water, Irrigation and Electricity, Frehiwot Weidehanna, stressed the need for countries to receive capacity building and training in the nexus approach, and drew attention to his country’s linking water, energy and agriculture under a single ministry as all three are “development enablers.”

Participants at the meeting called for innovative approaches to financing and policies that will support the private sector and local communities to address needs at the local level. They also proposed establishing communication platforms to share data, knowledge and experiences with joint implementation of water and energy targets, as well as incorporating other development concerns, such as poverty eradication (SDG 1), food security (SDG 2), gender equality (SDG 5), action on climate change (SDG 13), education (SDG 4) and health (SDG 3). [ECA Opening Press Release] [ECA Press Release on Discussions] [ECA Closing Press Release]

A UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) regional committee meeting in Thailand on 31 August 2018 also focused on capacity building, technology transfer and design of policies for science, technology and innovation (STI) as a springboard for sustainable development. [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on ESCAP Committee Meeting]

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