Dresden Conference Calls for Nexus Approach to Global Change and Sustainable Development Goals

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  • 2015•03•30     Dresden

    From 25–27 March 2015 the UNU Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources (UNU-FLORES) organized the first Dresden Nexus Conference (DNC) under the theme “Global Change, Sustainable Development Goals and the Nexus Approach”. DNC2015 brought together more than 350 participants from UN organizations, UNU institutes, Member States, German ministries, national and international organizations, as well as individual researchers and NGOs from around the world.

    The nexus approach to the sustainable management of water, soil, and waste integrates environmental management and governance across sectors and scales. This approach is based on the understanding that environmental resources are inextricably intertwined. Taking a nexus approach for environmental resources may help to decrease environmental risks and ecological scarcities under conditions of global change as well as to ensure economic development.

    Day 1 of the conference focused on how adopting a nexus approach could mitigate growing water, food and energy insecurity due to climate change. UNU Rector David M. Malone delivered opening remarks along with the heads of regional, national and international institutions. This was followed by two plenary keynote speeches which discussed “Addressing Climate Change in the Context of Sustainable Management of Natural Resources” and “Systems Thinking for Advancing a Nexus Approach to Water, Soil and Waste”. Six afternoon parallel sessions examined various aspects of applying a nexus approach to addressing climate change.

    H.E. Mohamed Higazy, Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt answers a question during the panel discussion on Day 1 of DNC2015. Photo: UNU-FLORES

    H.E. Mohamed Higazy, Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt answers a question during the panel discussion on Day 1 of DNC2015. Photo: UNU-FLORES

    Day 2 of DNC2015 explored the possibilities and challenges of urbanization. Keynote speeches were given by Dr. Saeed Nairizi, President of the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage, who discussed “Urbanization: Threat or an Opportunity? Water and Waste Nexus Approach”, and William Rees, Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia, who argued that, “Business as usual is not an option for urban sustainability…It is a collective problem that demands collective action.” The day continued with afternoon plenary sessions and an exhibition of over 60 posters, each corresponding with one of the various parallel sessions on climate change, urbanization and population growth.

    Panel Discussion in the afternoon plenary on Day 2 of DNC2015. Photo: UNU-FLORES

    Panel discussion in the afternoon plenary on Day 2 of DNC2015. Photo: UNU-FLORES

    Day 3 of the conference examined strategies to address challenges for sustainable resource management posed by population growth. The day’s first keynote by Michael Herrmann, Adviser on Population and Economics, and Manager of the Innovation Fund at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), set forth three policy priorities for fostering sustainable development — social, economic and environmental. The second keynote was presented by László Miklós, Head of the UNESCO Chair for sustainable development and ecological awareness at Technical University in Zvolen (Slovakia). He challenged participants with a critique of current thinking on, and understanding of, integrated approaches to sustainable management of environmental resources.

    The conference concluded with an afternoon of panel discussions, and concluding talks by prominent experts on management of water and soil resources, and urban development.

    For a complete overview of the conference, visit the UNU-FLORES website.