The International Desalination Association (IDA), a global non-profit organization focused on advanced water treatment solutions to offset growing water scarcity, and MASDAR, a global leader in renewable energy and sustainable urban development, along with REED Exhibitions, a world leader in event organization, have come together and co-organized the WFES Water Forum and Tech for Good Forum at WFES 2019. Held on January 14–16, these forums will focus on solutions to the growing problem of global water scarcity, presenting the latest approaches to water supply, demand, security, and technology.
“IDA is proud to partner once again with MASDAR and Reed Exhibitions in support of the WFES by taking a prominent role in shaping these forums to address how the latest thinking and technology can optimize resource efficiency, sustainability, and security in arid regions. The program is rich with stakeholder participation from the public and private sector, as well as UN agencies and international non-profit organizations,” said Shannon McCarthy, IDA Secretary General.
Days one and two: WFES Water Forum
Day One (January 14) commences with opening remarks from Mr. Miguel Angel Sanz, IDA President and Director for Strategic Development Treatment Sector, Suez, France, followed by a keynote address: Update on the UAE’s 2036 Water Security Strategy, by H. E. Eng. Fatima Al Foora Al Shamsi, Assistant Undersecretary for Electricity, Water and Future Energy Affairs, Ministry of Energy and Industry, UAE.
Ensuing sessions include “Creating an Integrated Water Management Strategy to Optimize Efficiency, Security and Sustainability in GCC Countries,” moderated by Dr. Najib H. Dandachi, CEO, AL Usul, UAE; “Harnessing Renewable Technology to Reduce the Energy Footprint of Water,” led by Leon Awerbuch, IDA Director and President, Leading Edge Technologies, USA, with a panel including H.E. Khalid bin Zwaid Al Quershi, CEO, Water and Electricity Company, Saudi Arabia, and Mr. Naser Bin Lootah, Executive Vice President, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), UAE.
Other sessions on Day One cover “Increasing the Use of RO to Supply Low-Carbon, Cost Efficient Water,” moderated by Rachid Ghamraoui, IDA Vice President, Vice President of BESIX Middle East, UAE; “The Micro Grid of Water,” led by Emmanuel Gayan, CEO and Managing Director, Osmoflo, UAE; and “The Evolving Role of Water in Energy Exploration & Production,” moderated by Dr. Corrado Sommariva,IDA Officer and Managing Director, ILF Consulting, UAE.
The program on Day Two of the Water Forum (January 15) centers around The Water-Food Nexus, beginning with a panel discussion on “Water and Food: UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Resource Sustainability,” moderated by Mr. Chris Holmes, Senior Advisor and Global Water Security Expert at Boston Consulting Group, USA. The panel “Water-Food and the Bio-Economy: Future Challenges and Solutions,” led by Dr. Olcay Unver, Deputy Director, Land and Water Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Italy, is co-convened by FAO and the Global Framework for Action to Cope with Water Security in Agriculture in the Context of Climate Change (WASAG). Ensuing panels address “Aquifer Management & Water Security” with moderator Dr. Mohamed Hamyd Dawoud, Advisor, Water Resources Environment Quality, UAE.
To provide an interlude between panels, Mr. Edwards James, Director of Content & Analytics at MEED Projects, will provide an update on key water projects and investments across MENA. Other sessions on Day Two include “Demand-Side Management (DSM) strategies to Increase Water Efficiency, Establishing Regional Targets for Leakage,” moderated by Mr. José Enrique Bofill, MENA Regional Director in Aqualia, Spain; and “Establishing Regional Targets for Leakage,” moderated by Mr. Francois Xavier Basselot, Client Director, Engineering, Design and Project Management, Atkins, UK. The day will close with a closing keynote regarding “Water and the Environment in the Gulf Countries (GCC),” provided by Dr. Mohamed Dawoud.
Day three: Tech for Good Forum
The Tech for Good Forum: Disruptive Technology for Better Lives is the focus of Day Three (January 16). This forum brings together UN Agencies, NGOs, donors, international finance agencies, technology providers, and entrepreneurs to discuss how advances in renewable energy, autonomous and remote devices, and other digital technologies further humanitarian efforts.
Welcome remarks by Dr. Mike Dixon, IDA Office and CEO of Synauta, Canada, will introduce delegates to the program. He will also moderate the first session, “Technology for Good: The Current State of Affairs,” which will be followed by a session on “Technology Advances in Industry Speeding Aid in Extreme Crises,” moderated by Dr. Piers Clark, Founder and Chairman, Isle Group, UAE.
Opening Remarks will be delivered by HE Najla Mohammad Al Kaabi, Assistant Undersecretary of the Ministry of International Cooperation and Development, UAE.
Afternoon sessions begin with the “Next Generation Tech for Good” showcase. Led by Mr. Alistair Munro, IDA Officer and CEO of Gaia Tech, UAE, this session will highlight developing tech solutions alongside new applications of existing solutions, both of which aid emergency response protocols and disaster deployments in war zones.
Other panels include “Water Finance and the Developing World,” co-moderated by Mr. Devesh Sharma, IDA Director and Managing Director of Aquatech, USA, and Mr. Carlos Cosín, IDA Officer and CEO, Almar Water Solutions, Spain; and a panel session on the Global Clean Water Desalination Alliance, “H2O minus CO2,” a desalination-related climate initiative launched by MASDAR and the French government in 2017 at COP 21 in Paris. Moderated by Fatima Al Suwaidi, Analyst, Technology, MASDAR, UAE, this session will conclude with the signing of a partnership agreement between the alliance the Paris-based International Office for Water to collaborate on the implementation and administration of various activities.
The Water Hall at WFES also contains the Tech for Good Hub where agencies and companies will be displaying solutions throughout the week.