Global water leaders representing private industry, the public sector and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) will convene in Abu Dhabi next month to attend the International Water Summit (IWS).
The global platform enables key industry players to exchange ideas, share the latest innovations in water management and to learn about the growing commercial opportunities in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
“IWS is a meeting of the minds,” said Hassan A. Arafat, a professor at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, the world’s first graduate-level, research-driven university dedicated to advancing real-world solutions to issues of sustainability. “No other conference unites the full spectrum of stakeholders – from researchers and economists to end users – required to seriously solve the world’s pressing water issues. Water security is a common problem and IWS enables the exchange of ideas that enables effective, viable action.”
Entitled ‘Promoting Water Sustainability in Arid Regions,’ IWS will examine the water-energy nexus and its long-term implications on regional and global food security and energy savings. The exhibition and conference, January 19-22, takes place during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), hosted by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company. IWS is also supported by Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority, the Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi, the Regulation and Supervision Bureau and Abu Dhabi Sewerage Services Company.
IWS comes at an important time as MENA governments are ramping up desalination capacity in order to meet rising demands – a result of the region’s economic growth and expanding populations. Experts say part of the solution to addressing water security is through the deployment of innovative, new technologies that increase desalination capacity, while reducing the energy needed to process seawater into potable water.
H.E. Dr. Abdurrahman M. Al-Ibrahim, governor of the Saline Water Conversion Corporation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is sending a delegation of senior energy ministers and officials, observed that IWS is “an opportunity to bring together – at one platform – engineers, researchers, scientists, developers, technologists, manufacturers, public utilities, companies and more to discuss emerging opportunities to tackle regional and global water challenges. The platform, which encourages public-private cooperation, results in meaningful research and joint actions that accelerate projects into the field.
Leading NGOs view IWS as a premier event to facilitate the dynamic commercial partnerships needed to implement to goals set by policy makers. Najib Saab, secretary general of the Arab Forum for Environment and Development, said: “IWS plays a crucial role to bring together policy makers and experts from the corporate sector to exchange ideas and to propose actions. It’s also a perfect platform to disseminate public awareness on the issues of water management and security.”
Adrian Sym, executive director for the Alliance for Water Stewardship, agreed: “IWS provides space for frank and open discussions and the sharing of lessons – positive and negative – on engagement at a variety of levels. This has helped to build more trusting relationships over time, leading to better cooperation between all the players required to support sustainable water solutions.”
Industry leaders familiar with IWS appreciate the commercial opportunities the event can generate.
“As an important international water summit with high-level participants, IWS plays a vital role in putting water security issues on the global agenda, while demonstrating that a broad spectrum of technical solutions exist,” Soeren Hvilshoej, the director of International Water for Ramboll Engineering Company.
IWS is a key element of ADSW, which also includes the eighth World Future Energy Summit and the second EcoWaste, in association with Tadweer, Abu Dhabi’s Centre of Waste Management. The fifth assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency and the seventh Zayed Future Energy Prize Awards ceremony will also take place during ADSW.