Interview with SIWI’s ED Torgny Holmgren about Energy and Water


An Interview carried out by Embassy of Sweden in Abu Dhabi with SIWI’s Executive Director Torgny Holmgren, regarding the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, 20-22 January, 2014

Welcome to the UAE. You are here to participate in the World Future Energy Summit, in preparation for the World Water Week (WWW) in Stockholm on 31 August–5 September. During your trip, you will also participate in the World Bank presentation of their report “Thirsty Energy” on 21st January.

1. What is the connection between World Water Week to be held in Stockholm 31 August–5 September and Abu Dhabi Sustainable Week?
The World Water Week is held in Stockholm annually, since 1991. It is the largest annual focal point for water related issues. 2 600 participants from 110 countries participated in the 2013 World Water Week and more than 270 leading international organisations collaborated with SIWI in arranging the event. It gathers ministers, scientists and representatives from governments, international organisations, businesses and civil society, offering a platform to exchange ideas, learn from experience, form partnerships and celebrate achievements. The theme of the 2014 World Water Week is “Energy and Water”, a perfect match with the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week this year. I hope to bring forward ideas and findings from the Summits in Abu Dhabi to the World Water Week in Stockholm in September – allowing us jointly to make progress in tackling two of the most urgent needs for the future development of all countries, namely the sustainable use of energy and water.

2. Could you tell us more about your involvement in the World Bank Presentation of their “Thirsty Energy Report”?
The World Bank is a key collaborating partner to SIWI for the World Water Week 2014. As such, it is also a member of our Scientific Programme Committee arranging scientific workshops during the Week. As the Bank will launch its main report on Energy and Water in Abu Dhabi, we are very pleased to be part of that occasion and to contribute with our thoughts on this important report and subject.

3. The theme for this year’s WWW is “Energy and Water” could you tell us more about the theme?
We will take an overall systems view of how we develop and manage energy and water to support development and green growth. Water and energy are two sectors inextricably linked and interdependent. We need water for energy (cooling, storage, biofuels, hydropower etc), and energy for water (to pump, treat and desalinate). We believe it is high time that the energy and water communities connect their thoughts and actions. It is also most crucial that we engage the main users of energy and water – the agriculture and manufacturing sectors – in that discussion. It is only by thinking and acting together that we can solve some of our time’s most pressing problems. Our aim is that interesting ideas and proposals will come forward during the World Water Week on how water and energy can be produced, supplied, used and treated more efficiently in the sectors themselves as well as in agriculture, manufacturing, urban development, and how we can align water and energy goals in policy making.

4. What kind of cooperation does SIWI have with IRENA?
IRENA will be a co-convening partner in a workshop to be held at the World Water Week in Stockholm in September on “Entwined Predicaments: Limits Facing Water and Energy”. IRENA will collaborate with the Scientific Programme Committee in preparing and implementing this workshop.

5. Would you like to add any further remarks?
I am really looking forward to participate in the summits in Abu Dhabi. The possibility to meet, listen to and discuss energy and water with world leaders is a great privilege, as is the opportunity to learn more from the rich and advanced experience the UAE has in handling energy and water more efficiently.

The interview is also available on Embassy of Sweden in Abu Dhabi’s Facebook-page.