19 April 2012

World Water Think Tank meets in Austria

Laxenburg, Austria – 20 April: 2012 Ensuring there is a sufficient and reliable supply of water to meet the food, energy and social needs of future generations is the focus of a meeting being held in Laxenburg, Austria, this week (April 19-21).

The ‘Gulbenkian Think Tank on Water and the Future of Humankind’, involving some of the world’s leading water resource scientists and analysts, is convening at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), to discuss these interlinked water issues in the context of environmental and human sustainability.

“Water resources are under severe strain in many regions of the world, due in large part to a growing population and the need to increase food production, but also due to the less obvious, but significant, embodied water costs, such as those associated with energy production,” says Professor Pavel Kabat, Director of IIASA and a member of the Think Tank.

Think Tank member, international water expert and manager of the UNESCO - World Water Assessment Program (WWAP) Dr. William Cosgrove added that the management of water systems - be they freshwater or marine - must be carefully integrated with land management and human development goals. “If a projected population of 9 billion by 2050 is to be fed without further damage to the ecosystems that sustains us, significant changes in the way we are manging land and water resources must be actioned urgently.” Cosgrove and other members of the Think Tank believe that technological and economic measures combined with behavioural change and political commitment can ensure sustainable water for humankind.

This, the third and final meeting of the Think Tank, brings together 11 scientists from 10 countries, including, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, India, the Netherlands, Morocco, Sri Lanka, Sweden, and the USA. During the meeting, the team aim to finalize their recommendations, which they anticipate will be published in late 2012.

The Portuguese Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation established the ‘Think Tank on Water and the Future of Humankind’ to analyze the interlinkages between society and the environment, including population, rapid economic growth, changing lifestyles, climate change and water. The Think Tank is a partnership between participating organizations in the above mentioned countries.

Further information

Note: Gulbenkian Think Tank members are meeting at IIASA, Schloss Laxenburg. Interviews with meeting participants can be arranged by contacting:

Leane Regan, IIASA
Tel: +43 2236 807 316
Mob: +43 664 443 0368

About IIASA:
IIASA is an international scientific institute that conducts research into the critical issues of global environmental, economic, technological, and social change that we face in the twenty-first century. Our findings provide valuable options to policy makers to shape the future of our changing world. IIASA is independent and funded by scientific institutions in Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe.

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Last edited: 11 February 2013

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313