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First UNESCO International Water Conference held in Paris

By Liu Lingling from People’s Daily,
PARIS:   The first UNESCO International Water Conference hosted by the Global Energy Interconnection
Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO) and the United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was held in Paris from May 13 to 14. Ministers
from 37 countries, together with over 1,000 experts, scientists and youths from 126 countries
gathered to share innovative solutions to problems related to the governance and management of
water, a fragile and essential resource.
“Access to water is not only a matter of development. Above all, it is a fundamental right and an
instrument of peace and security in the world,” said Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General,
in her opening remarks. “It is our collective responsibility to put in place a responsible
management of this common good. This is the very spirit of the conference: to change our way of
thinking and adopt a holistic approach for the sustainable management of this universal resource.”
At the conference, GEIDCO rolled out two innovative research outcomes to facilitating the
efficient development and utilization of African hydropower resources and promoting the energy
and power interconnection among Asia, Europe and Africa.
In his remarks at the opening ceremony, GEIDCO Chairman Liu Zhenya said that building GEI
would transform the energy development pattern and accelerate clean and low-carbon
development. GEI has provided not only a fundamental solution to the energy issue, but also a
new path to cope with the major challenges facing water resources development and utilization
worldwide, including the low exploitation rate of hydropower, shortage of fresh water supply and
severe water pollution.
Water is an essential driver of conflict prevention and peace, a prerequisite for any development.
Without water, none of the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development can be
achieved, Serigne Mbaye Thiam, Minister of Water and Sanitation of Senegal, stressed.
He also emphasized the need to accelerate international development action to achieve the United
Nations’ sustainable Development Goals.
The conference featured thematic panels on topics on water and technological innovation, water
ethics, water and heritage and water and gender.

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