Water, energy and land, three crucial resources for development and human well-being, are under increasing strain due to rising food prices, climate change, global population growth and economic growth. Today almost a billion people are undernourished, 0.9 billion have no safe water and 1.5 billion no source of electricity. Worse still, at current rates, by 2030 demand for energy and water will have grown by 40% – and by 50% for food. As the threat of absolute resource scarcity looms closer, poor people are the most vulnerable and least equipped to cope. Inclusive and sustainable resource management is thus a developmental and environmental necessity – and a moral imperative, too.
This is why this third European Report on Development, focusing on managing water, energy and land for inclusive and sustainable growth, is so welcome. As the international community prepares for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio, it is also most timely. And as a proud Member of the Secretary General's High Level Group on Sustainable Energy for All, whose work will feed into the discussions on Sustainable Development Goals, I believe it is most relevant.
The report strongly discounts "business as usual" as an option. Inaction would be catastrophic. But there is hope: a path towards growth which is both inclusive and sustainable can be mapped out. The report analyses the interconnections among water, energy and land and stresses the benefi ts of shifting towards an integrated nexus approach. Such an approach would be key to addressing interdependencies, increasing coherence and creating synergies across sectors and resources.
This independent research by three leading EU development institutes calls on us to manage water, energy and land better. It encourages us to think and act more strategically, working in cooperation with partner countries and the private sector to increase the impact of our policies and foster inclusive and sustainable growth.
This is very much in line with our “Agenda for Change,” which aims to boost the impact and eff ectiveness of EU development policy. We plan to focus our future support on achieving good governance and inclusive and sustainable growth for human development. Our support in agriculture and energy will help insulate developing countries from shocks and help them tackle inequalities in areas like access to natural resources. We will strive to improve coherence, build synergies and work together with our Member States, partner countries and the private sector to deliver change for the better.
This report will help us rise to the challenges ahead by improving our understanding of trade-off s and potential responses. The main message to take away is that the nexus approach presents opportunities we cannot aff ord to miss. Opportunities that we will harness as we pursue our Agenda for Change.
Foreword of Andris Piebalgs, European Commissioner for Development
To read the complete report please refer to the annex.