Transitioning to a sustainable, green economy is key

Speech by Liesje Schreinemacher, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands, at the Water Food Energy Nexus Summit, 18 January 2022.

This is my second week as Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation.

My country’s new government is the most ambitious the Netherlands has ever had in terms of climate policy.

Transitioning to a sustainable, green economy is key for my government, and we are calling on other countries to do the same.

We must rethink the way we use scarce resources to make sure that the SDGs can be achieved in less than eight years’ time.

We must innovate to meet the growing demand for water, energy and food, and we must make sure that efficiency and sustainability are key considerations in our quest to achieve the SDGs.

And we must forge partnerships with the private sector, unlock potential, and break down barriers for business.

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Liesje Schreinemacher, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands.

Importance of good data

Ladies and gentlemen,

We have already made significant steps – individually and together – towards a cleaner, safer and healthier future for all.

But rapid progress requires solid data and innovative solutions.

For example, if we can develop more drought-tolerant food crops, this will help address food shortages in arid regions like the Middle East.

This requires the development of new seed varieties and the use of new technologies.

As well as new crop varieties that require much less water to grow.

It requires innovations – supported by robust data and strong analysis – that help the Dutch, Jordanian and UAE governments find ways to strengthen evidence-based policies and make data easily accessible.

Experts from top Dutch research institutions Wageningen University, TNO Delft and Deltares have teamed up with Jordanian and Emirati experts to create a database interface.

This ‘dashboard’ can help steer our policies and actions toward a food-secure and climate resilient world.

A world in balance. With future-proof resource management.

Importance of collaboration and youth engagement

If we want to speed up progress towards the SDGs, international cooperation is key.

We need strong partnerships between governments, the private sector, NGOs, research institutions and civil society.

The decisions we take today will have implications for future generations. So I am pleased that youth leaders will be speaking after this opening session, presenting their views on how to shape the future.

The importance of youth engagement is reflected in the Call to Action, which I will now digitally sign. And I urge others – governments, businesses, youth leaders and academics - to sign up to this declaration. 

Follow-up meeting

This is a critical time. A time for action.

I will explore hosting a follow-up meeting to prepare for several key global decision moments, like the climate summits in Egypt and in the UAE, and the UN Water Conference in 2023.

I look forward to the outcome of this summit, and I wish you all a successful, dynamic event with ambitious outcomes.

Thank you.