We are here today because we think it’s time to put water at the top of our global agenda. It’s time to get our water act together. I want to thank the Council on Foreign Relations for hosting us as we launch this call. And I thank in particular PJ Simmons for introducing this discussion.
I am delighted to welcome you to this special event, expressing the commitment of the OECD to sustainability. We are here because we need to practice what we preach. We advise governments on how to be greener, so the least we can do is an equivalent effort to green the OECD and its management practices.
Sweden, with its ambitious new climate policy legislative framework, complete with the goal to achieve zero net GHG emissions by 2045, and signpost goals for 2030 and 2040, is leading by example, building a truly “Fossil Free Sweden”, promoting growth, sustainability and inclusiveness all at once.
We are all brought together by the collective global project to transform our economies, still hard-wired around fossil fuels, into green, low-emissions and climate-resilient economies. This is a huge challenge. It requires massive leadership, and well-aligned policies across government, as well as the scaling up of green finance. Given the scale of this investment, the role of finance is critical.
I am delighted to welcome you to the OECD Environment Ministerial meeting. Since we gather only every four years, it is an important opportunity to discuss the national and international environmental policy landscape for years to come. The adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change will inevitably shape discussions.
Today, the challenge of water security is global and it is growing. We estimate that by 2050, over 40% of the global population will live under severe water stress; and as global population increases, so will tensions among different water uses.
Choices made today about the types, features and location of long-lived infrastructure will define the emissions profile and impact for a whole generation. Thus, starting today, as we move to adapt policies towards lower greenhouse gas emissions and climate resilient development, we must ensure that our approach is cohesive and takes a whole-of-government perspective.
Allow me first to express again my congratulations to France for the climate agreement obtained at COP21. This is indeed a historic agreement that will influence the future of our planet. I am particularly proud that the OECD was able to contribute to this milestone!
I am delighted to be taking part in the Stockholm Junior Water Prize Ceremony. This year marks the 20th anniversary of this prize; it is a unique event and one that combines three topics which are close to my heart: water, innovation and youth.
We have assembled energy planning authorities, nuclear vendors, safety regulators, electricity market regulators, utilities, bankers and export credit agencies. The perspectives that each of you bring to this conversation is essential in finding new solutions to financing nuclear projects, essential in rising to the challenge of climate change.