General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, launched the International Water Summit, to be held alongside the World Future Energy Summit in January 2013.
UAE Minister of Environment and Water, Dr. Rashid Ahmad Bin Fahad, Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar, and Dr. Glen Daigger, President of the International Water Association (IWA) held a press conference at the World Future Energy Summit on Wednesday to make the announcement.
Dr. Rashid said: "As a result of the increased pressure on this valuable resource due to various factors including over-population, agricultural and economic growth and the unsustainable consumption patterns, various countries around the world are currently facing real problems with water resources. Moreover, climate change has increased the pressure on this resource as well. Therefore, this launch - as a result of our visionary leadership's drive towards achieving water security - helmed by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan - will shed a real light on the subject.
Dr. Sultan Ahmed al Jaber said: "Based on the directives of His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, the launch of the International Water Summit and its bid to face the most pressing challenges facing the world today - is a testament to the UAE's role in shedding light on today's relevant subjects and a clear testimony to thought leadership."
Emphasising the clear directives laid by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed when he recently stated "water is more important than oil in the United Arab Emirates," Dr Al Jaber, called the statement a bold and clear signal - that an economy based on oil - is placing water at the topmost of its agenda; adding that His Highness also made a clear call to action: that we need to enhance and increase the studies and research necessary, create strategic action plans, and find solutions to preserving this invaluable resource for future generations.
Dr. Al Jaber added that the launch of the International Water Summit is based on the well calculated long term strategy of the leadership. He emphasised on the interconnection between energy and water - highlighting that more than 70 per cent of overall water production and processing cost results from the energy required to desalinate, transport, store, forward and distribute water - as opposed to the energy required to desalinate water in countries that are depleted of fresh water, such as the Arab region.
Dr. Glen Daigger, President of the IWA said: "I would like to congratulate His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed for taking such a leading step in one of the world's most pressing issues - coping with aridity. Through Masdar, WFES and other initiatives in Abu Dhabi we have grown accustomed to seeing this young nation take leading steps to address world challenges."
IWA is the global network of water professionals, working every day to provide water and sanitation services which create healthy living conditions, fuel the economy, protect the environment, and enhance the living conditions for the citizens of planet earth.
Highlighting the importance of the IWA's involvement with the International Water Summit, he added: "this forum provides the opportunity for leading water professionals to share their knowledge and experience with each other, thereby advancing our ability to serve the public and the planet as rapidly as possible." The first International Water Summit will take place alongside the 6th World Future Energy Summit in January 2013.