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UNECE Water Convention promoted at a high-level business forum

Water scarcity was a key element discussed at the high-level business forum organized by Nestlé and UNCTAD in Lausanne on 9 October.

Participants in the “Creating Shared Value Global Forum” discussed the changing role of business in society and how governments and civil society can work with business to accelerate sustainable development. Among the topics in focus were nutrition and health, sustainable agriculture and water scarcity. Paul Bulcke, Nestlé’s CEO, summarized creating shared value as being about economic actors thinking long-term, thinking sustainability.

The event demonstrated that big international corporations, such as Nestlé, a major global food and beverage company, recognize water scarcity to be a concern to their business. Companies’ engagement with local providers around the globe can influence how water resources are used in agricultural practices, for example. Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Chair of Nestlé, was confident that global food, energy and water security can be achieved if we change the way we manage water.  To this end, a representative of the UNECE secretariat highlighted the importance of transboundary cooperation and the value of intersectoral coordination in managing shared waters. UNECE is assisting countries sharing selected transboundary basins to improve their water, food, energy and environmental security through assessments that identify opportunities for additional benefits to be attained through cooperation on resource use.

When speaking about water scarcity, the President of the Swiss Confederation, Didier Burkhalter, also insisted on the need for transboundary water cooperation. “We strongly welcome the fact that the Water Convention of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), that we have implemented with our neighbours for many decades, is now turning into a global legal framework for transboundary water cooperation. We encourage Member States outside the UNECE region to join it,” he said.

For further information on transboundary water cooperation, please visit: http://www.unece.org/env/water.html

Video recording of the event: http://www.media-server.com/m/p/iy2qxknc/lan/en