Delhi Sustainable Development Summit Discusses Energy, Water and Food Security

dsds20148 February 2014: Participants highlighted growing demand for energy, water and food, and recommended actions at the 14th Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS). This year's summit took place on 6-8 February 2014, in New Delhi, India, under the theme 'Attaining Energy, Water, Food Security for All.'

Africa must choose an industrialization path that allows it to be “part of the sustainable development solution without having to forfeit its right to industrialize,” stressed Carlos Lopes, UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Executive Secretary. He proposed a six-point strategy for Africa that: leap-frogs to a low carbon development pathway; invests in climate science, services and data to facilitate development of early warning systems, research on climate adaptation, impact and vulnerability and a knowledge economy; improves institutional and policy capacity; shares experiences through South-South partnerships, including among Africa and Caribbean and Pacific small island developing States (PSIDS); leverages agriculture and invests in innovation, sustainable land management (SLM) and water use efficiency; and recognizes tourism potential.

For Asia, Takehiko Nakao, Asian Development Bank (ADB) President, recommended thinking “differently about water and its uses for food and energy production” in three ways: ensuring coordinated approaches to the water-food-energy nexus; eliminating distorted energy and water pricing; and promoting river basin organizations to resolve competition for different water uses among government, users and utilities. Noting that many Asian countries struggle to overcome disparities, Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General, called for fundamental shifts to counter climate change and “incentives and innovations to make development truly sustainable.”

Fostering integrated approaches to the energy-water-food nexus and focusing on the value of natural capital will enhance ecosystem resilience and sustainability and break down sectoral silos, said Naoko Ishii, CEO, Global Environment Facility (GEF).

At the Asia regional launch of the UN Decade for Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL), Kandeh Yumkella, SE4ALL CEO, said “sustainable energy is not about poor countries alone but about rich and emerging countries” working together in partnerships, especially with the private sector.  He proposed establishing three “Creative Coalitions:” the Solar Coalition for Increased Cost Reduction; the Energy Efficiency Coalition; and the Coalition of Progressive Transformers—in line with SE4ALL goals and efforts to achieve a SE4ALL goal in the post-2015 development agenda.

Also on the post-2015 agenda, speakers discussed climate change, the blue and green economies, inequalities, and monitoring and accountability, inter alia. Achim Steiner, UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director, recommended that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework incorporate comprehensive wealth accounting, drawing on the Inclusive Wealth Indicator (IWI) and including natural capital valuation, quality of life, security and social protection.

Speakers also discussed increasing food production to meet the needs of a growing population, protecting food producing ecosystems, and restoring degraded ecosystems. Noting that one third of all global food production is wasted, Steiner recommended “consuming better” through sustainable consumption and production (SCP). Nakao said Asia needs to recognize that “food wasted is water and energy wasted.”

The Energy and Resource Institute (TERI) organizes the Summit annually to facilitate knowledge exchange on all aspects of sustainable development. [DSDS Website] [DSDS Press Release] [UNECA Press Release] [Lopes Statement] [ADB Press Release] [Nakao Statement] [GEF Press Release] [UNEP Press Release] [UN Press Release] [SE4ALL Press Release on Asia Launch] [SE4ALL Press Release on Creative Coalitions]