Uniting Water Energy Food

Connecting minds for a sustainable future

In the Netherlands, companies, knowledge institutions and government organisations work together closely to create new technologies and innovations. Come to our pavilion and learn more about why and how we do this.

Extremely hot summers, unusually large forest fires, plastic soup in our oceans − with more and more people using the limited resources available, we are putting the planet under increasing pressure. To be able to feed the almost 10 billion people that will inhabit the world in 2050, we will have to think about how we can use scarce resources such as water, energy and food as efficiently as possible.

To develop the technology and innovations needed, it is important that people from different sectors and from different government organisations, companies and research institutes learn how they can ‘Connect minds’. In this way we can contribute to a more sustainable world. In the Netherlands, we are working on this with the ‘water, energy and food nexus’ in mind, a concept used by the UN and many governments to promote the partnerships that will find solutions to the challenges of the future.

Sustainable Development Goals

With its focus on providing people with basic needs, such as food, clean water and energy, the water-energy-food nexus touches on some of the most important UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). During Expo 2020 Dubai the Netherlands will showcase technologies and innovations within these themes. We will prove how working together can contribute to achieving the SDGs. In our relatively small but advanced country, government organisations, companies and knowledge institutions work together closely. This ‘triple helix’ model enables researchers and entrepreneurs to join forces within and outside their own sectors.

Water Energy Food success stories

Water, energy and food can be connected in smart ways to create innovative solutions to global issues like water scarcity, the energy transition and food security.

Water, energy and food are strongly interconnected. An action in one sector often also has an effect on at least one of the other two sectors. As a result, challenges in the water, energy and food sectors are best tackled with the other sectors in mind. Food cannot be produced without water and energy. A country striving to increase its food self-sufficiency needs sufficient fresh water to achieve this. This can be a challenge in countries where fresh water is not abundant. Desalination, for example, is energy intensive, relying heavily on fossil fuels. We need to develop innovative solutions for these challenges, and this starts with a connection between the three sectors.

The sum is more than its parts

The examples on this page show how we can create added value for the different sectors by connecting them. They also show how businesses, government organisations and knowledge institutions can collaborate to develop sustainable solutions. The Dutch have a long history with water, energy and food: these elements form the foundation on which our country is  built. We are keen to share this experience with the rest of the world. Just as there can be no food without water and energy, our innovations wouldn’t exist without international collaboration. We believe that teamwork leads to the most effective solutions. 

EY reports

The Dutch government commissioned a series of country reports on the water-energy-food nexus in the Gulf region, enabling businesses and knowledge institutions to contribute to sustainable solutions in this region.

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