As the Middle East and North Africa region grapples with the reality of acute water scarcity, the regional governments are increasingly focusing on water efficiency solutions and sustainable development initiatives. A World Bank report predicted that water availability is to drop from 1,100 cubic metres per person per year now to 550 cubic metres by 2050.
Promoting water production and use efficiency forms the highlight of GE’s (General Electric Company) participation at the third Arab Forum for Environment & Development conference on ‘Arab Environment’ to be held on November 4 & 5 in Beirut, where leaders from the government, private sector and civil society will meet to discuss sustainable management of water solutions.
The Silver Sponsor of the Conference, GE will place the spotlight on sustainable development by showcasing ecomagination, the company’s business initiative to meet customer demand for more energy-efficient products. (www.ecomagination.com) Habayeb, President and CEO, GE in the Middle East & Africa, said: “While the Arab world has scarce and declining water resources of which 85 percent go towards agriculture use, the region faces the challenges of meeting the increasing demand for water from its growing population. This calls for a concerted approach, where water production, distribution and usage efficiencies have a critical role to play.”
He added; “As the third AFED Arab Environment Conference discusses this pressing challenge, GE will highlight how the company’s ecomagination initiative can help complement the governmental efforts in meeting the growing water demand as well as boost sustainable development.
George Bou Mitri, National Executive of Kuwait, Iraq and Levant, who will be participating on a panel discussion on Friday the 5th of November at 10:30 a.m., said; “GE will be putting emphasis on its public private partnerships across the Arab world that have made a transformational impact in addressing energy and water challenges. It is critical for both sectors to strengthen dialogue in order to achieve greater results.”
GE has recorded global success with its ecomagination initiative, surpassing its targets. Today, the company has more than 85 ecomagination certified products, underscoring the practical application and relevance of environmental-friendly technologies for modern lifestyles.
In the 2009 ecomagination annual report, GE reported:
A US$1.5 billion investment on ecomagination R&D, reaching the commitment to double its annual investment by 2010 one year ahead of schedule. This year, GE has introduced a new commitment to invest an additional US$10 billion in ecomagination research and development by 2015.
GE is also projecting that ecomagination revenue will grow at twice the rate of total company revenue in the next five years, making ecomagination an even larger proportion of total company sales. Last year, the company recorded six per cent growth in ecomagination revenues to US$18 billion.
GE also reduced water consumption by 30 percent in 2009 compared to a 2006 baseline surpassing the original goal of 20 percent by 2012.
GE’s ecomagination commitment spreads across all business sectors of the company including aviation, energy, water, transport and healthcare, among others. The practical applications of ecomagination will be showcased at a special pavilion at AFED.
The Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED) is a not-for-profit regional non-governmental organization that brings together experts the civil society, business community and media, to promote prudent environmental policies and programmes across the Arab region. A special plenary session will be dedicated to discuss Arab participation at the upcoming Climate Change negotiations in Cancun, Mexico in December.
Habayeb concluded; “Our participation enables us to share industry best practices that promote sustainable development and enhance energy & water use efficiency, which have a compelling impact on climate change initiatives.”